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Haiku Deck A Simple and Beautiful Presentation App for iPad

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The iPad serves as a great presentation tool, thanks to Keynote or the many apps that play PowerPoint presentations. Neither of those options make creating presentations on the iPad convenient.

Enter Haiku Deck, a simple and beautiful presentation tool for the Apple iPad.

Simplicity, easy importing of creative commons images, and elegant templates that focus on the ideas and not the tool or the text mark this app’s three greatest strengths.

haiku deck

Simplicity

I learned the hard way that using PowerPoint to present ideas to an audience doesn’t make a person a skillful communicator. In the early days my congregation began revolting as I bored them with terrible slides with in-your-face transitions and fonts. The presenter and the message should always sit center stage in any presentation, not the glitzy transitions and cool fonts. In fact, those things hinder good communication most of the time.

Haiku Deck helps reduce the problem of overdone presentations with a very simple interface that presents a couple of lines of text, an image and that’s it. A Haiku Deck presentation, or “deck” as they call them, will never slap the audience in the face with glitz.

haiku deck templates

Open Haiku Deck and it takes the user through a series of tutorial screens. They help the user learn how to use the simple interface. Within a few minutes I started creating a presentation that I plan to use in a class I teach each Wednesday night at my church. It makes organizing main ideas of a “deck” easy and simple.

Easily Use Creative Commons Images

Most of us struggle to find useful images to support our presentations’ ideas. Haiku Deck searches the web for creative commons images. The user can set Haiku Deck to find only images usable for commercial settings.

haiku deck image insert

I type the words on the slide that make the point I’m making. For example, if I’m talking about forgiveness, then I type that into the slide. I hit the image button and it starts finding pictures tagged with the word forgiveness. Maybe I want to hone my search. I can enter other words, like “frown” to find an image of someone who looks sorry. Finally, after finding the image, I can choose one of a number of predefined layouts.

If I want, I can add my own images either via the Camera Roll or the iPad 2 or New iPad camera. Save images from other programs or the web to the Camera Roll and then import them into Haiku Deck using the camera button on the image search screen.

I can also pick just a solid color background If I want to go even simpler.

Elegant Templates

Each layout offers a large font line of text and a smaller font line of text. The various arrangements place the text in different layouts so the presentation creator can keep the text off the main part of the chosen image.

haiku deck templates

Since the presentation shouldn’t upstage the presenter, the included templates fit the style of the app nicely, meaning they’re all very simple. If I want, I can purchase others in the app for $1.99 each or the Theme Pack for $14.99. For now, I’m running with the templates included in the free app (iTunes link). If I keep using Haiku Deck, I’ll get the add-on templates to keep the presentations fresh.

Sharing

Once I finish the “deck” I can then present it over a projector or monitor connected to an Apple TV or via one of Apple’s adapters. I can also share the presentation via email, Twitter or Facebook. The presentation gets exported and sent via a link to one of the services.

haiku deck sharing

To see what a finished product looks like in a web browser, check out a presentation I made for my class at church.

Weakness

The app limits what I can do. It’s not a full-featured presentation tool like Keynote or PowerPoint. There’s no way to use video, which I really like to do in my presentations. Also, I can’t share lists or bullet points, which might make my presentations better most of the time. Sometimes, you need to share lists and I’d like the option to include them. I’d also like to define different colors for solid colored backgrounds.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

10 Comments

  1. Kevin Leneway

    08/15/2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Kevin – I’m one of the founders of Haiku Deck, thanks so much for posting this review. We’re glad you’re enjoying our app, and we’d love to hear how your class responds to this presentation.

    Thanks also for the suggestions, they’re great! Our approach is to launch with a minimal set of features and let our users guide how the product will evolve. We’re a small team (three of us) and we can move pretty fast, so stay tuned for future updates.

    • James Griffith

      08/26/2012 at 9:34 am

      I just downloaded the app. I can’t figure out how to create a presentation.
      Do you have a clear, simple tutorial?

      • Michael

        08/27/2012 at 4:05 am

        Dude, there’s a tutorial in there. I just tried it last night, and it worked really well.

  2. Galileo Rivas

    09/06/2012 at 7:06 am

    This app is a beatiful option for develop original presentations.

  3. James J Griffith

    09/06/2012 at 10:59 am

    9-6-12 Still can’t get started with this app. I’d love to but need a simple turorial. I have wsted too much time using intuitive methods.

  4. Scott Fuhriman

    09/18/2012 at 7:40 am

    REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH THIS APP!!!
    I have been messing with this app for hours now and I can’t figure out how to use my own photos. Am I too stupid to figure this out? When I select the camera button in the select an image screen, it gives me options to choose from Facebook, instagram, Flickr, or picassa…but my own camera roll is not an option.

    • Scott Fuhriman

      09/18/2012 at 8:26 am

      Ok…I just figured it out. You have to turn on location services for this particular app. When you use the app for the first time, when you go to choose one of your own photos, there is a message that says, “Haiku Deck would like to use your current location” if you select “no” then your camera roll will not be available. If you select “yes” then you can use your own photos. Really weird. Hope they fix that in future versions.

  5. Haiku Deck (@HaikuDeck)

    02/28/2013 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Kevin,
    Thank you again for covering Haiku Deck on your blog! We greatly appreciate your feedback and think you’ll love our upcoming new version, launching on March 7th. You’ll be able to add bullet points, charts and much more. We’re still working on a simple and easy way to embed video to your decks but here’s our blog post on two ways to work around it: http://blog.haikudeck.com/?p=1109.

    And readers, if you’re still looking for a Haiku Deck tutorial, here’s our Haiku Deck Tutorial blog post to help you get started.

    Cheers!
    Lisa from Team Haiku Deck

  6. Jeff Brown (@THEjeffbrown)

    02/28/2013 at 6:06 pm

    Kevin,

    I would challenge you on the Weakness section. Experts will tell you that an effective presentation limits itself to one thought or idea per slide. When it comes to lists or bullet points, I would encourage you to separate them out, one list item or bullet point per slide, and simply move through each slide at a more rapid pace.

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