The web is about a lot of things, not the least of which is collecting information and getting your message out and how best to go about doing that. I talk a lot about collecting and presenting in the Studio mostly because there are always great new tools cropping up to leverage technology to make the process cooler, more efficient and more fun. Lawyers are all about researching, collaborating and presenting. Why not use some slick tricks to give you an edge in that game?
I have two tools to talk about. The first is Prezi, a web app that combines the best of white boards and slide decks. Prezi is cloud-based, with a zoomable canvas. This allows you to take a large image, and move from concept to concept across the image, offering a “moving” experience that gives a different feel to your message. It uses a single canvas rather than the slides you normally find in a slide deck. You can add text, images, PowerPoint slides, videos, PDFs, etc. on that canvas. As you create your presentation, you use the “zoomable user interface” to pan to part of the canvas, stop and then zoom in. This offers a far more “cinematic” look than a traditional deck. The resulting process is called the presentation “path” as it more closely simulates a journey through the media than a static stack of slides. There is a desktop editor available for offline construction as well. The Meeting feature allows for social, on-line collaboration on the canvas and path. And, of course, there is Prezi for iPad which is essentially a viewing rather than editing tool. How mainstream is this tool? Check out some of the recent TED presentations to see Prezi at work, making smart people look smarter.
And check out a sample Prezi here:
Free falling through Prezi on Prezi
Here is Prezi’s own promotion video:
Prezi is free for the very basics, but you can pay for some added features. Here is their pricing:
Another similar and equally cool tool is Mural.ly. Still and beta and newer, Mural.ly also offers a whiteboard-like space on which you can load content and create a zoomable/pannable presentation yourself or collaborate with others. It’s all about moving away from the pages of a book metaphor and into the forest for the trees metaphor. Grab websites, photos, audio or other media and, like Prezi, play around with them with others in the same space and at the same time. The distinction between Mural.ly and Prezi is slight but it is there – Mural.ly appears to focus on collecting web content for the presentations – like videos from Vimeo, Google Maps, and content from Dropbox or Pinterest or other web pages, like Wikipedia. It also appears well suited to bookmarking and collaborative brainstorming first and foremost; if you choose to later add a narrative and share, your brainstorming session can become a more full-fledged presentation like Prezi.
Check out the video to see how it works:
Lots of good stuff to work with out there. No excuse for boring brainstorming sessions and yawn-inducing presentations!