PowToon, as a presentation tool, allows and encourages the user to exploit all five modes of communication, as we discussed in the overview. To recap: linguistic, aural, gestural, spatial, and visual modes can all be used. To see these modes, in action, check the Personal Experience sub-page for an example presentation that I slaved over, and will be presenting in class.

Linguistic modes are pretty obvious. Although good presentations use fewer words on the screen, almost all presentations do have words in the display. Aural modes will always be present in a presentation, as a “speaker” is of course speaking. Beside this, PowToon lets the user record or imbed audio files in the presentation. Furthermore, their animations and effects make sounds, if the user allows it. Gestural modes are unique to PowToon in how easy they are to employ in your presentations. Certain images come with animations, so all the user has to do is select an image and drag it onto the template. Transitions are also gestural aspects that PowToon implements, sometimes, on its own. The user can control spatial modes, by dragging and dropping anything around on the template (except the large PowToon logo on the bottom right of every slide, more on that later). Visual modes are extremely evident and distinct to PowToon, because of their cartoon-like visuals. That being said, any presentation would have visual elements, but PowToon really encourages that the user employ them.

PowToon wants the user to really get creative, more creative than with any other presentation tool, especially Microsoft PowerPoint. It wants the user to explore the design principles of proximity, contrast, emphasis, alignment, and organization (so all of them), on every slide of every template. PowToon is really customizable, with the many template/style options, including completely blank, from background and font color down to the number of seconds on each slide, and when very visual component appears, and how.

The website encourages an intriguing video presentation, with less text and more images and with unique designs, templates, and animations that are easy for the user to imbed. PowToon also encourages fun presentations by slamming Microsoft PowerPoint for being boring. PowToon hammers that home on many of their pages, making the user a little bit scared of being boring, making the user want to “do it better” than their co-workers, classmates, team, etcetera. The site actually includes public speaking tips, and video presentations of renowned public speakers (think Steve Jobs), so you can learn with Powtoon before designing your own presentation. This also discourages the boring and encourages the exciting, by giving tips and examples. PowToon suggests that good public speakers use contrast, alignment, proximity, and repetition (some design principles discussed in class) in their presentations, and encourage this on their style slides that the user is forced to select from (except the option of a blank presentation).

With this in mind, PowToon ends up providing more utility to the user, because now their website is a “lifestyle” website. Users can visit it for advice and tips, see them in action, and then create their own presentation. The interface encourages that you master the art of public speaking, the ends of the presentation process, as you use their tool, which is the means of learning how to be a great presenter.

Because of this, PowToon (hopes it) has made the website an invaluable tool to the inexperienced presenter, which may make their time and new-ness constraint less constraining (more on that confusing thought in the Constraints sub-page).

To summarize, PowToon wants the user to be exciting! They want the user to explore all the design principles, and encourage the user to become a talented public speaker, because the site gives out tips, advice, and examples of good presentations. PowToon offers many templates/styles for the user to pick from, and images, animations, and effects as well. The user can customize their presentations right down to how long each slide is, the color scheme, what appears on the slide in what order, and when.

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