Powerpoint has been around, and prominent in businesses, education institutions, and even on personal computers and homes for decades. It is simple, easy to use and gives a relatively clean end result. But, as the world moves towards a mobile-first agenda, the place of Powerpoint, specifically in businesses, is now being questioned. Is Powerpoint now too simple and basic, are there other options, and where do we go from here when all we have ever known is Powerpoint? It is now time to move past Powerpoint, and meet people where they are, regardless of what device they are on, and give them an experience that engages them and interacts with them. It’s time to give them a content experience.
If you’re not yet convinced, this article will discuss the limitations of Powerpoint in business today, and where we can go from here.
What is Powerpoint?
Let’s start with a little about Microsoft Powerpoint, originally released in 1987 by Macintosh and quickly sold to Microsoft, Powerpoint has been around for millennials for most of their lives. It was around before the internet was available in homes, and served as the first and most successful presentation software of our time. As the decades moved on, other presentation software has been released and many have done quite well, like Google Slides, but almost all bear a similar look and feel to Powerpoint, so for the sake of this article, we will group all presentation software together under “Powerpoint”..
In its prime, Powerpoint has been successfully used in many aspects of business, from presenting annual reports, graphs and data, slides in zoom meetings, or on stage at conferences presenting data and cliff notes for the speaker, Powerpoint definitely has had a place and has been used well over the years, but as the world changes, and Powerpoint doesn’t keep up with the changes, its limitations are becoming more apparent. So let’s discuss what Powerpoint cannot do well and where to go from here.
Lack of originality
One of the best parts of Powerpoint has always been that it is relatively easy to use, and offers a clean result that brings familiarity. When a viewer sees a Powerpoint presentation, they immediately know they are seeing a Powerpoint slide, so at what point does this get old? The fonts, colors, sizes, even the slide size are all determined by Microsoft and for the most part, fixed. So there is not much room for originality or design freedom. It is not often a viewer is impressed by the design of a presentation they are seeing when done on Powerpoint. Sure, you can add your own templates, and brand it to your organization, but the true nature of Powerpoint is to make sure the end slide still looks like Powerpoint. So there are restrictions in how much originality a designer can add to the deck.
Today’s population from adolescent to adult all use social media as an everyday part of their lives. What makes social media so popular? – The interactivity. You can like, comment, share, offer your own input, watch videos, create memes and engage in discussions with friends and strangers alike. Social media, and especially social media on a phone, has made people crave interaction.
Powerpoint is very limited here. It is a presentation tool where typically one person talks about the information they are sharing on their slides. There is no interactivity, no true engagement, viewers are guided through at the presenter’s pace. And even without a presenter, and a reader is similarly browsing the presentation alone, it still offers no interactivity for the reader.
In today’s world, this lack of engagement will not keep pace with the engagement the audience craves, and may soon become obsolete.
Bad user experience on mobile
Following on from the world craving interaction on social media, the mobile phone has become the number one device in which people consume, well, everything. From the news, articles, blogs, real estate, shopping, social media, and magazines, most people lift their phone first. And at the very least, it is one of many devices that each piece of content is typically viewed on. So it is evident that readers want to consume content on their mobile, but how easy is this with Powerpoint? Not so easy.
Powerpoints are not responsive to mobile devices. They are built on a fixed layout model, so for the user, it is not a good experience. It involves pinching to zoom, panning left and right or swiping on and down. There are no simple navigation tools for a mobile device as the software doesn’t respond or confirm to different devices. So Powerpoints are typically never viewed on a phone. And with todays population craving mobile first, how sustainable is this? Your content today needs to be responsive.
During the covid pandemic the world moved remote, and while Powerpoint did adapt to this remote world and allow multiple users to work on the same document the way Google Sheets currently does, it is not enough. There is limited user access and restrictions on roles and capabilities each user can do, meaning the content is more susceptible to errors, mistakes in branding etc. So instead of letting the software manipulate what each user can do, it requires human input and acknowledgement to hold these boundaries on the roles and access, and this can lead to a potentially higher workload and multiple versions of the same content.
Lack of analytics
Possibly the biggest oversight with Powerpoint and one of its missed opportunities, is the lack of insight and data into the analytics. Sure, the purpose of the software is a presentation tool, but we’ve all digested way more Powerpoint decks than we care to admit alone on our computer. Reading slides before meetings, reviewing new HR policies sent out as Powerpoint decks, or even building our own quarterly updates to send to management in an email, there are many, many times Powerpoint presentations are built with the true intent to be read and not presented.
So why aren’t we able to track who views them, how many times they’ve been viewed, where does the audience come from, what portions are they drawn towards in the content, and what parts are obsolete? The world moves forward from data, and when there is very limited data available, it is hard to see a path forward.
So where do we go from here?
Thankfully, there are quite a few options that give presenters and content consumers alike what Powerpoint can not; a mobile-first option, interactivity, tracking and analytics, multi-user access and roles, and uncapped originality. A great way to do this is with a content experience platform.
What is a content experience?
A Content Experience is the overall experience of accessing, consuming, engaging with and responding to a stream of branded content — across diverse devices, platforms and channels, and throughout the buyer’s journey, from prospect to customer. Content experiences focus on how users actually interact with and engage with your content – they can be stand alone pieces of content that truly engage the reader, which is the transformation of a PDF, magazine, online publication etc. into an engaging digital experience.
How can a content experience platform replace Powerpoint?
Regardless of who is going to view your content, whether it is an internal document in order to share data, or you are presenting to a room of hundreds of people, each person is seeking interaction and engagement in that content. A content experience platform does everything a Powerpoint presentation can do, which is mainly presenting data in a slide format, but it can also do everything a Powerpoint presentation can not and offers:
- A richer, more intuitive experience allowing readers to consume the content on any device they want. Offering truly responsive content means no more pinching or panning to view content
- Increased engagement and interactivity with a multitude of multimedia elements from animations, videos, media galleries, polls, forms, CTAs and more
- Indexable content – one of the advantages of content experience platforms is they output the content in natural HTML which is indexable by search bots, leading to more traffic and more leads in your sales funnel
- ADA compliance is guaranteed when using a platform with an accessibility validator to check things like font size, color contrasts and image captions to ensure your content complies and is accessible to all readers
Why it’s time to move past Powerpoint
It’s time to present your data, insights, forecasts and everything in between, in a way that the reader not only digests it, but engages with it, too. Whether it is being sent as a stand alone document, or being presented to you by a speaker, the objective should be the same, to keep your audience engaged in your content. And you can do this with a content experience platform. You can add branding, organize and index your content, add multimedia elements, collect information, and track how your content is being used in order to optimize for the future. The time is now to put Powerpoint aside and give your audience a content experience.
Experios is 3D Issue’s all new Content Experience platform that allows you to build both internal communications and external content easily, while implementing your company branding. You can create annual reports, newsletters and brochures for your employees as well as your customers.. You can get started with Experios for free today, schedule a demo or start your free trial.