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Visual content – infographics, images and animations – can be a much more engaging way of presenting information than text. We at BrightCarbon believe in and share this kind of philosophy with Visme.
Visme is an online-based software which aims to improve the content creation process. Their mission is to enable anyone to easily translate their thoughts and ideas into engaging visual content, without any experience in coding or design.
Update: Once Visme came out of beta we wrote an updated review. You can find it here.
Let’s run through some of Visme’s key features and see how the functionality compares to the tried-and-tested programs that most of us are familiar with.
One of the most appealing features of Visme is the built-in asset library, which is docked in a pane on the left of the dashboard. The selection of icons is extensive, with a few different styles and colours that can be customized by the user. The fonts and widgets on offer are also really nice.
The image library is where the asset library falls down: while some images are good, it is difficult to find them as the search function is just not up to scratch. A search for ‘business person’ brings up just one stock image alongside four low-quality images of some prominent real-life businessmen. It is probably best not to rely on Visme for your stock image needs.
Visme is a platform for multiple types of visual content. You can create a blank canvas with custom dimensions – think Facebook covers or web banners – or use their templates for infographics and presentations.
The infographic templates on Visme are lovely. Their design is similar to templates available on other free infographic websites which allow you to create static visuals, but with added functionality in the form of infograph widgets – mini data visualisations which show numerical values. The latest version of Visme includes a number of these of animated infograph widgets which allow users to add dynamic elements to infographics. This makes for an even more interesting way of presenting data: thumbs up for the widgets!
But now for a thumbs down. Visme’s infographic templates are each created with a specific purpose and designed for a specific industry and usage e.g. The Way to Personal Branding, or a Product Comparison. This alone isn’t overly problematic, but the icons in the templates are often created in a different style from those available in the asset library. This makes it hard to swap out the icons in the template if they aren’t relevant to what you have to say, resulting in templates that look beautiful, but are inflexible for users who want to tell their own stories.
The templates for presentations are very nicely designed. And it’s positive to see that all of the templates have built-in visual slides (e.g. labelled maps, timelines, process diagrams).
The fact that Visme is prompting users to create visual stories is exciting, but they could take this a step further by getting rid of the text heavy slide templates that are pervasive across all of the presentation templates.
There should never be this much text on a slide!
Sadly, inflexibility is an issue that appears again with the presentation templates. In some cases, the template limits the type of story you can tell in that design style. For example, there are templates geared solely towards charts while others are geared towards maps. If you like the fonts, colours, and design of the chart template but you need to use a lot of maps in your presentation then you will need to use assets from the library and make them match the template you’re working in: a challenge for those of us with no design experience.
Visme has basic animation capabilities, with three entrance/exit effects (fly, fade, and pop).
I really like the animation pane, which combines a timeline and selection pane – which are separate in PowerPoint – for easy editing and rearranging of layers. The lack of clicks or triggers on slides does mean that you have to sort out all your timings in advance, which is more suitable for self-running slides than stand-and-deliver presentations. Overall, Visme have done a good job of incorporating animation capabilities which are intuitive to use.
Sharing and using content
Visme is fully HTML5-based, so all content is web and mobile friendly. Content can be shared with a URL, embedded in a website, or downloaded as an image, a PDF, or HTML-5 depending on your payment plan. With a Premium account you can download content for offline use and also password protect your content.
As far as usability, it really depends on who you are, what you need, and how much you’re willing to pay. With a free account you can only have 3 projects on the go, access to widgets and download formats is limited, and all content will display Visme branding. Upgrading to the Premium accounts gives you a lot more flexibility when creating and sharing content as you can have more projects on the go, access more of their assets, and can remove the Visme branding.
Visme has the foundation in place to create something really fantastic. Their team is clearly passionate about visual content, and have developed a huge library of content for people to use. This library isn’t just within the web application, but also in their Learning Centre where they produce excellent posts and videos to help users understand the value of visual content and how to create it.
Visme’s goal is to create a consolidated platform for visual content, so that there is a shared learning curve for different types of content. This would be a real plus for people looking to create visual content for use in different realms – for example on a website, on social media, and in presentations – but don’t have the time to familiarise themselves with lots of different programs.
An obvious problem with trying to create a consolidated platform is that existing specialist programs have been honing their craft for years. Visme’s asset library is no Shutterstock, their presentation editing capabilities are not as fine-tuned as PowerPoint’s, and even their infographics face a competition from other free websites. Trying to be so many things at once makes it so difficult to do all of them well, but as Visme continue to develop their platform they could become a really useful tool for content creation.Leave a comment
Senior consultantView Sandy Rushton's profile
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The video animation looks AWESOME! Thank you sooooo much. I am very happy and proud with the result; this video is really convincing. Really really well done.Elodie Maurer SES