Sunday, March 3, 2013

Haiku Deck: The Anti-PowerPoint

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I've been seeing a lot online about Haiku Deck lately. In a nutshell, it's a free, web-based PowerPoint alternative. Part of me said, "Well, whoopie-ding...another PowerPoint alternative."

And then I tried it out.


This is more than just a PowerPoint alternative. It's a different way of thinking about presentations: tell your story, and make it beautiful.

The biggest immediate difference is the focus on images instead of bullet points. This might sound crazy, but hear me out. I think one of the biggest problems with PowerPoint and related ilk (Keynote, Open Office, GoogleDocs Presentations, and even Prezi) is that there is almost always too much text. And often way too much text.

Here we are, using a supposedly visual aid--visual aid--and then all we do is add lots of text.

Haiku Deck turns that on it's side; it's all about the images here. True visual aids. I think that makes for more of a narrative-driven structure instead of a flood of information. And I think that would help a lot of the stupefying nature of many PowerPoint lectures. (Sorry, I know that sounds nasty...but you've been in that class or that meeting too, haven't you?)

It might be easier for me to show than tell what I'm talking about. Good news: Haiku Deck is perfect for this! So here's a sample for you to get the idea... (We've been talking about school reform in one of my classes lately, so it was an easy topic for an example...)

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Clearly you would have to lecture differently if you were using this to present, right? It wouldn't be an avalanche of bullet points for sure, because there is a sort of a minimalist aesthetic at work in Haiku Deck: you can't use much text on each slide, because they've designed it that way. The visual are freely available, royalty-free images that you can search right in the app. The app is smart enough to automatically suggest search terms (based on the text of your slide) or else you can search for your own terms. And of course, you can upload your own images as well.

No need to be a design-guru; the included templates will make your presentation look amazing. The interface is excellent: easy to use and intuitive.

There are built-in sharing tools too: you can email a link to your deck, you can share your deck via Facebook or Twitter, or you can even download it and play your deck in PowerPoint.

The app is a free download on the App Store--no Android version available yet. If you have an iOS device, you should at least give it a look. What have you got to lose? (Other than boring PowerPoint, of course...)


  1. Dave,
    Thank you so much for covering Haiku Deck on your blog! We're so glad that you're enjoying our app, and great job on your deck! We love getting feedback from our users -- an Android version is in the works but we are launching Haiku Deck 2.0 on March 7. Look forward to more awesome features like bullet points and the ability to create charts and graphs!
    Lisa from Team Haiku Deck

    1. Looking forward to seeing the update!

      My immediate reaction was, "Bullet points??? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..." But I've been thinking more about this. There are definitely situations in which bullet points and charts and graphs might make sense, even in an "anti-PowerPoint" app. I will just choose not to use them most of the time, because I'm thinking about narrative and visuals instead of a flood of text and a hail of bullets. :-)

    2. Hi Dave!
      Bullet points was one of the top requested features from our users. We definitely agree with that -- in some cases, it does make sense to use bullet points & charts.

      We're all about making this app as awesome as it can be so any feedback on our new version would be great! Also, here's the link to download if you haven't yet:

      Lisa from Team Haiku Deck