Side-by-side: SlideRocket and 280 Slides
Most college teachers create presentations, and they usually follow a slide show metaphor (see the post earlier this week for variations). Of course, PowerPoint is the most popular tool, but there are several web-based alternatives that free a teacher from having to bring a USB flash drive to the classroom or conference center. They also create a web page that students or meeting attendees can easily access.
Some of the web applications belong to online productivity suites, like Google Docs and Zoho, but there are also a few very interesting stand-alone products. What follows is a concise side-by-side comparison of the key characteristics of two such tools.
|Status||Started in Jan.’06,
went public Oct.’08
|Beta – started Jun.’08
formed by 3 recent USC grads
|Account required||Yes, free or pay||Not until you save|
|Help/Documentation||Help menu, videos, PDFs||No menu, only website FAQs|
$$ – to PPT or Executable
|To/from PowerPoint ’07|
||Font, size, color, align, indent,
effect, spacing, rotate, flip
|Font, size, color, align, indent|
|Builds / Transitions
||Yes / yes||No / no|
|Media||Image, Video, Shape,
Flash, Chart, Table, etc.
|Image, Video, Shape|
||Yes / yes||Yes / yes|
|Public URL / Embed code
||Yes / yes – simple example||Yes / yes – simple example|
|For-pay features||More space, polling, audio narration, comments, etc.||None|
|iPad friendliness||App, no (Flash-based)
|Only partly – no text entry
Sample worked w/altered URL
In general, the two programs are very similar. SlideRocket has much more functionality – and that makes it a bit more difficult. For power users, $24 per month pays for a bunch of useful features, but some of them (like exporting to PowerPoint) should be free.
People with simple needs will prefer 280 slides. Among other things, it has a neat little embedded web image search. Some documentation would be nice – a few screencasts, maybe. Keep an eye on this one. I would not be surprised to see an iPad app, and they have to add for-pay features if the company plans to make any money.
Update: SlideRocket presentations DO run on an iPad. The original comparison chart was wrong and has been corrected.