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September 13, 2012 / carlispina

Create a Presentation on Your iPad with Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck LogoAs someone who creates a lot of presentations for both classroom use and conference presentations, I was immediately intrigued when Annie Pho tweeted about Haiku Deck as an alternative to PowerPoint and Prezi. While I have used both of those tools, as well as Keynote, in the past, I think there is definitely potential for improvement when it comes to creating presentation slide decks and I liked the idea of being able to create a presentation entirely on my iPad.

Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that streamlines the process of creating a slide deck for a presentation. Users can select from 5 free themes or opt to pay for one of 11 other premium themes. Once a theme has been chosen, users are presented with only three options: to add text, to add an image, or to change the layout of the slide. If users opt to embed an image in the slide, they are presented with a fully-integrated tool that searches Creative Commons images. To make this process even easier, the search field is automatically populated with terms that the user has included on their slide and synonyms are listed along the left side of the screen to suggest other search terms that might be related. Below the search box, thumbnails of images that are available under a Creative Commons license are presented on the same page and can be used as the backdrop of a slide with a single tap. As a default, these images are limited to those that can be used for commercial purposes, but there is also an option to expand the search settings by including images that can only be used for non-commercial purposes. If the user would prefer to use a personal image, it is also possible to either take a photo using the iPad’s camera feature or to select an image from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr or Picasa. It is also possible to instead use a plain background rather than an image. The overall effect is a simple, image-focused slide deck that makes for a very professional and engaging presentation. Once a presentation is complete, it can be shared online via email, Facebook, Twitter or by exporting the file. Finished slide decks can be viewed in any browser, meaning that those who view the slides don’t even need to have the Haiku Deck app. In fact, from the Haiku Deck website it is even possible to get code to embed a slide deck on a website or on a WordPress site.

However, despite these advantages, Haiku Deck does have some limitations. While using a small number of words is definitely preferable in most presentations, users of Haiku Deck don’t really have the option to include more words if necessary, since the tool doesn’t support layouts that include bullet points or paragraphs. Moreover, it would be impossible to include multiple images on a single slide and adding charts to a presentation would require first uploading the chart to one of the services from which images can be selected, making the process a bit clunky. Finally, I think it would be nice if the app had a feature that let users output a footer, bibliography or similar list of the attribution information for the images used. While each image does include a copyright button that can be clicked to display this information, I think most users are unlikely to do this as they present and without doing so, they inadvertently fail to meet the attribution requirements tied to the Creative Commons license under which the image was released.

Now that I have tried it out, I think that Haiku Deck is well worth a try. It is an extremely quick and polished way of creating a simple, image-focused set of slides all from an iPad. However, I do hope that the makers of the app continue to refine it to increase its versatility and functionality.

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