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Design & Prototyping

Powerpoint’s Downfall is Prototyping’s Golden Ticket

Posted 4 years ago by Naomi Francis
Powerpoint’s Downfall is Prototyping’s Golden Ticket

Let’s cut to the chase. Powerpoint has gotten itself a bad reputation. Dubbed the “cornerstone of the modern corporate world” by Bryan Dove, Skyscanner, and can you blame it? Since the dawn of Microsoft Office, people of all ages across the globe have been encouraged to use it to present to their peers and colleagues. Powerpoint has made building presentations easy and accessible to all.

"Powerpoint. The cornerstone of the modern corporate world".

However, as technology advances people are beginning to see the gaping cracks in Powerpoint as presentation software. There are many specialisms around the world that yes, may find that Powerpoint suits their needs or they may find peace in the alternatives of Keynote and Prezi, which offers users a 3D canvas of infinite size. Although, for the likes of Designers, Product Managers and Developers there is another more innovative and intuitive presentation platform. The prototype.

The fact of the matter is that the world was a very different place in 1990, when Powerpoint was first launched. Today we have a plethora of devices from which we consume on the day-to-day, like smartphones, tablets...even smartwatches, and along with those come an array of digital products. Back in 1990, maybe all people needed was a few simple screens to present their ideas that resembled pages of a book, because that was the only medium they knew and needed.

Let’s be fair here and run through why Powerpoint has worked. The reason it is used universally is firstly because it offers a familiar and unintimidating interface, with so called ‘slides’ looking similar to pages. Secondly, it ties well with all of the other programs available in Office so you can move smoothly between each. Powerpoint was built to give people a visual way to present their ideas with structure. In doing this, people have naturally evolved into producing presentations where they focus less on what content they are actually putting in and more on the way it looks.

“PowerPoint’s enthusiasts claim that it emboldens nervous speakers and forces everyone to present information in an ordered way. Bullet points enforce a rigidly hierarchical authority, which has not necessarily been earned. One either accepts them in toto, or not at all. And by the time any faulty logic is identified, the screen has been replaced by a new one as the speaker breezes on, safe in the knowledge that yet another waits in the wings.” - Andrew Smith, Author

"Bullet points enforce a rigidly hierarchical authority, which has not necessarily been earned".

Now, Powerpoint presentations are associated with endless ramblings, an unhealthy appetite for slides and the unimaginative repetitive use of set themes. Commonly known as ‘death by Powerpoint’. It’s gone as far as people claiming Powerpoint should be banned in classrooms because, as stated so eloquently by Bent Meier Sørensen, it “makes children more stupid and professors more boring”. A little brazen but not without reason.

“PowerPoint may be in for some surprise. Given the limited evolution of Microsoft-based presentation solutions and the wide adoption of Flash as an effective format for presentation distribution, it appears as if the presentation market is indeed open to new alternative solutions that may provide greater ease of use and more design “intelligence” than PowerPoint has been able to provide in the last decade.” - Robin Good

Powerpoint, in the hands of a skilled designer, can work as a great platform to build a fantastic presentation. But some of us aren’t designers. Whether you’re a non-creative Founder presenting to investors or if you’re a Designer looking to make an impact when pitching to your team: looking for a new and efficient way to present your website, app or digital product plans should be at the top of your list.

“These (slide) decks, filled with charts and who you are, are a long-standing tradition because, well, so few of us are exceptional designers. The decks have no relation, or correlation, to how well you’re going to build a product, and they generally tell the same story: this market is huge, we are uniquely qualified to take it, and our product roadmap is well thought out.” - Jason Calacanis, Investor

Pulling together an interactive mockup of your digital product, app or website will not only be useful for understanding the usability of your product but will set you aside from others in meetings such as investor pitches. There are tools available now that allow you to build an interactive prototype without any prior design skills, so you can know your product before you’ve even built it. You can gain user feedback before you’ve even taken it to presentation, so you will have every answer for the hard hitting Q&A at the end. Knowing you’ve looked at every route.

Creating a prototype of your digital product can also be used for internal communication. Discussing what’s included in a product, its interface design and the transitions between pages is vital for your dev team. Gone are the days of providing long briefs either face-to-face or in long copy. You can now actually show them what you want with a prototype, step-by-step without the long winded and wistful descriptions of where one button will take you and what that screen will look like.

"Do not let your product suffer because of the program it is being hosted in".

We understand that there is sometimes no escaping the traditional so why not tie them together and embed your prototype within your presentation? Just like the one embeded above. It’s easy and will add a punch. Remember, there are so many alternatives to Powerpoint around now that you should never have to make your idea settle for anything less than it deserves.

Content is key, remember? Think about what message you want your audience to receive. Research the tool that will give you the opportunity to do that. Use that tool and weep with joy over the dramatic shift in response you receive from your audience.

See for yourself! Build your app, website or digital product for free with Marvel. No catch. We want to see your ideas come to life and help you make an impression that lasts with the people that matter.

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