Online Presentations

Introduction

The path of a typical college student involves tests, papers, and often times presentations. To enhance a presentation a visual aid is usually allowed, and a common choice is to do a slide show presentation. The most common program used to do so is Microsoft PowerPoint, but what if you don’t own this program? There’s an easy solution, slide show programs on the Internet!

We focused on three websites offering slide show presentation development, Empressr, Brinkpad, and Zoho. We required all these websites to be free with access to the Internet. We looked at how complicated it was to insert a picture because having a picture helps the audience understand what you're talking about, and gives them something to look at. Next we looked at where you can save the presentation, like the Internet or to your computer. This is important because as a college student many presentations are done in groups, so if you can save it online you can all access it but don't have to be together. On the other hand, if you want to save it to your computer because you are going somewhere without Internet access you would need the option to do so.

Next we looked at how easy the website is to navigate; can you find what you're looking for easily or is it a task? This is important so your presentation can be created with ease and doesn't take extra time out of your schedule as a busy college student. Our finally criteria was tool options, including background, font, color, shapes, transitions, graphs, and tables. When looking at these tool options we took into consideration variety, and how easy the tool was to use. Using transitions are important because they make the presentation seem more professional, and give some entertainment to the rest of the class watching the presentation. Font, colors, and shapes give a slide aesthetic appeal, once again helping the audience stay interested. Graphs and tables are important for professionalism as well as organizing data.

Empressr

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Is it easy to insert a picture?

It is confusing to find where you click to insert a picture. To insert a picture, you need to click "Upload" on the bottom toolbar, a box will pop up and click "Browse" at the top, then choose a photo from your computer. Click "Select" and your photo will be uploaded but not on the presentation. An extra step is necessary, you must drag the photo from the "Upload" box onto the slide. Finally, you must click "Close Panel" to view the picture on the slide and edit it. Overall there are too many steps for completing a simple task.

Where can you save it?

The only option to save a presentation is on the Internet.

Is it easy to navigate?

The site is poorly organized, which makes it hard to navigate. Windows do not close automatically after you are finished working with an option, cluttering the page and making it hard to work with. It is time consuming and irritating to have to individually close each window after using a tool.

What tools are available?

The option is available to add an image or color as a background but very confusing to actually do so. Transitions between slides are an option as well, which includes having each slide timed. There is a variety of fonts that you may use and it is moderately easy to edit and move texts around on the slide. A limited amount of shapes are available for decoration and are hard to work with. Empressr has the capability to insert graphs and charts with ease. Graphs and charts are very easy to edit and move throughout your slideshow presentation.

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Brinkpad

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Is it easy to insert a picture?

It is very hard to find where you insert a picture because the only thing signifying where to enter it is an icon of an image, which makes it very unclear of what the icon actually does. To actually insert a picture two steps are required, clicking the picture icon on the left toolbar, then clicking on the slide and dragging the mouse to create a box. This in turn triggers a window to pop up in which you select the picture you wish to insert. This whole process is much more complicated than it could be, the step of dragging to create a box is unnecessary.

Where can you save it?

The presentation can be saved online, to your computer, or as a JPEG file. It is useful that you can save your presentation on the internet and on your computer, but saving as a JPEG poses a problem. When saving as a JPEG you can only save the current slide you are working on. This is not useful in most college presentations because they usually involve multiple slides.

Is it easy to navigate?

Brinkpad appears very elementary, it uses icons without clear labels. This actually makes it more confusing because the pictures for the icon don't always make sense or define what the purpose of the icon is. It is a waste of time scrolling over each individual icon to figure out what the icon is used for.

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What tools are available?

Brinkpad lacks a key component, the choice to put a background on. The only way to put a background on is to use a shape or make an image the whole size of the slide. On the positive side, Brinkpad does have a large selection of fonts, making the presentation more aesthetically appeasing to the eye. A problem with the font option is that changing the color doesn't seem to be an option, or is extremely hard to figure out. The option to enhance the slide with different shapes, and a variety of colors to fill the shapes are options as well. The downfall of this is, once again, it is hard to figure out how to make the shapes. The shapes can be multi-colored which looks cool.

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Zoho Show

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Is it easy to insert a picture?

It is very easy to insert a picture, the icon can be easily located. To insert a picture, click on "Insert" on the top toolbar, click "Image", click "Browse", select a photo, click "Open", then check the box of the picture you want to use. The selected picture will automatically appear on the slide. There seems to be a lot of steps but the terminology is common used on other programs. The steps are self explanatory.

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Where can you save it?

Zoho offers the options to save the presentation on the Internet or as a PDF. Saving as a PDF allows sharing copies with others with different operating systems, though they can't edit the file. The option to export the presentation to PowerPoint and other programs makes it easy to save to your computer in whichever way suits you.

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Is it easy to navigate?

The symbols on Zoho are labeled and easily identifiable. It is very similar to Power Point, which many college students are associated with after using it in school for years.

What tools are available?

A variety of background themes are available, as well as simply using a color for the background. Also many transitions are available, complete with timer so you don't have to click manually and interrupt your presentation. Zoho lacks in that it doesn't have as many fonts as Brinkpad or Empressr. The lack of fonts is made up with by a variety of shapes. There is also the option to insert clipart. There are a lot of colors to choose from for shapes or text. Another downside is that if you want to use charts or graphs, you must copy it from another program or save them as pictures.

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Warnings

Zoho only works with a certain browser. Firefox is the browser most compatible with this tool. To download Firefox web browser visit: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/

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CONCLUSIONS

All the options give you the possibility to add background, colors, and shape, but some are more advanced than others. Brinkpad would be a good source for someone unfamiliar with computers trying to make a presentation because it is simple and has few options. Unfortunately college students need more options than what is available on Brinkpad in order to create an impressive presentation. Empressr has many options, but still not as many as Zoho, or not as easy to find at least. Empressr is confusing and hard to use. Zoho is the most advanced, and yet is still easy to use, so it is probably the best choice for a college student. Zoho is comparable to Microsoft Powerpoint, which many college students are familiar with, making it is very easy to follow. The symbols and terminology used in Zoho that aren’t familiar are easy to understand as well; if you scroll over the image it clearly labels what it means. Copying and pasting a graph from another program is not that much of an inconvenience to college students who are used to inserting graphs in other programs. Overall Zoho is the most appropriate for college students because of its advanced level which is useful for that of a college student.


Written by pearcepav and Kekoa
February 22, 2010

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