Online tools to impress your audience

Once upon a time there was PowerPoint. All you had to do was add a few windows clip art images and some cheesy PowerPoint slide transitions and you had your audience's attention. 10-15 years later things have changed. Keynote is the big player and the truth is that (like most Apple products) it offers a better user experience, interface and result. However, it's still a desktop application and you need to have a Mac. The question is, are there any alternatives? In a world where the Internet has taken over our daily life and we've ended up using our smartphones and the browser more than anything else, the answer is yes, you can find alternatives.

Prezi started back in 2009 as a small start up that lets you create engaging presentations in the browser. 6 years later, it has millions of users and it is being used by many TED speakers worldwide. Instead of slides you have a huge canvas where you can drop your text and images and choose how you want to navigate/animate from one to another.  The interface is very easy to learn and if you don't feel very creative there are lots of templates to choose from. There is a free option to sign up but your presentations will be available to the public. For a reasonable amount of money you can sign up for the pro or the business account (if you are a company) and make them private. It's cloud based and you can access it from any device. There is also a mobile app to control your slides with your phone while presenting.

Slides is quite new and it was created by the people who wrote the open source JavaScript library reveal.js which I'm going to talk about later. The idea is similar to Prezi, you create your presentation in the browser using a very intuitive interface. When it comes to moving through the slides, you don't have the flexibility of Prezi but you can at least move both horizontally and vertically. There is a variety of animations and you can also add videos and even gifs to your slides. There are also some other cool features like a popup window showing a timer and an indication of your next slide to assist you while you are presenting. The main difference with Prezi is that the end result is a presentation which in reality is a fully responsive website powered by HTML5 and reveal.js. You can easily access it from mobile or desktop or even export it as a PDF and send it to other people.

As I mentioned above, slides is powered by reveal.js, an open source JavaScript library which is free to use. This means that if you are a web developer there is no need to buy slides. You can just download reveal.js and create your presentation for free. There is a lot of documentation online as well as plugins that let you transform your presentation to a fully interactive experience. There is even a leap motion plugin that allows you to control your slides using gestures and feel a bit like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

If you really want to impress you audience then maybe it's time to stop using PowerPoint and explore all the cloud based online tools that are out there.