There is one extremely obvious constraint for using PowToon: the time constraint. First you have to learn a new tool, and this one will especially take time to master if the user is unfamiliar with controlling timing. The website immediately calls PowerPoint out for being a boring tool that viewers can’t stand to watch. But people know how to use PowerPoint. PowerPoint is simple, and easy, and comfortable, and therefore quick. PowToon even says on their homepage that users can throw together a PowerPoint presentation the night before giving it. So, how is that bad? PowToon wants the user to be so creative and use so many design principles and tools, that it will take the user some time to learn on this new interface. This tool, then, had better be darn good if it can steal users away from comfortable PowerPoint. Obviously PowToon thinks it can outweigh this negative by providing videos and advice on becoming a talented public speaker.
Either PowToon does not have an undo button, or this interrogator could not find it, in the hours she spent on the website. She can say it slowed her down significantly. She just wanted to fiddle with foreign commands and symbols in an effort to learn what buttons performed what functions, while making a presentation. But when she accidentally placed holds and couldn’t undo them, or deleted all the slides, she had to take the time to fix her mistakes rather than hitting “undo.” Because of this it took her forever to finish her presentation, adding to the time constraint. If all users experience this, and what new user does not, who’s to say these users won’t ditch PowToon and head for the hills Microsoft PowerPoint? PowToon not having an undo button would appear to give old-school PowerPoint a big edge.
A literal time constraint is that PowToon only allows users to add and delete full seconds. Although a user can customize appearances and effects down to the half second, the tool will not allow deletion or addition by any interval other than one full second. This makes the tool less customizable.
The final time constraint is that PowToon does take a while to load and you do have to have a good Internet connection to use it. If you don’t have the Internet connection or the tool is loading slowly, the image below will appear on your screen.
Another constraint is that PowToon does look like a cartoon, and there is no way around this. Although some templates allow more comprehensive customization than others, there is no template that doesn’t look cartoon-ish. This could seriously limit a user who wants a fun presentation with a more serious look.
PowToon wants you to use their images. They provide these placeholders on the template slides, where you may insert your own image. Sadly, your uploaded image always ends up awkwardly cropped to fit inside their placeholder, as you can see below. If you decide to delete the placeholder and just insert your image onto the cartoon template, you lose a nice visual element and your inserted image seems not as clean, and almost surprising on such a cartoon-like template.
Finally, PowToon really wants the user to upgrade and pay for their tool. You can’t really blame them, but it of course limits the user. If you want more animations, templates, and themes for free, this is limiting.
Again, you can’t blame them for this constraint, but the PowToon logo is located on the bottom right hand corner of each and every slide on each and every template. If you look at nearly all the screenshots and especially the PowToon presentation video, you will not be able to miss the large red and white logo. It doesn’t move and is kind of big, so it places a constraint on the design you can create and the space you can take up on the template.