Haiku Deck: Review
Haiku Deck is a free iOS-based application that can create simple yet attractive slides. Haiku Deck is purely iPad-based for production, but completed Haikus can be shared online and viewed from desktop computers and other devices.
What does it do?
Haiku Deck is an app that allows you to create presentations on an iPad or iPhone by adding text and image backgrounds. The app allows you to quickly and easily create a presentation from scratch, incorporating text from a small selection of ready-made layouts, and an image, graph, or colour-based background.
Haiku Deck allows you to set a background for each of your slides. You can choose from six block colours, or you can select an image using the built-in Creative Commons search. This allows you to search through thousands of images online using keywords. The Creative Commons licence means that any images found are available for you to use freely without charge, including for commercial purposes. Haiku deck also allows you to use your own images; you can take one from within the app or select images from the Photos folder of your iPad.
The simplicity of this application means that there are very few things to edit; they are the content (almost exclusively text), background image or colour, and the theme, which changes the font of the text. Haiku Deck doesn’t have advanced features such as animations or the ability to insert objects into the foreground, which massively restricts the visualisation potential.
Haiku Deck does, however, allow you to insert graphs and pie charts using its built-in editor. This is done in place of a background image, from the same menu. In the application, it gives you the option for the type of chart you want to display and the data to go with it. It can be a little fiddly to edit, and there are minimal editing options (even the colours are automatically generated based on the theme), but this recent addition to Haiku Deck is a huge improvement.
As an app, Haiku Deck doesn’t have a complicated install wizard – just search for the app via the App store on your iPad. The download and install take about a minute to do and after that you’re ready to go.
How easy is it to use?
Haiku Deck is simple to use. It has taken some of the very basic features of PowerPoint and put them into an easy-to-use app. Haiku Deck is simple to pick up, and even a novice without any sort of experience in using slideware should find it easy.
After installing Haiku Deck you will see some example ‘Haikus’ demonstrating how Haiku Deck works. To start, select ‘play’ and swipe left and right to scroll between slides. By clicking the ‘edit’ button in the top right of the screen you will be able to edit the slides. To start a new Haiku, just press the ‘new’ icon.
To play a Haiku you can either play it directly from your iPad, connecting it to an external projector or screen if you wish, or export it and then email it as an attached file. Doing this will send a PowerPoint file to the email address of your choice, which will open as a read-only file. The downside of this method is that the resolution stays the same as on an iPad and does not adjust, meaning that if you have a large projector screen or laptop the slides appear stretched and slightly pixelated. You can also save it to Haiku Deck’s web app, from which you can view your Haiku from any device with an internet connection.
What’s right with it?
I like the simplicity of this application – you don’t need to be a genius to work it, as it is very straightforward. To change something within your slides you just click the object you want to edit, then change the text or picture.
Haiku Deck is a great application for creating attractive slides on the move, and could prove useful if you travel a lot. However, importing pictures for the backgrounds requires an internet connection, meaning that you would have to select from the default images available, or those already saved on your iPad. You can however still view decks offline once the pictures have been downloaded.
What’s wrong with it?
Although the finished Haikus are aesthetically pleasing, they don’t make for an effective presentation. Audiences can’t read and listen at the same time, pretty pictures are distracting, and lack of animation, which is a key component in Visual Cognitive Dissonance, means that presentations cannot be made truly engaging.
Another downside is that in order to customise the design, including font and colour changes, users must purchase additional themes. Haiku Deck charges for these themes, which currently start at £1.49 each. Because it lacks in features and gives you no control over simple things like text size, Haiku Deck makes PowerPoint and other presentation software much better contenders.
Should I buy it?
Haiku Deck is a good way to quickly create attractive self-explanatory billboard slides. As Haiku deck is free on the app store I’d give it a go, however the lack of visualisation-enabling features such as animation and foreground objects means that I don’t think this will be a serious contender for alternative slideware at the moment. What it does – which is enable the user to create simple, beautiful slides quickly and easily – it does well, but without animations and foreground objects Haiku slides will never be a serious consider for effective presentations.
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