Haiku Deck: A Fresh Take on iPad Presentation Creation

Do you hate PowerPoint? Want to give your presentations a little bit of jazz and pop that just can’t be achieved with an animated spiral-in textbox? You may be in luck.

With the help of a dead simple app called Haiku Deck, you can use your iPad to create presentation content on the fly and then share it via social media. Let’s find out more, shall we?

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Pajama Presentations

With its odd little name, Haiku Deck comes to the rescue to help users generate a sharp-looking presentation from the couch or airport — or wherever else you take your iPad. Tap to create a few slides, align the text as you wish on each and then search the app’s creative commons database to add an image background.

Haiku Deck creates beautiful presentations with minimal fluff.

Haiku Deck creates beautiful presentations with minimal fluff.

The app uses stylized fonts and filters to theme your presentation so even if your presentation is finished, you can easily change its look all in one fell swoop (or tap). The app is free and comes with five of these themes. If you want more themes, there are in-app purchases for a small fee.

There are more themes available for $1.99 if the initial five don't satisfy you.

There are more themes available for $1.99 if the initial five don’t satisfy you.

Keep it simple

Haiku Deck is not for power users; there isn’t a touch-activated laser pointer or built-in notes area. It doesn’t even allow for more than two lines of text on each slide. Some would argue that’s a step in the right direction — away from reading information from slides — but I still found myself yearning for a bulleted list now and then.

The small feature set it has is aptly suited. Finding pictures was a cinch using the built-in creative commons database. If you search a term, similar tags appear in the sidebar to help you find the right image. I searched for numerous terms while using the app and results were at least in the ballpark for most. Once you’ve found the perfect picture, its author is maintained in the finalized slideshow with a small, unobtrusive Creative Commons icon in the lower right-hand corner.

If you can’t find an image you love, you can always upload your own. Apps like Haiku Deck add more reasoning toward storing your pictures in the cloud so they are available to pull down at a moment’s notice.

To the Web

It seems like many iPad apps come with a sister web application. The web app usually adds features and builds upon the strengths of the iPad app or vice-versa, whichever came first.

In the case of Haiku Deck, the web app is a place to store your presentations online; they can then be easily shared via email, twitter or Facebook. They can also be embedded into an HTML site using an iframe or into a WordPress blog.

The sharing options cover most options and the tie-in web app hosts the slides.

The sharing options cover most options and the tie-in web app hosts the slides.

The sharing options really run the gamut, but can they live up to the simplicity of the app itself? It turns out they can. Once you’re done creating your presentation, leave the editing screen to return to the app’s home screen. Once there, just tap “Share” on your selected presentation to bring up the aforementioned options.

The shared presentation links to Haiku Deck’s web site where you can view the slideshow in medium-size or fullscreen. Once there, users can also use the keyboard arrow keys to move the slides forward or backward, see the number of times the presentations has been viewed, leave a comment or share it again with more people. The viewer is attractively designed and fits well with the themes provided by the Haiku Deck app. There is an advertisement on the viewer page, but it’s unobtrusive and only points users to download the iPad version.

Working out the Bugs

I wish I could say my experience with Haiku Deck was completely seamless, but I did run into a few bugs. Sometimes, images wouldn’t load completely. I think this is because the Creative Commons photos are quite large, but if you move onto the next slide without letting each download (when creating your presentation) you may be stuck with half-loaded pictures. There is an inescapable fullscreen view. When viewing the presentation in fullscreen mode from a shared link, I could not revert back to the medium-sized view. Finally, there is a delayed slide progression. When using the web app to display a presentation (instead of the iPad), there was a noticeable delay when moving to the next slide in the presentation.

Haiku Deck's web player hits a snag now and then but nothing that ruined the app.

Haiku Deck’s web player hits a snag now and then but nothing that ruined the app.

The overall operation of the app, however, was smooth. Depending on your Internet connection, you may need to wait a few seconds for an image to load onto a slide, but the app never felt bogged down or clunky.

Pricing

Haiku Deck is free for basic functionality. If you appreciate making sharp, but basic presentations from your iPad, you may invest in the added themes at $1.99 each.

Haiku Deck is well designed, especially when you consider the price tag.

Haiku Deck is well designed, especially when you consider the price tag.

It’s hard to beat free in general, but when combined with the fact that there really are few presentation apps geared at creation on the iPad, Haiku Deck is a no-brainer.

Conclusion

Haiku Deck is basic, but it’s also intuitive. It helps users create a memorable presentation by building on the Creative Commons model and good typeface selection. Furthermore, some of its feature limitations can be offset by the argument that a quality presentation shouldn’t be full of bulleted lists or long winded slides. And yet, having just said that, it still feels like it should be an option.

With no standout competition outside of Keynote, Haiku Deck could be right up your alley. If more features are added, it could be a top-drawer recommendation.


Summary

A simple, yet thoughtful, presentation creation app for the iPad.

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  • http://www.haikudeck.com Catherine

    Dylan, thanks for the awesome write-up! (1) We’re surprised to hear you’re getting half-downloaded images….if you’re still having trouble with that, let us know and we’ll try to get to the bottom of it. (2) You can hit ESC to exit the full-screen mode, but we agree this could be improved. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! And (3) the slide progression delay you mention is likely caused by your internet connection. If you have a fast connection, there shouldn’t be any noticeable delay. Keep the feedback coming, though—and thanks again for spreading the word about Haiku Deck! Catherine from the Haiku Deck team

  • Mar

    How can I add photos from my iPad? I only see on-line options (like fb or flikr) when I select “choose photo”.

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