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The Cloud Experience

March 31, 2011

The Web has Certainly developed over the years from it’s early stages of static HTML pages which were painful to update and expand on, progressing into newer technologies which allowed server side code to-do most of the processing.

The Web is currently at a point where several questions are being raised about traditional desktop applications such as Microsoft Office versus free web applications such as Google Documents, as web applications are at a point where they are able to offer the user a rich user experience comparable to that of traditional desktop applications, due the a number of technologies such as AJAX, Java, Flash among several others, this movement is described by Tim O’Reilly as the Rich User Experience.

Prezi is an amazing web application which is based off Java that allows you to create a presentation much like you would do in PowerPoint, Prezi uses the technology behind java to deliver a rich user experience to its audience base while providing a suitable alternative to desktop solutions, a number of key differences that shows the power of this web application versus a traditional desktop application are listed below:

  1. Can Create/Access presentations anywhere with an internet connection
  2. Multi Platform
  3. Allows real time Multi edit user.
  4. No client Application Required
  5. Provides a richer user base experience compared to Traditional applications i.e Microsoft PowerPoint.
  6. Free

The below video showcases a simple demo of Prezi.

Prezi is a remarkable powerful application which many have seen the value in, which has been showcased on TED, it was so highly regarded that TED even invested in the product

In my opinion, this movement into highly developed media rich web applications is really just a paradigm shift in the open source community in it’s age old struggle to compete with software companies such as Microsoft.

Which prevent users from interacting with their code and requiring it’s users to purchase their software which is then generally bound to a single computer or node, this is an outdated approach which has allowed for Web applications such as Prezi to be created to combat this issue.

References:

Open Source Cloud Computing

Tim O’Relliy Web 2.0

TED Invests

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From → Web 2.0

23 Comments
  1. I think Prezi is a great tool to create presentations that WOW. I think the practical application of Prezi isn’t great at University since we are more focused on the content of the slides instead of the ‘presentation’ – for example, it would be hard to print out your Prezi notes and take them into class to follow the lecture, but I think Prezi would be a great sales tool and a great support for anyone who has to do any sort of public speaking. The experience of the presentation creater is not only enriched, but I’m sure people in the audience would appreciate the dynamic presentation as well.
    Another interesting thing to note is how they try to harness the collective intelligence by allowing you to join the site free, but your presentations are shared unless you upgrade!

    • Trent Heath permalink

      I respectfully disagree on the front of unsuitability for university. In INN331 Management Issues for Information Professionals, we had a guest lecture from the Library Branch Manager for QUT Library Gardens Point. She used Prezi to great effect to explain how strategy and decision making works for QUT Library as an organisation. The zooming metaphor employed by Prezi meant she could start from a high level and drill down into specific areas. The zooming effect help give the presentation structure and provided extra clarity on the front of explaining the links between strategic planning and decision making.

      What I do agree on is the enrichment outside of just creating the presentation. The richness of the app exudes any presentation in real life. The presentation above has to be one of the best guest lectures I have ever attended (and I’ve seen a few in my time!).

      • Hi Trent, you are very right – and what’s funny was that I was actually in that lecture! I think it was a great way to illustrate what she was talking about, and the zooming effect was perfect for the topic of her lecture. I guess I was talking more about the daily lectures and the note taking that might be harder, but then again I am not aware if Prezi lets you print slide notes like PowerPoint. Also, if a lecturer had notes to hand out, AND used Prezi, that could be amazing. I guess I was only thinking in one dimension! LOL

      • Trent Heath permalink

        Good point about printing – and I agree day to day it doesn’t work. But that is just because of the paradigm I feel – like you said, it would be amazing if a lecture could do both. Maybe people would turn up to class and actually pay attention!

      • I’m not sure if printing is really required anymore, In a university situation most students go to lectures with a laptop and follow along to the lecture with the lecture slides open, imagine if they did this with Prezi. We already know that Prezi allows for interaction, it could help develop lectures into a more interactive session.

        It’s certainly an interesting topic, imagine going to a lecture with your ipad/laptop and being able to interact with the lecture on a more interesting level, i agree with Trent more people would pay attention and obviously would help with the learning experience quite alot.

      • Trent Heath permalink

        I agree with you Ben – I take a laptop (I write everything on paper though – I can’t retain the learning otherwise), but in saying that, I see so many IT students taking print-outs to lectures (let alone the Business School – barely anyone uses a laptop, even in tutorials!). I think people in other faculties it would take a lot of convincing to change to Prezi (I have the pleasure of seeing PowerPoint theme templates from the 1990s in Marketing), but I am sure IT could pick this up. I would probably also drop writing and start using Prezi because of the interactivity.

  2. I agree, it would be very useful for WOW factor presentations, it is rather interesting it’s approach it has taken on the free accounts. it’s a really innovate way to expand on the old boring slide base presentations.

  3. Does Prezi allow its users to invite other users to edit the presentation? It would be cool to do your presentation online collaboratively with other people. I’m starting to take notice of all these browser-based softwares after this week’s lecture. Maybe in the future, a PC with a browser and internet connection is all we need with all the softwares avaliable on the web barring a major breakdown with your ISP. Wishful thinking on my part? Hahaha. Thanks for introducing this application to me. Great post!

    • Prezi does allow users to invite others to edit a “meeting” collaboratively which is expressed in the same way as a presentation i believe, so yes, it does combine elements of collaborative with rich user content.

  4. Great product – and an excellent example of a Rich user experience. I agree with Mindy in that it does make it difficult to print your presentation and take notes against it, but hopefully as we move towards paperless-ness this sort of presentation will become more common. I have actually seen a few public speakers using Prezi and it kept their content interesting, and was a great way to show the links between ideas. With regards to the best practices by O’Reilly, do you think that the zebra navigation would be classed as ‘simple’ to use? I like it – but I wonder if it would be difficult to get used to since its so different from the navigation in different products?

    • I think it’s a rather simple concept to get your head around, as with any new product you always have to get used to the navigation, take office 2007 vs office 2003 for example, 2007 introduced the ribbon menu where 2003 did not, any new way for navigation will take time for users to get used to and adopt, but that doesn’t mean to say that it would be difficult, just different.

  5. Tbh i disagree in regards to competing with microsoft. To do so is futile and rather silly, i think most of the applications that are availabel at least from the smaller companies are apps which people percieve to fill holes in both the web and desktop platforms.

    There is little point reinventing the wheel, when a product offered already has a feature set, layout and familiarity to it that has microsoft monopolising the market. Your also missing a full stop after product.

  6. Take Google for example, they decided to complete with Microsoft for word processing applications, browsers, even it’s chrome based OS which relays on the cloud.

    I think this sort of thought pattern to push things to the cloud was partly due to Microsoft having the desktop market, while Linux certainly has grown in market share of the desktop platform. I think most people realize that it’ll never compete on the same level as Microsoft desktop platforms, therefore in order to compete with Microsoft a new approach was required.

    aka cloud computing why? because it’ll never be Microsoft’s strong suite they wont be able to compete on the same level in this environment, already we are seeing how the cloud community is using it’s collective intelligence of the community to expand and develop new and interesting applications, Cloud applications are already at a point where they pose a serious risk to Microsoft, take the Google Chrome OS, Google Documents.

    You really have to ask, if the desktop market share was 50% Microsoft 50% Linux, would we have the same level of cloud computing that we have today?

    I’m not sure we would, but then again, thats just my opinion.

  7. Great response and interpretation. I don’t think competing with Microsoft is futile, as without competition, how would we progress?

    Prezi offers a lot more to it’s users than PowerPoint, via the rich user experience. Collaborative editing, no program installation and free…seems like a big step forward to me.

  8. empecee permalink

    interesting discussion.
    I like the idea of desktop free envirionment, but i think we have a long way to go, especially in regards to privacy and ownership.

    I am really enjoying the fact that there are a lot o: “little folks” out there developing products which are rivaling what Microsoft has to offer. the demise of MS on he office (albeit a tad slow) is a very good thing.

  9. Trent Heath permalink

    Hi Ben,

    I also blogged about Prezi this week too (by coincidence, I was made aware of this by a commenter above), so I thought I’d get a discussion going. One thing neither of us really touched on in detail was the Prezi Meeting functionality. I had a quick look into it, and you can talk to nine other people in a Prezi Meetingl you can showcase and update the Prezi in real time. From my perspective, this feature is an innovation on Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple iWorks Keynote, where you need another application sitting on top to make the presentation presentable online. This, I feel, adds a layer of Rich User Experience which other applications can learn from.

    What do you think about this specific feature and its impact on Prezi?

  10. Trent Heath permalink

    Hi Ben,

    I also blogged about Prezi this week too (by coincidence, I was made aware of this by a commenter above), so I thought I’d get a discussion going.

    One thing neither of us really touched on in detail was the Prezi Meeting functionality. I had a quick look into it, and you can talk to nine other people in a Prezi Meeting. You can showcase and update the Prezi in real time. From my perspective, this feature is an innovation on Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple iWorks Keynote, where you need another application sitting on top to make the presentation presentable online. This, I feel, adds a layer of Rich User Experience unlike using web tech for single user interaction which other desktop and web applications can learn from.

    What do you think about this specific feature and its impact on Prezi?

    • Great point Heath, I had no idea that Prezi offered this service as well, is it part of the free subscription? What a great way to enrich a phone meeting!

  11. It’s a shame we both picked the same topic to talk about, i did have a quick look at Prezi meeting, and i do agree, it’s ability to edit in real time with multiple people does add another layer of functionality, which is a huge plus for an application.

  12. destroyedchocolate permalink

    How easily does this application load and run off Java? Is it more efficient then using PowerPoint on a computer? Does the speed of the internet connection also determine as to how quick the program runs? Why would someone chose this application? For example I have Office on my phone and therefore can create Word documents and PowerPoints on the go and then share them so why would I choose this sort of application other then the fact it has multi user editing. Just a few curious questions, otherwise I really liked the post.

  13. Prezi is more based on the fact that it provides a rich user experience and a new approach to traditional presentations, and accessible from any device with an internet connection, once you are within the prezi internet speed does not affect creating an presentation as it’s all loaded, it runs off java quite easily, unlike other java applications which can be quite slow prezi is quite fast.

    in comparing the speed of office to prezi i would say they are about the same.

  14. I like prezi and have used it for Uni projects before. I think there are some things on it that would need improving but over all it has been quite a great application to use. I definitely like how easy it is to interact with it.

  15. I’ve never heard of Prezi before. I am really impressed. The effects are very eye catching. But after reading for a while, I was feeling a bit tired. The image was moving all the time made me uncomfortable. Overall it is a great presentation tool that we can find on the web. That would be excellent if pagination is available.

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