Collaborate: An Examination of Tools for Groups Working in the Cloud - 280Slides
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It's difficult to imagine what more anybody could ask for from an online presentation creation application than is provided by 280Slides. The interface is sleek and well-featured and an absolute breeze to get to grips with. I had my first presentation started in seconds and the (admittedly rough and ready) first slide built in a couple of minutes.
Among the powerful layout features are adjustable object opacity, object stacking and support for notes. Slide management is handled by the tidy and intuitive slide navigation pane, which doubles as a drag and drop slide arranger. There is also a built-in media browser with support for images, shapes and various movie formats, including YouTube video.
Collaboration is as simple as creating an account and sharing the login details with your co-conspirators, enabling anybody logged in to that account to open, modify and save a document. The application also includes a number of powerful document sharing tools such as web page embedding, along with the ability to distribute slide shows by email or send them to slideshare.
280Slides presentations may be shown directly in the browser thanks to the seamless display integration, but there is also an option to export files in PowerPoint 2007 format for offline editing and display.
Like any application, 280Slides has its limitations. The worst of these are the clunky and erratic cut and paste functions, and a slight lack of clickable menus. The interface relies heavily on keyboard shortcuts, which can be unnerving since there is little feedback to indicate whether an invoked function has been successfully implemented.
Slides themselves can also tend towards being a little plain, as there is a shortage of aesthetic options, such as drop shadows and rounded corners.
Summary: Sets the standard for collaborative cloud applications, although there is still room for improvement.
Pricing: For the time being the 280Slides beta is absolutely free.
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