PhotoIf you think about it, we’ve been using the same old Microsoft Office programs for quite some time. Word and Outlook haven’t really changed all that much, and Microsoft Access hasn’t blown anyone’s socks off in recent memory either.

But probably one of the most surprising Microsoft programs to remain stagnant is PowerPoint, and you would think this wouldn’t be the case since the need to wow a person through a visual presentation is still very important in everyday life, not to mention business.

That’s where three Seattle buddies stepped in and created an app called Haiku Deck that could possibly rival PowerPoint in the area of presentations or at the very least be a hipper alternative to the serious no-nonsense -- and, let's face it, somewhat dull -- PowerPoint.

Simply put, if Microsoft PowerPoint is all charcoal grey suits and wingtips, then Haiku Deck is t-shirts and sneakers, which basically means the company is trying to bring a more youthful and playful approach to putting presentations together.

However, before reading farther, take note: this is an iPad app. If you don't have an iPad, maybe the Haiku people think you're not cool enough to use their app. But anyway, for whatever reason, it's only available for the iPad. You can, however, export completed slide shows to other types of devices.

Colorful gallery

PhotoA perfect example of the visual differences between Haiku Deck and other presentation programs like Prezi or SlideRocket is in the gallery section of the company’s website, where colorful and inviting photos are used to draw the audience into the presentation.

In addition, slides are able to move a lot quicker and in a much slicker fashion than PowerPoint, and fonts are bolder, making words seem more pronounced. 

What's also different is that users are able to put together extremely professional and creatively designed presentations without being a graphic designer or a PowerPoint expert.

The creators say they want to change people’s perception of visual presentations from something one has to sit through to something they're eager to experience. The company certainly has its work cut out for it in that regard, but the sheer ambition has to be admired.

Ideal for tablets

As noted earlier, Haiku Deck is an iPad app. CEO Adam Tratt says consumers are using their tablets for everything nowadays so it makes perfect sense to create programs that cater to that everyday use.

“The tablet began as a media consumption device,” he said in an interview with GeekWire. We are currently experiencing a “seismic shift in how people are using tablets, from content consumption to content creation.”

Tratt also says the program will attract other users besides the usual boss in the boardroom type.

“I think early adopters will include entrepreneurs who are always pitching, marketing types who are telling stories and creating narratives for brands, leaders/organizers who are promoting a movement, teachers/students who want to deliver impact,” he explained.

The company says it doesn’t only want to provide a fresh alternative to programs like PowerPoint, it wants to completely change the way presentations are thought about.

Business as usual

Photo“Presentation software hasn’t changed very much over the years,” the company said on its site. “It’s been business as usual since the invention of the Internet and mass adoption of mobile devices. We set out ... to change the game. With our product, anyone can create a stunning deck and share it.”

It seems that most presentation programs set out to provide content in a professional and uniformed way, but few companies have really tried to make presentations beautiful, entertaining and fun to watch.

Haiku Deck clearly seeks to be the first company to provide this service, and since it heavily associates itself with both the younger generation and the way mobile devices are used today, the company could eventually be looked at as Gen Y’s official way to present an idea, business plan or a solution to a problem.

The app is also perfect for organizers and companies that want to market their products and services in a youthful, cool and stylish way.

The color photos users will have access to are from the photo-sharing site Creative Common, and since every Internet photo seems to be going the Pintrest route these days with bold imaging, audiences of the presentation should be able to pay closer attention to what’s being shown.

More fun

The company also wants to increase the fun factor for the person putting the presentation together and by viewing the online video for Haiku Deck, it’s clear that easy use for the presenter is a big part of the this program.

Whether the app will eventually rival PowerPoint or similar programs is yet to be determined, but the Haiku has already received its fair share of attention, especially among those who are looking for the next generation of visual and presentation tools.


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