The world deserves a better presentation software: my pitch

I often — like you I bet — have to make slide decks fast, very fast, and need them not to look like what I made back in the 8th grade. I’ve taken classes on slide design, made a few 1,000 myself, and I’d admit that never have I been able to quickly, easily, and reliably been able to make a professional, yet human deck in under 30 minutes. That ought to change, I think. The modern web is just too good for this to be so hard.

So here’s my pitch:

General Principles

  • Slides should be fast and easy to create and not ever strain the eyes of your audience
  • You should be able to create slides through just your browser and they should work everywhere and anywhere (and yes, that means you fonts)
  • Never should there be faked 3D animation — or animation of any kind — projected by an adult.

A simple theory of slides

There are basically four types of slides that you should ever really want to have:

  • Photos
  • Quotes
  • Charts
  • Screenshots

Photos

Photo slides should be simple, beautiful, powerful — and most of all easy to include and optimize:

  • Smart search from flickr, instagram, Facebook and other social image platforms for super simple starts
  • Instagram-style and -ease filtering and cropping to add charm
  • And automated permalinking, attribution, and short link to be a good person

Quotes

Quote slides should let the words do the talking:

  • Smart search from quote websites and copy/paste functionality from websites/blogs for quick starts
  • Big, bold, and mostly universally accessible fonts to make sure the words are heard
  • Option for photo-slides as backgrounds to spruce them up (optional, not required)

Charts

A charts slide should convey one point, and one point only as simply as possible; that means using chart and graph styles that people actually know and understand:

  • Sync up with Google Sheets and then restyle with D3 and a clean CSS for beautiful, simple bar, line, and pie charts (that’s it)
  • Smart copy/paste functionality to take Excel data into a non-Excel looking chart
  • Only a few “process” charts (read: a vegan diet of SmartCharts): linear, hierarchy, and cycle

Screenshots

Screenshot slides should be just like a screenshot: fast, easy, and reliable:

  • Just type in a url and automatically pull in a recent (but then archived) shot of a URL to get things going
  • Super simple cropping and filtering functionality just like photos
  • Stored archives of your past screenshots for posterities sake since, well, sometimes websites fail

Let’s go make this happen. A world of current and future procrastinating presenters will be forever at your mercy.

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