Presentations have never had it so good. Once a stagnant medium for communicating with captive audiences, they are now freely shared and broadly consumed on blogs, twitter, email, and even sites similar to YouTube that host millions of presentations. Why the surge in sharing? The reason is simple: Presentation programs have been rewired, reinvented, and set free.
Presentation Programs ‘Before’
In years past, even as the number of PowerPoint users has swelled to the hundreds of millions, presentations have been tightly bound by the inherent limits of PowerPoint. The most critical constraint has been file size. Because PowerPoint houses every shape, image and chart within each file, the resulting file sizes are large enough to choke even the finest of email systems and trip all but the most robust websites and blogs. Hefty multimedia files only compound the problem, further ballooning file size or requiring storage in a separate file. Bottom line– it’s often just too clunky and complicated to email a PowerPoint presentation.
Signs of Change
Paving the way for change, public websites like Slideshare have enabled users to upload presentation files and share them with broad audiences. Despite the limitations faced in posting to a website other than one’s own, these online slide hosting sites and sharing platforms have helped initiate a change in the way presentations are managed, making presentations both easier to share and better able to reach larger audiences.
Revolutionary Rewiring of Presentation Programs
The true revolution has been the rewiring of presentation programs themselves. Out with the giant old static presentation file and in with the new: Online presentation builders are a dynamic palette displaying your images, text, charts and video. These components are no longer locked within the file; instead they are linked to and displayed within the presentation. The result? You share a link rather than a file (read, almost no file size to clog your computer) and even more, you have the power to instantly update any component whenever you like. Whether the presentation is already in someone’s inbox, on your website, or bouncing around on twitter, the flexibility and control is yours.
The Opportunity at Hand
This exciting revolution in presentation programs is rapidly emerging, with online presentation apps gaining substantial ground against the pervasive and long entrenched use of PowerPoint that has kept millions wedded to the desktop and static files. Desktop presentations won’t last forever. Google Apps has shaken things up and forced (forced being the operative word) Microsoft to respond in kind with Office 360.
The opportunity at hand for online presentation programs is clear. PowerPoint has set the bar high with its design tools, and online presentation applications must meet or exceed this level of design functionality. At the same time, online presentation apps must take advantage of the numerous web-based benefits available within this new structure. Namely, presentations can now take their functionality cues from websites– unlocking the benefits of analytics, and integrating with apps like Twitter and creative resource sites like Flickr.
The ‘After’: Presentation Programs Set Free
The groundwork has been laid. Major barriers to innovation in presentations have been torn down, and the way in which we relate to presentations is shifting dramatically. The future of presentation programs must be reconsidered, and with past limitations disappearing at a momentous pace, the direction moving forward is a question for our collective imagination.