A mini review. Earlier this week TechCrunch reported on a $3.5m fundraising round for Flypaper, a company that enables anyone to create flash-based presentations, and publish them on the web without any technical knowledge. I did install the application and had some time to play around with it. Contrary to my initital expectations, Flypaper is actually a full blown downloadable desktop application (60MB plus a lot of updates after a first install). The good: it works very fast (exactly like PowerPoint would run). The bad: a slightly tricky installation process (you need the latest Microsoft .NET). The user interface looks great and is very intuitive. Creating objects, moving them around, planning the time line of the chart, all easy and simple. If the introduction demo is a benchmark of what Flypaper can do, then this is certainly a powerful application. The big question: powerful graphics processing power often does not give the best results in the hands of the layman (the target segment of Flypaper). The clearest examples of this are the animations in PowerPoint, often used for spectacularly animated transitions between slides that usually annoy the audience or makes the audience laugh at the presenter instead of taking him seriously. Some of the example presentations posted on the Flypaper web site use effects that in my opinion do not necessarily add to the communication impact of the presentation. A big pro is a much clearer framework to build a structure of clickable links in a presentation. This can be tricky and complicated to do in PowerPoint. I can see some useful applications:
  • Slow zoom/move of a big image to get a "documentary" effect
  • Animated demos of complex products/processes
  • "Girl effect"-style presentations
I have not had a change to test the online/upload functionality of Flypaper, entering a competitive battle with services such as Slideshare. (It's the basis of their revenue model: the premium offer allows you track visitors to uploaded presentations). Ultimately, all this functionality should be integrated into PowerPoint though. There are only so many graphical user interfaces/applications the layman can apprehend... B.t.w. Flypaper has a nice tag line for their product... UPDATE - competitors, KinetiCast, Empressr, SlideRocket.

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