What a presentation app learned from the iPad-ification of news
The iPad has become an excellent reading device. In the three years since its introduction the display has improved, an increasing number of websites are designed with the device in mind, and magazine apps are slowly evolving beyond glorified PDFs.
StoryDesk CEO Jordan Stolper intends to lead similar changes with presentation apps. The company is today announcing a newly-updated application that allows salespeople to navigate and create interactive presentations on their iPads. Presentations, like magazines before them, might finally take advantage of everything -- or at least some of the things -- the iPad can offer.
Every journalist reading the conflation of their trade with salesmanship probably just cringed (and, maybe, scrolled directly to the comments section). But Stolper, a travel writer published by the New York Times and the Economist, doesn't see much technical difference between presenting the news and presenting a sales pitch.
"Software [works] as a platform to manifest your ideas in a tactile and emotionally compelling way really gets people leaning forward in the meeting, reaching across the table, and interacting with the information," Stolper says. Holding that attention is key to any salesperson hoping to meet their quota just as much as it is to any news organization hoping to compete with listicles and stories about Jimmy Fallon's staged twerking video.
But, as Farhad Manjoo recently wrote, adding too many whiz-bang features to a story can detract from the reading experience. (Or, as Manjoo put it, stories like the much-talked-about "Snow Fall" and the less popular "The Jockey" feature "a whole lot of bells [and] way too many whistles.)
StoryDesk should keep that in mind, too. Being able to easily navigate a presentation and interact with it like it's an app instead of a sales catalog or PowerPoint presentation can quickly become too much to handle if the salesperson focuses too much on what they can do with the service instead of what they should do with it.
Call it the Goldilocks problem of iPad-focused design: Too little customization and interactivity can make people yearn for something new and exciting. Too much can distract from the intended goal. For presentations, as with the news, the ideal solution lies somewhere in the middle.
[Image credit: Hallie Bateman]