PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff

SlideDynamic: Conversation with Tim James

Tim James founded SlideDynamic in 2009 and now focuses on product management. Prior to the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe in 2005, Tim held positions in product marketing and management at Macromedia. Over the past 5 years he has worked in various consulting engagements for global organizations wishing to engage their on line visitors with persuasive and compelling experiences using Adobe Flash and Flex applications.

The vision and mission at SlideDynamics is to define and lead the market in real-time PowerPoint experience management by delivering valuable presentation outcomes for PowerPoint presenters and their audiences.

Geetesh: Tell us what prompted you to create SlideDynamic, and how it works.

Tim: My entire career has been spent using PowerPoint as a tool for presenting to many of the world’s leading companies on the subject of online customer experience. However because PowerPoint is sequential and linear by design, this presentation medium, by its own nature, offers little in terms of real-time content navigation, thus limiting an agile presentation experience for my audience. It was not only my first hand experience of the inability to tailor the order in which slides are delivered within presentations, but also from feedback I received from senior executives from many of the organizations I presented to, whom when citing their own presentation style identified that an interactive table of contents in PowerPoint would be extremely useful, that set me in pursuit of creating the SlideDynamic PowerPoint add-in, in order to achieve better productivity and a more persuasive, relevant and timely presentation experience for an audience.

One example of how the SlideDynamic PowerPoint add-in helps deliver more valuable presentation outcomes for PowerPoint presenters and their audiences would be, in the Q&A session often adopted by presenters at the end of their presentation or encouraged throughout; verbally answering questions from the audience can be quickly reinforced visually by effortlessly navigating to content to address the query, or just as seamlessly by selecting from an additional set of “what if scenario ” slides held in reserve.

The presentation community has gone through a significant inflection point where a more interactive style of presentation is generally expected by audiences; this also inspired me to commercialize the software.

The SlideDynamic PowerPoint add-in now enables the presenter the three capabilities of:

  1. Inconspicuous content navigation,
  2. A browser (style) back button, and
  3. The bookmark function

These features are used generally online on websites everyday, but not possible natively within PowerPoint.

The SlideDynamic add-in works by automatically creating a Flash menu for non linear style presenting and slide navigation from all or selected slides in a presentation using the slides title and an associated thumbnail image of the slide; an interactive table of contents. So as not to distract the audience or consume valuable slide real-estate, the Flash menu is only visible when dynamic slide navigation is required by the presenter. Regardless of how the presentation is delivered, whether sequentially, dynamically or even with hyperlinks (although not needed), a reverse navigation button allows instant review of the slides in exactly the order they were presented. The Flash slide menu’s design can be quickly customized from the SlideDynamic PowerPoint add-in and the entire automated process takes only a matter of seconds to complete. A presentation can recommence at any chosen slide even after PowerPoint has been closed, using the save and resume feature of the Flash menu.

Geetesh: SlideDynamic uses Flash to create the navigation and interactivity within PowerPoint slides – how much of a challenge was it to make sure that Flash worked in all versions of PowerPoint?

Tim: It is the foundation on which the SlideDynamic software is founded and it consumed the most significant portion of the software’s development and rigorous testing phases. This robust interoperability between Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 and the rich user interface of Adobe Flash with the SlideDynamic add-in provides a platform from which we are already planning new and exciting additional features to further enhance the dynamic possibilities for PowerPoint thus empowering presenters with greater presentation agility.

Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint

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