With a wide range of presentation software out in the market, it’s no doubt that it’s a great market within the software industry. With big companies such as PowerPoint and Prezi dominating the market, other presentation programs tend to be ignored. One of those is Impression Studio. Now this program does have an interesting concept, but it’s not executed well, and has many setbacks to make this a strong competitor.
Impression Studio is developed by Media Connexus. The idea of this presentation program is based on “actors”. Media Connexus describes the program for the “business presenter”. It comes with about 6 themes, all suited to your presentation needs.
Our first complaint about this program is the user interface. To me, the user interface is the “mould” of the program. Without a good interface, it’s going to detract customers. For starters, the welcome interface is quite dull. It’s just a plain background showing your past presentations, and the options for new/old presentations. While I do like the simplicity of the interface, maybe add a nice background to be appealing to the eyes?
Pressing on “New Presentation” gives you the library of presentation themes. Each theme has its own unique style, and can suit the needs of what you are trying to present. An example would be the Media Connexus Photo Stack, which is a special theme if you want to showcase photos. If you want a more business theme, you can try Media Connexus Guided. While these themes are interesting, some of them are really quite good, such as the photo theme and the particles theme, and I totally commend them for that. However, some of the themes can be described as “outdated” using older font faces. I find most of the themes really uninteresting visually, and for my presentations, I prefer something more interesting to the eye, to capture my audience’s attention. If Impression Studio is updated with more interesting and modern themes, it would be more appealing.
The 2nd issue about the user interface is when you are in the actual program designing your presentation. The user interface is not that easy to use. When creating the presentation, the user interface is quite hard. Each slide is considered a “scene” with the content being “actors”. When you first start presentation, you’ll be prompted to watch some YouTube video tutorials. These tutorials are long, and will take up some time. But still after watching the videos, the program is quite hard to use, and will take some time to get the hang of. For the everyday consumer, I don’t see how this would be appealing, as services like PowerPoint and Prezi have extremely easy-to-use interfaces. This is another issue that needs to be addressed. Also, the interface does not really resemble to me as “presentation software”. The play button gives it more like a video-editor feel, not a presentation feel.
Loading the program can be an issue as well. It took over half a minute sometimes just for the theme to load. It can be longer depending on how many elements you have in your presentation as well. This is something Media Connexus really has to address, as I don’t want to be kept waiting just for my presentation to load. There is a significant difference in load times compared to Prezi and PowerPoint.
*Editor note: Tested on a 6GB, 1TB, i5 quad-core processor computer.
My final complaint is the way exporting is handled. The presentation can be exported in the Impression Studio format, which is called eTakeAway. Their first way is “Publish to Viewer” which gives the presenter the ability to present with the program. When saved, it can also be played on other computers. But this is where a huge issue comes in. In order for the audience to follow along, they have to have the program, or a viewer is included during export. What’s worse is that the user has to bypass firewall settings; something HUGE I would not be happy about, especially if I’m a network administrator. And some people may not be able to bypass firewall settings, depending on how the administrator set up the network. While I do like how as a viewer, I can actually go back and forth between slides, and take notes, the firewall bypass will not be suitable for everyone. The program can be exported to an Adobe Flash file. Something I would like to see is the ability to control the presentation with something such as a presenter remote, so a keynote speaker can control the pace of his/her presentation.
Our editor, Vinkie Lee, had this to say about the program:
I like the idea of “upgrading” to a new level from PowerPoint, but I find this program to be a “downgrade” instead. This program lacks in colour with the dull grey and black. When I first opened the program, I thought it would be a simple program to make presentations from, but it wasn’t There are a couple of flaws including how difficult it is to use, and how it looks like Windows Live Movie Maker. These flaws made the program seem as if it was a movie editing program instead of a presentation program. There is a theme called “Photo Album”, which put me in the position of that this program is a photos slideshow instead of an actual text presentation.
Personally, I do not at all recommend this program. It’s honestly one of the most confusing programs I’ve used, and I’m sure will be a headache for those who purchase the software. And for the price of $99 USD, this program is not worth the money. However, if you really want to check the program out, you can download a free lite version.
This program overall has an interesting idea, but is not well done. The hard interface will frustrate users, and the learning curve does take some time. To me at the moment, the program won’t take any market share away from the big competitors PowerPoint and Prezi. However, if issues are addressed in a future version, this program could have the potential to be a better presentation software service. Thanks to Media Connexus for letting us test out this software.