Power Your Presentations with the New SlideRocket

PowerPoint isn’t an awful tool. The only problem is that it hasn’t come out of the Office 1.0 era, even after so many years. Lack of interactivity and eye candy make even interesting presentations look stale. It’s not like there aren’t any worthy alternatives either; there are so many of them out there. Office dwellers are creatures of habit and therein lies their problem.

It’s true that there are a few web apps that help break away from the clutches of PowerPoint, SlideRocket is the only presentation app that not only allows you to create stunning presentations but also to manage them intelligently, share them securely and then measure the results. Join me for a review of the recently revamped presentation app after the jump.

Overview

SlideRocket is an online presentation app that strives to make presentations less boring and more engaging. Since our earlier review of SlideRocket, they’ve undergone an extensive makeover, adding a new suite of interactive features, a powerful dashboard, and a fresh new look and feel.

Overview

Overview

Sign up goes in two stages, the first is the standard sign up form with all the fields as mandatory requirements and the second requires you enter your credit card information if you are registering for the free trial account. Your credit card will not be charged at this stage or during the course of the free trial and you can cancel anytime.

Pricing

Pricing at SlideRocket is subscription based. While I was expecting to a see a complex tiered pricing model, SlideRocket surprised me with just only one paid plan. The paid Pro plan costs $24 a month and is loaded with features and a relatively generous storage limit of 1 GB.

Pricing

Pricing

There is a free account that comes with a lot of features of the paid account minus the interactive features and analytics. For those looking to evaluate the web app, the Pro plan comes with a free 14 day trial period.

Dashboard

Getting Started

Getting Started

After the sign up, there’s no need for email activation and you can login to your account straight away. A bright coloured and imposing Getting Started page welcomes you upon logging in and the page offers to help you import an existing presentation file, create a new one or help you learn how to use SlideRocket. Since our style is always trial and error, I skipped the page to get to the dashboard.

Dashboard

Dashboard

The dashboard is neatly designed with great color choices and aesthetics. I really loved the font styling and the manner in which the presentation library is displayed. You can change the library views and the size of the presentations in the library using the controls on the top right corner.

The dashboard is part of the revamp and is now the central hub from where you can manage settings, share and collaborate on presentations, view history, export presentation and pull analytics information.

Creating a new presentation

Selecting a Theme

Selecting a Theme

Creating a new presentation begins with the selection of a new theme. You have the option to select from one of the existing themes or create a new one altogether. For now, let’s go ahead and select an existing theme.

Another great point to note is the availability of options to optimize the presentation to the screen resolution of your choice. SlideRocket offers you to set custom resolution if your needs are not met by the five main presets.

Presentation Editor

Presentation Editor

I should note here that the presentation editor is very well designed. There are a ton of features available in this screen but SlideRocket team has done a great job at making all the icons and controls appear less daunting for first time users. The idea of using the right column for customizing text you’re entering is a great feature that even the user friendly PowerPoint lacks.

To the left we have icons that act as shortcuts to add multimedia, charts, tables etc. Adding textual content is pretty much the same way we’re used to—double click on the title and body to fill it with your ideas and observations.

Importing Pictures

Importing Pictures

When trying to import a picture, I was pleasantly surprised that I was taken to the Asset Library instead of a pop up to upload directly from the computer. Pictures have to be imported to the library first and then added to the presentation. While this might look like adding an additional step, the idea here is to have the images for future presentations and save time.

Flickr Integration

Flickr Integration

Not impressed yet? Wait until you see the Flickr integration. Just search for a keyword and you’re able to add any picture from Flickr that’s publicly available to your presentation and the library as well. Kudos SlideRocket!

Charts & Videos

Adding videos happens the same way as pictures. There’s YouTube integration available and once you enter the URL of the video it will be embedded in the presentation for you. No more pasting code!

Adding a Chart

Adding a Chart

Now, coming to the most important part of a business presentation—showing off charts after charts of data irrespective of however useless they might be. SlideRocket comes with six types of charts with brilliant colors and shades. You can double click the chart to edit or add more data.

Forms & Polls

Adding a Question

Adding a Question

Thanks to the new version of SlideRocket you can now add forms and polls to your presentation. At the end of the presentation they can come in very handy for collecting feedback on questions pertaining to the subject matter. From a simple test box to multiple choice questions and sliders, there six types of forms to choose from. Editing content is, as usual, done by double clicking them.

The content on the slides can be tilted, moved around and dragged across the screen at will.

Comments and Analytics

Realtime Comments

Realtime Comments

What use does collaboration have if there’s no real-time commenting system? SlideRocket lets you send invites to coworkers and friends so they can jump on board and comment on the progress of the presentation.

Analytics

Analytics

To see how popular and useful your presentations are, go to the Analytics tab in your presentation dashboard. From there you can see comprehensive analytical data such as the number of times the presentation was viewed, how long the users stayed on presentation, poll and form responses etc. If not for anything else, SlideRocket deserves a pat on the back for giving so much insight to fine tune the presentation.

Final Thoughts

As a presentation app, SlideRocket blows its competition out of the water with an impressive set of features. The number of ready-made themes is relatively lacking and something the SlideRocket team might consider adding to, especially for Pro plan users. SlideRocket’s monthly subscription plans are on the steeper side, but, quality doesn’t come cheap.

At the end of the day, however, $24 per month might be a bit too steep for regular office goers. A mid-level plan with slightly reduced features might add a bit more traction for SlideRocket. On the upside, however, $24 per month is an easy price to pay for small companies that will have multiple users taking advantage of this killer app.

To spice up your presentation, in addition to the gamut of features, SlideRocket hosts a marketplace to add content and services that can make your presentations stand out among the crowd. All presentations can be downloaded and showcased offline as well.

SlideRocket is definitely a must have tool for professionals in need of powerful presentation software.