Why I’m Not In Love with Prezi

It’s time to write this post. This may be the most frequently asked question in my workshops on evaluation reporting, data visualization, and graphic design.  What do I think about Prezi?

Most people’s first reaction to being in the audience of a Prezi presentation is “Wow, that is so cool. This is going to change my whole life.”

But that’s not what we want people thinking when they are in our audiences.

We want them listening to us. Digesting our words. Relating our message to their own experiences. Getting activated to go make changes in the world. We don’t want them distracted by our dizzying presentation software. This, sorry folks, is probably the same reaction audiences had to the introduction of those clever fly-in animation tools in PowerPoint.

I understand Prezi is working to provide more control over the quick zooming in and out, after early reports that some audience members were getting motion sickness. That’s a good development and a smart response to user feedback.

Even still, I find Prezi vastly too limiting. While all manners of media can be embedded in the show, the predetermined font choices are insufficient in that they’d threaten an organization’s existing identity and branding system.

Prezi also crashed around May 9. A desktop version is available, but for those who had relied on the online version of Prezi so they only had to be concerned about an internet connection, there may be a bit of a false sense of security in the platform. Prezi crashes seem rare and the company offered free 1 year trials of their Pro version for all who were affected. Nice handling of a tricky situation. But I’m not in love.

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7 Comments

  1. What I don’t like about Prezi is that it requires visual literacy that most people lack. Adding in swirls, spins and zooms that don’t relate to the mental map of the presentation is distracting and irritating.

    Reply
  2. Oh thank you!
    I hate prezi. With a passion.
    Most prezi presentations forget about the overall design – making the individual pieces part of a whole – and in the absence of that it tends to be a baffling mess tossed on a board.

    Never mind the seasickness that comes with…

    Reply
  3. I had almost the same reaction I experienced Prezi. I thought it had the potential to be cool, but in reality was a jumbled, distracting, dizzying mess. Thanks for your analysis!

    Reply
  4. Thanks so much, Stephanie, for writing this. I feel the same way as the other commenters. And all this time, I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Prezi (since I first learned about it from an AEA coffee break). Nice to know I’m not alone!

    Reply
    • Right, Sue! And you know, intelligent people can disagree about this sort of thing (and there are a lot of intelligent people presenting AEA Coffee Break webinars).

      Reply
  5. Jennifer Sullivan Sulewski

     /  June 4, 2012

    I agree with you on this. I was intrigued by Prezi – particularly the way it can link the details to the overall design/flow of a presentation – and I’ve seen it used effectively. But it’s not very good from a universal design standpoint since a lot of people have trouble following (or are made dizzy or seasick by) all that movement. And just like PowerPoint, it’s just a tool and can be used well or not so well.

    Reply
  1. Susan Kistler on Whether to Prezi or not to Prezi · AEA365

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