A colleague asked me my thoughts on Prezi today – so I thought I’d share them here as well.
I think Prezi works great for Q&A or poster-style presentations where it may be advantageous or helpful to be able to quickly navigate to other parts of a presentation to help illustrate a response or provide more information. I also think it is helpful in situations where there are clear clusters of information – because it can show an overview of connections and relationships between components. If helping viewers understand a complex organizational structure or the nature of relationships among a set of things is one of your presentation goals, using Prezi can definitely be a plus.
On the down side, as a free version user, I found that having to be online to show a presentation was a major limiting factor – especially when a high-speed internet connection wasn’t a given. (This limitation may have changed since I last used it though). I also feel there are constrains from a design perspective that limit the options you have for the overall look and feel of a presentation. On the other hand, if you are doing a presentation that’s going to have a lot of text, you can get it looking really slick, really quick.
I think the thought process involved with creating a Prezi is different from creating a linear presentation. I’ve found that it takes a little more time to create a compelling Prezi because you have to think more about how you structure the overall presentation and nodes, as well as the programmed fly-through sequence through the presentation. A Prezi ends up feeling a little more like a video than a slide show, and the logistics of telling a good story with a video is different than telling a good story with slides.
Finally, I think the technology being used to give the presentation makes a big difference. My preferred technology platform for a Prezi is an iPad; the multi-touch navigation is so intuitive and elegant on this platform and a lot of the really cool functionality of Prezi subsequently gets lost in the more limited point-and-click navigation environment of a desktop or laptop computer.