Saturday, 3 October 2009

How I got that Prezi .....

I promised @nlafferty that I would blog a little about the Prezi process and share some tips for speeding it up a little: I spent MUCH longer creating the prezi than a powerpoint, but mainly because I had to go through a big learning curve too.

Tip #1: create a story board too and rough out a design: I actually decided on the circular frames and created something on paper which allowed me to decide where I wanted to group certain ideas first.

Tip #2: think visuals first. I think Prezi is so preeminently a visual thing, the last thing you want or need is a lot of words or God forbid! bullet points... Also there is no "layering" or "ordering" on Prezi, so what goes down first is on the bottom. Put in visuals then add text on top.

Tip #3: I actually created visuals on Powerpoint first - eg found Flickr images or Clipart photos with lots of white space around them; saved the slides as separate JPEGs then uploaded to Prezi, so the image appears to emerge from the white background with no frame. Where the image was on a background, I used Powerpoint formatting to put it in a frame, added a shadow or reflection and then cropped it tightly so that it would appear to be a photo pinned to the Prezi canvas.

Note: the visuals - sourcing, converting, formatting and editing - was the most labour intensive part of the exercise. I have kept a folder of all the images used so I can re-cycle when necessary!

Tip #4 I tried to avoid motion sickness (!!) by not having too many extreme zooms, changes of direction or big panning effects. Grouping things fairly close together and making gentle moves at slight angles for the most part, big effects once in a while to jazz things up or change topic.

Tip#5 Learn from others: look at the show-cased prezis and work out how they did them; watch some of the tutorial videos. I was inspired by @adamread 's lovely prezi on designing posters.

Tip #6 Take your time! I found myself stealing an hour here and there, whilst watching TV or sitting in a hotel room during a few days working in Scotland recently, to actually work on the Prezi. It became frankly a bit addictive. I also found it a very rewarding and creative experience - I absolutely loved working with the visuals and finessing the layout.
Tip #7 STOP when it' s done: This is not a good medium for anyone of a slightly Obssessive Compulsive tendency (like me) - a point comes where you have to say, hey this is good enough!

If any one would has their own favourite tips to share, please add them in the comments below.


  1. Hi Jane,

    Working with Prezi does require getting used to a different interface, but one of our objectives has been to make it easy for you to sketch in your browser.

    For example:
    1. Add in all your ideas for your Prezi by typing in words

    2. Highlight key concepts, arrange ideas using the Zebra (you can also use 1 and 2 to zoom in place mode, plus grab several objects holding down shift when you marking items)

    3. Exchange key concepts with images (flickr and google images find great stuff quickly)

    4. Arrange images and words. Often you can use one picture or word as background for others, thereby illustrating how you dig into that particular concept

    Do you think this kind of approach could help you to speed up the creation of Prezis?

  2. that sounds like a good idea - and would be quicker for designing and planning. Thanks!

  3. I teach architecture and visual design and I've found that Prezi can't handle hi res images, which I think is a must when working in a zoom interface where you're supposed to zoom into the content. My conclusion is that Prezi is great for text but for visual content Ahead is so much better.

  4. Thanks Jens - good point: I had just started to notice this weekend that the resolution on occasions wasn't quite what I would like for large screen projection. I wondered if it was the quality of images I was using.... will look into

  5. Thanks Jane
    I looked at your presentation breifly a few days ago and didn't get motion sickness. It sounds like it was a lot of work for you and I just wondered if it was really worth it. Is the point that the audience can view it afterwards and move round themselves as if around a mindmap?

    I'm just not clear about what the gain is to so much more effort!


  6. Hi Anne Marie: I think you have a point (or several!). I do still think there is life left in Powerpoint which can be used creatively with striong visuals. I also think the time needed to create mine was a bit excessive and would reduce with time. I like that Prezi has a story board/non linear quality like a mindmap and yes is something that people could explore at leisure if navigation locks are turned off. The ability to drill down into detail is something that I think the very best Prezi's offer. Not sure I have got to grips with this aspect yet. I think Josie's comment about the fact that people aren't bored with it yet is a factor in the current buzz!

  7. It is interesting. I tend to think of presentations as needing a narrative... and I suppose being linear to some degree. So maybe that is why I have more initial resistance that others. This was the last presentation that I did for a conference
    I've been very naughty and still not done the accompanying audio! I guess if I was really motivated I should take the ideas here and redo them as a prezi to see if there is additional gain.


  8. I'm enjoying this convo! Like your PPT - that's what I mean about how it can be enhanced with strong images. I guess where Prezi might add to this is in drilling down or animating to some extent the networks and media you discuss? Not sure its worth a do-over, but I think only by doing can you get a feel for what is possible! Interestingly, Prezi can be done fairly linear too.....I liked this one (drilling down plus linear...)

  9. I've been thinking a lot lately on the three dominate learning styles and how presentation styles link to personal learning styles: lectures - auditory, PowerPoint/mindmapping - text/visual, maybe Prezi - image/visual.

  10. I guess I think of Powerpoint... or any presnetation something to augment 'talk'. I don't expect visual images to stand by themselves- which is why I say that I SHOULD have got round to doing audio for that presentation by now.
    When I gave that presentation in real life I ended up having internet access so went direct to my blog and used that to show how everything linked together. Maybe that was even more seasick inducing!

    @deidre I'm not sure what you see as the difference between image and visual?

    And yes, very interesting!

  11. Hi everybody,

    Really interesting arguments, and thoughts. If you want to think together with outher Prezi using educators, here is a forum page to join the conversation:

    To add my point, Prezi is not just about a visual revolution after 25 years of using the digital offspring of an ancient technology: the slide projector. With Prezi you stimulate spatial memory, it helps memorizing and learning, easier to build relations and visualize arguments.

    With PPT people don't really listen to the presenter, who often ends up reading out loud those bullet points. Please check this BBC article on the issue: