Currently the the premier program which professionals and amateurs alike use to make presentations is Microsoft Powerpoint (or free clones of similar nature). While this is solid software, its basic concept was invented more than a decade ago, during a time when the primary device which we would use to interact with a presentation, was an offline desktop computer.
Now Microsoft is trying to build a whole new piece of software, which it hopes will free us from the shackles of Powerpoint. Called ‘Microsoft Sway’, or just ‘Sway’, this new app promises to “reimagine the way our ideas come to life”. Primarily, the app is a multi platform, multi device presentation builder, which utilizes the best of preexisting presentation tools, and optimizes it for an online, mobile environment.
At first glance, Sway looks familiar to the somewhat overly animated zooming presentation editor, Prezi. Users are able to work within a single environment in order to arrange content which they which to add to their presentation. Without leaving this app, a user is able to search the web for images, video, social media posts and other content and then host this within their pre-existing presentation.
But this is not enough for us to make truly amazing presentations. What we need is a little help from professionals, and indeed this is where Sway really starts to come into its own. Once a large enough amount of data and content has been added into a Sway workspace, the program can use algorithms which have been developed with professional graphic artists in order to select a visual style and arrangement which is both easy to digest and beautiful to the eye.
As well as this, Sway also is optimised for use on mobile devices. Presentations can be easily edited, as well as navigated through the touch-based controls of popular smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, once a presentation has been completed, it can be easily shared on the web, through embed links and other mechanisms.
Currently Sway is available as a preview, work-in-progress application not just for Windows desktop users, but also for iOS and Android users. We hope that this app will, in time, live up to its promise of transformative communication and kill the boring, slide-by-slide PowerPoint presentation for good.