The year was 2001, and Flash was becoming more and more omnipresent. Every web site wanted to use Flash assets to appear cutting edge themselves. Some sites used Flash for animations, some used it for video — and then there were sites that even created the site’s menus and navigation features in Flash. And wait — some sites were created entirely in Flash. And with the Flash run-times installed everywhere, things looked great for the Flash format.
And other than the Flash program that Macromedia created, there was almost a scramble to create products that output content to the Flash format. You had programs that created Flash output from 3D graphics, charts, videos, greeting cards, even ebooks!
With so much of Flash everywhere, it seemed crazy for a while that there was no easy way to create Flash files from your PowerPoint slides. There were however many tutorials online that explained how you could export your slide content as vector files that could be re-assembled within the Macromedia Flash interface, then re-animated, and finally exported as Flash SWFs. Even with all this extra work, there were so many users who traveled the path and labored to create Flash movies of their PowerPoint content.
And then came a product called Presedia Producer that changed everything. Presedia was not really a product from 2001 — in fact, it was available and being conceptualized in some form since 1999. But it was in 2001 that I remember discussing Presedia with Keith Kitani. I asked him why he decided to create this new product that converted PowerPoint slides to the Flash format?
The idea started when Kevin and I were at a sales meeting – the typical event with hundreds of salespeople viewing 20 presentations in 3 days. We felt there had to be a better way to deliver this type of presentation information. We decided to develop a solution so the typical business person could produce high quality web presentations in minutes.
Presentations – specifically PowerPoint – are the most common method for delivering business information. Yet, effective presentations are designed to be accompanied by audio. Slides alone do not provide the complete message.
The web is an ideal way to deliver business presentations with audio, yet no one had developed a good solution for delivering presentations with audio over the web. There were a few solutions available, but each had drawbacks, including the solution within PowerPoint.
Our solution needed to make it easy to create a multimedia presentation. We wanted the typical PowerPoint user to be able to create the web presentation – not just the multimedia designer.
What strikes me about Keith’s response is that more than a decade after he conceptualized and created Presedia, his usage scenario is so valid and relevant even today!
So why are we talking about Presedia and Keith today? That’s because Presedia is what we all know as Adobe Presenter today! But there’s more — Adobe Presenter has had an amazing journey — we will learn more in successive posts of this series!
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