Make Presentations and Publish on the Web with Flowboard

Now that I do all my conference travel with only an iPad, I’ve been looking for better solutions to creating presentations and content while on the road. One of the most interesting of these is the recently released free app Flowboard. The free storage includes 250 MB, which seems like enough for most projects, but there is a premium for more storage. Unfortunately Flowboard requires iOS 6 and an iPad, but it creates presentations that are published through its platform and easily viewed on the web, rather like Prezi.

Essentially, Flowboard is a streamlined tool for creating linear presentations, galleries, or magazine-like content with internal and external links, text, images and video. It’s similar to PowerPoint but with fewer options, and it eliminates some of my least favorite things that show up in PowerPoints: bullet points, tables, and random flashy animation. The Flowboard guide shows off what this can look like, although the visual impact is pretty dependent on great graphic design. The final Flowboards are responsive and cross-platform friendly. The screen types and templates remind me a bit too much of PowerPoint, but they are very streamlined. At this stage the app for creating feels a bit rough,and it is missing things like a decent copy and paste tool, but it has a lot of potential and content creation goes quickly.

Of course, there are lots of apps out there for presentations. Ryan wrote recently about his “Prezi Conversion,” and I’ve written about my love of Prezi for working within a visual metaphor. But making a good Prezi can be a big investment, and it doesn’t fit all content. Konrad’s markdown-based presentation solution is intriguing, but requires spending more time with code than visuals. That’s where I can see Flowboard fitting in my work: its style lends itself to the type of good design Jason described for improving PowerPoint presentations. It’s not quite as sophisticated for running presentations as SlideShark, which Mark reviewed, but the online  version of a final presentation is easily accessible and can nicely stand on its own.

I can particularly see using Flowboard when I want to create something as a lasting resource. Published Flowboards feel more like web-friendly books than just presentations, and the ease of adding links makes it easy to build in interactions and references. I’ll be giving this a try for some of my summer conference talks.

What’s your go-to presentation tool? Have you tried Flowboard? Share your experiences in the comments!

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