PowToons is set to release a new product, called #Slides – which aims to provide “stunning presentations” primarily to the corporate sector
When the average person sets out to create a presentation, the results are usually less than spectacular, to say the least.
Lacking the time and the know-how to create an effective presentation, the result is usually a bland production that fails to engage its audience.
Founded in November 2011, its goal was to provide an unskilled individual with the resources necessary to create effective and engaging explainer videos, called a PowToon. The concept caught on, with over 3 million registered users and close to seven and a half million videos created to-date.
The following video is PowToon’s explainer video, created with PowToon’s technology.
The company initially received $50,000 in seed investment from Greenwave Ventures, followed by $150,000 from Kima Ventures and then $600,000 in its first round from a private equity investor, LA based Curious Minds.
The platform is particularly popular in the educational sector, where teachers use the service to create educational videos for their students. The platform also sees a lot of use from marketers and business owners, who use it to create promotional films. To date, over 10% of Fortune 500 companies use it, including brands like Paypal, Starbucks, Ebay, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, and Sandisk.
The popularity of the platform stems from its ease-of-use, allowing busy individuals with no technical experience to create professional explainer videos – thus saving time and money. The platform operates on a freemium model, where users can pay a monthly subscription fee to remove watermarks, increase the length of the video, and upgrade the video to HD quality.
PowToons is set to release a new product, called #Slides – which aims to provide “stunning presentations” primarily to the corporate sector. #Slides will be launched initially as an invitation-only Beta version, and will be competing with industry standards like Powerpoint and Prezi. It aims to provide more engaging visual variations than those provided by these platforms, while still keeping the interface simple enough for a busy, unskilled professional.
The challenge presented by all platforms that seek to empower the unskilled user is the template paradox: platforms like PowToons (such as webdesign platforms Wix and Weebly) and rely on templates out of necessity, in order to provide a starting point and structure for the average user to operate within. The challenge then becomes that all presentations start to look the same, an issue which paradoxically becomes more acute the more popular a platform becomes.
The two methods used to counteract this issue is either increasing the amounts of available templates, or giving users increased customizability options. Adding additional templates doesn’t always work, because users tend to gravitate to a certain number of popular templates, regardless of the total amount they can choose from. And giving the end user more freedom to customize comes with the immediate risk that they will stray from conventional design guidelines and create something that is hideously ugly.
PowToons faces this challenge as well – to make a user-friendly product that does not become cliché after a year and a half. It remains to be seen how PowToons will choose to address this challenge; however, judging by their current array of tools and templates, we can definitely hope that #Slides will add much-needed variance and creative opportunities to the still-pretty-boring world of slideshow presentations.