Monday, February 22, 2010

A Brief Review of 280 Slides

I recently came across a web based, PowerPoint-like application called 280 Slides - created by 280 North. I thought it might be nice to do a small review of the application based on my first impressions.

First Impressions

On the home page, the big button that says "TRY IT NOW, FREE!" truly delivers. You do not even have to register or anything - just start creating. I found out, however, that you will need to register if you want to upload pictures. It was a very simple registration, though. In fact, it was probably one of the easiest I have done. Just an e-mail and type password twice - no need to even do the confirmation e-mail thing. I liked how easy it was to get going with the application.

If you are a Mac person and are familiar with Keynote - you should feel comfortable with this. It had very much and 'Apple' feel to it. Apparently two of the creators were Apple employees though. If you are more of a PowerPoint user, this is no problem. I felt this application had a very small learning curve. The user interface was very simple to understand without tons of buried menu items.

Some Advantages

OK, so I by no means did an extensive review but there were some things that stood out right away. I liked that the UI was easy to grasp with friendly icons. Since there was no installation of any kind, startup was fast - no waiting for the program to load. In a hurry? This might be your ticket. The registration was even fast and hassle-free. The media support is pretty good with the ability to upload pictures and videos along with some simple built-in shapes. I thought the opacity slider was a neat feature. Sharing via blogs and such is simple too. You can get the embed codes needed with a few quick clicks.


Some Disadvantages

OK, again, not an extensive review but there were a few things that I identified as drawbacks. First, there are only nine these to pick from and five of those are just solid colors and pretty boring. Three of the other four are OK but not stellar and the graph paper theme might be OK for some math lesson but careful on the eyes with that one... Second, and this may not be that big a deal - there were only three layouts to choose from but then again, how many do you really need? You can place things wherever you want anyway. Third is the big one in my book. I did not notice a way to create hyperlinks. Since this is web-based, there seems a strong chance to want to link to something on the web from your presentation. Ultimately there is not a lot of capabilities with the product but it does what it needs to for the most part.

Conclusions

Overall, I thought this was well made - attractive and functional. I am not sure how much demand there is for a product like this with PowerPoint, Keynote, GoogleDocs, and OpenOffice Impress out there especially when GoogleDocs and Impress are free and have much more functionality. I can see, however, in a pinch when you might be limited to someone else's computer or something and your favorite resources might not be available that this would be a good place to go.

Here is the sample presentation I created - it was very easy and sharing is a breeze.




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