Jamie Garroch, Managing Director of GMARK Ltd., founded the company in 2009 to provide presentation professionals with software and services to alleviate the restrictions of serialized presenting. Jamie conceived the idea and has lead the development of the company’s first product for PowerPoint users, ActivePresentation Designer, which was launched in May 2010.
In this conversation, Jamie discusses ActivePresentation Designer.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about ActivePresentation Designer, and the Menu Bar option in the product.
Jamie: The idea for ActivePresentation™ Designer came from watching sales colleagues struggle to take the right content to the right audience and deliver the right level of detail to different individuals. It became apparent that each sales person was spending huge amounts of time slicing and dicing presentation material in an attempt to predict what their customer or prospect wanted to hear, often with the result that they took the wrong set of slides or the wrong level of detail.
I thought “wouldn’t it be great if I could deliver material to these sales folks that had everything in it they needed, for every eventuality, but they had dynamic on-the-fly control over what they presented, based on the needs of their audiences? Now that would be customer focused.” This struck me as being the same need as a web site. For many sites there are often thousands of pages but a visitor freely and rapidly navigates their way to what they want instead of being forced down a particular path.
This navigation concept is the foundation of ActivePresentation Designer, and enables a presentation author to overlay a hierarchical tree structure on top of a standard sequential PowerPoint presentation and then link this tree to the slides. Using this overlay, a Menu Bar is then created that can appear on all or some of the slides and provides multi-levelled interactive navigation across the whole presentation, during the slide show. So it’s now possible to take 50, 100 or even more slides in a single presentation but only present the 10 or so needed in any particular session. It also means that when you send a presentation electronically, the recipient can find their topics of interest quickly.
Geetesh: Beyond the Menu Bar, ActivePresentation Designer includes several widgets to make things like adding a clock or directly printing from a slide easier – tell us more about these features.
Jamie: A second key concept is “make the presenter’s life easier so they can concentrate on great delivery”. With this in mind, the presentation author can add a clock to slides, preventing the need to look at a watch. A printer icon can also be added to print the current slide without quitting the slide show and is useful for unmanned presentations such as kiosks. To save time, an Export Wizard can be invoked when the presentation finishes which shows only the slides presented during that session and allows the presenter to deliver a customized deck for their audience. The exported deck is secured with a unique password for each audience and the export process checks the confidentiality level (set by the author at design time) of each slide before exporting it.
Another time saving feature is the Co-Branding Wizard which batch processes your presentation, creating multiple copies and ‘stamping’ each one with a logo or other image from a folder library on your PC. This benefits companies that want to deliver multiple copies of a presentation to a distributor, dealer or representative channel, each one being co-branded with the partner identity. Finally, Popups address the need to show or hide detail based on audience needs giving the presenter the ultimate control over message delivery.