The new iPad mini having just been released, we felt it would be a good time to discuss the validity of the iPad and iPad mini for presentation purposes. With more clients every day asking us to create presentations for their tablets, is it possible to imagine a complete shift of presentation hardware towards tablets? Are tablets appropriate for every type of presentation and presenter? What are the design limitations of working on iPads for powerpoint designers?
There are two fundamental topics to look at when deciding to switch your presentations to iPad: Presentation design and delivery.
Will you be able to design the same presentations you are used to or will you need to adapt? How will you deliver your presentation from an iPad?
If your presentation is already in Keynote or on Powerpoint but you are willing to take the plunge towards the Mac presentation tool, then Keynote for iPad will be your best ally. The software itself is very cheap, a whopping $10, and is almost as powerful as the desktop version for presentation delivery. All your designs, text content, imagery, video and sounds should be kept intact when imported to the iPad. Unfortunately Apple left out a few animations and transitions as well as a selected list of fonts. In most cases we are able to work around these minor setbacks by converting the selected text into images to maintain original fonts (in the event that your font is not compatible with Keynote for iPad).
The iPad version of Keynote will be more problematic for content creation. Though Apple did a great job at making the app user-friendly and quite powerful for the small screen, there is not a single time where we recommended clients to create presentation within Keynote iPad. For the sake of it we tried once, but ended up spending 5x more time than on the desktop version, with an underwhelming result. On the other hand, the app has proven to be very handy for last minute adjustments, such as text edits, image positioning and data adjustments in graphics and charts.
There is some stigma with making the move towards Keynote. Many of you are unfamiliar with the desktop software or are simply not working with Macs at the office and fear the presentation will be stuck on the iPad. Though there are definitely some drawbacks to working on Keynote for non-mac users, we typically provide a PDF copy of the presentation and can also accommodate you with an animated video of the presentation which will be triggered by clicks on each slide, just like the original presentation. With these powerful complements you will be able to share your shiny new presentation with clients and prospects.
For those of you who want to stick with Powerpoint, fear not, as there are some great iPad tools out there for you too. In fact, we test about one new tool every quarter, and they keep getting better. The tool that we have been using most is Sharkslide, which is a free app provided by Brainshark that works in tandem with their software. It’s important to note that while their powerpoint viewer app is free, Brainshark will charge you to upload presentations on their website. To get your presentation on iPad you will need to upload it on the Brainshark website where it will synchronize with your iPad within minutes. You’ll be able to make some minor edits on the Brainshark platform, but the real power of Sharkslide is its ability to play your powerpoint with its full range of animations and transitions. There is no loss with using their tool, which is a first with iPad powerpoint viewers. The app also lets you navigate to selected slides, auto-play the presentations, time the transitions and much more. The following video gives you a quick overview of these features.
If you are doing a sales presentation with your iPad, chances are you are presenting to no more than two people, and most likely to only one. We have found that when presenting to a single person, the iPad should be used as the visual support instead of using a screen or projector. Enabling your prospect to handle the iPad creates an automatic connection with them. Having to keep yourself close to them also helps create this connection and break barriers that could be created from presenting from across a table. As much as you can, use the iPad as your principal screen; you will automatically feel the impact of breaking the distance barrier.
If your audience is bigger and you are presenting for a product launch or any other internal or external communication you may want to stay away from presenting directly from your iPad, unless you feel that walking around to each and every individual in your audience will help build connections with them :). We recommend pairing the iPad with a projector or a large screen. If you are in a boardroom or amphitheater and there are VGA or HDMI plugs where you can plug your laptop use these to plug your iPad. You will need to buy a VGA or HDMI adapter to plug in the iPad. Make sure your iPad is fully charged as you won’t be able to plug it into a power source as you are presenting.
If the room is larger or not equipped with a reachable VGA cable you will need to pair your iPad with an Apple TV plugged into the screen or projector which will enable you to mirror the iPad’s content onto the screen wirelessly. The Apple TV is an additional $100 cost, but will easily be amortize when your audience is in awe with your technical skills, which are in fact very easily achievable. (see tutorial video below).