PowerPoint has been the presentation maker of choice for a very long time, but will an endless stream of vanilla offerings and a feature list that grows ever short of viewer's desires make it a tool of the past?
Many of us have spent a lot of time with PowerPoint either for school or work. We are familiar with the system of making presentations. The question is, how much longer will this system will be number one? With a new generation that yawns at static presentations and a lot of contenders to the throne, things look grim. PowerPoint may just end up being obsolete.
The Yawn Factor
As readers/viewers are becoming more media savvy, PowerPoint seems less and less impressive as a method of making presentations. The seemingly endless streams of text broken up with a few pictures is simply not enough to engage the average viewer anymore. The attempts to make the presentations more appealing by making the words fade or bounce fail to impress some users, and annoy others. The modern consumer of media (which you have become a provider of when you make a presentation) expects more. Embedded video in PowerPoint is small and not that popular with the creators of the presentations. The modern viewer (and younger viewers) expect a presentation to go to a higher level of interaction and PowerPoint just cannot deliver.
Competitors: Lower Cost and Less Space
PowerPoint has a lot of alternatives that are looking to take their market share away. In order to get PowerPoint you have to be willing to shell out for the whole Microsoft Office Suite, a cost that seems to get higher and higher with every edition of the software. If users can get the same software, or better software for a lower cost (or for free) then they will. It would be counter to their own self interest to do anything else.
Some Free and Low Cost Alternatives
Google Documents and Spreadsheets
You can make your presentation online and allow other users to change it as they need to. This is a great advantage over having to email a presentation to people for feedback and having to make the manual (and often conflicting) changes that they send to you. This option allows for people to use real collaborative tools in real time.
A Java based option that allows you to make your presentations online and then save them to your computer.
This tool will allow you to make detailed and media rich flash presentations to keep your readers (or viewers) engaged. Your media options include photos, music, video, and audio. The you have the choice to either share it publicly or keep it private.
This tool is a presentation maker for using the web based videos you have grown to love. If you want to make a presentation that makes use of these web based videos, and save on the file size of your presentation, then this software will be the way to go.
There is little doubt in this author's mind that if PowerPoint wants to be seen as less of an old fashioned tool that makes a million presentations that all look exactly the same, then it will have to adapt to survive. In addition to making the use of web based tools easier and video integration a snap they will need to find a way to make real time collaboration as easy as possible. Otherwise, tools with a better feature list will beat them out.