As presentation nerds, we at BrightCarbon have had plenty of opportunity to get to know ins and outs of Google’s browser-based presentation tool. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Google Slides - from the very basics to the most advanced features - and will provide you with the know-how to make brilliant slides, quickly and easily.
In 2016, we wrote a review about a piece of online software for content creation, called Visme. Their mission is to enable anyone to easily create their own visual content, without having to navigate the time and cost implications of getting the experts in. Now that Visme are coming out of Beta, we thought an updated review, detailing the shiny new version, was due!
Visme’s philosophy is very much in-line with what we believe here at BrightCarbon – that visual content is the key to effective communication – so the development of an easy-to-use platform for creating beautiful content is an exciting prospect to us. PowerPoint and Illustrator are powerful pieces of software, but require significant expertise in order to use them to their maximum capacity. Has Visme managed to create a platform that caters for users who aren’t as familiar with industry-standard graphic design tools?
This feature doesn’t appear to have changed much from the previous version. The left-hand panel is easily accessible, and has a pretty decent selection of different icons. Finding icons which match in terms of line weight and style is a little tricky, which could mean that you could end up with a selection of mismatched icons throughout your content if you’re not careful.
The image library also doesn’t seem to have been updated, which is a shame, as we ran in to some problems with it last time. The available images, though beautiful, are limited in selection compared to most other stock image search engines, and most of my searches brought up results which were only tangentially related to my search terms.
My favourite Visme feature is the massive selection of templates, which cater for just about every need one could possibly imagine. Compared to PowerPoint and most other mainstream content creation applications, Visme seriously have this one nailed. The platform is hugely flexible for making different types of content; there is a vast library of new built-in presentation and infographic templates, as well as other options for creating ebooks, web graphics (email headers, etc.), social graphics (think Facebook and banners), and printables (posters, flyers, etc.).
The presentation templates available through the software are really beautiful. There is a huge range of types of template too (maps, charts, quotes slides, etc), which allows you to tailor your slide deck exactly to suit your flow of content, without losing the consistency of your overall design theme. Now it’s also possible to set the design template to your brand guidelines, which is a handy new feature. The built-in templates are relatively straightforward to edit, though the controls take a little getting used to (some buttons aren’t exactly where you would expect them to be, such as for editing the line colour of a shape).
The infographic templates are all visually appealing, and have tons of functionality. I love the editability of the graphs and charts, and how easy it is to tailor fonts and colours to fit in with your overall design theme. But even with this range of capability, it is difficult to create something outside the specification of the original purpose of the infographic. Creating a truly custom-made infographic would be hard work – the ones provided are all very specific, and it would take tremendous effort to edit the general layout and content. That said, there is a handy search bar for finding the type of infographic you want, which makes sourcing the most appropriate template a little easier.
It looks like the animation software remains much the same as previously. There are three entrance and exit animations: fly in/out, fade and pop, and these are easily managed in a handy pop-out pane at the top right of the screen.
The animation timeline has been moved into a more obscure location, though, and is noticeably more difficult to use. I had to use the “Help” function to find it, hidden away in the objects pane on the right of the screen. Once clicked, the pane fills the whole screen, which makes identifying the objects you want to animate a nuisance. It would be useful if it was possible to name the objects on each slide to overcome this issue.
Other than that, though, it is easy to edit animations, and the controls are much more intuitive than PowerPoint, especially in terms of manipulating the animation timeline. The animations still run without triggers, too, which would work great for self-running presentations, but might be more taxing if you wanted to bring in specific elements of the slide to coincide with your speaking points.
Overall, Visme is a promising tool for content creation that looks stunning and feels professionally made. The built-in features, like the graph and chart engine, are truly marvellous, and the stuff you can make with them have the kind of look and feel that otherwise wouldn’t have been achievable for your average non-designer. The platform in general feels slick and versatile, but there are a few occasional niggles which take away from the overall user experience. With a little more development, the future of Visme looks bright!
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Communication consultantView Rachael Hattam's profile
Jamie Garroch puts the ‘power’ in PowerPoint add-ins. He’s written code for dozens of amazing functionality boosters, some for specific organizations and some available for all users, and he's joining the BrightCarbon team! Read on to learn about the experience that Jamie is bringing to BrightCarbon and how it will help clients and the presentation community use PowerPoint more effectively.
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