Focusky….shifting focus from PowerPoint and Prezi

Name: Focusky
Cost: Free (pay versions available)
Type: Download software (PC and MAC)
Rating: 3/5

Focusky logoI didn’t want to like Focusky, as it seemed to be just another version of PowerPoint and Prezi, which reminded me of the Emaze fail when I put a lot of work into a presentation that I had to remove from my classroom because students couldn’t get it to work right. Focusky, what could you possibly offer? Animations. Not like Disney or Dreamworks animations, though. I had thought that I’d be doing some cool animations with talking characters and the like, but no. Focusky animations are what I call transitions, where text and graphics can be timed to enter the screen at different times and different methods (e.g., slide down from the top). If you’re a PowerPoint guru, you’re probably saying, “Hey, PowerPoint can do all that.” Yep. But, PowerPoint doesn’t have the “dip and roll” transition; in other words, as you move to the next slide, the presentation zooms out and then pans over to the next slide to zoom in on the content. If you’re a Prezi guru, you’re probably saying, “Hey, Prezi can do that.” Yep. Focusky effectively merges many interesting qualities of PowerPoint and Prezi in order to create a more dynamic presentation.

Goal: Find another (free) option for presentations other than PowerPoint and Prezi

Focusky workspace view 1

Here’s where you can choose a template, though you can start with a blank version or upload a PowerPoint

Benefits:

  • There is a help document and tutorial videos
  • There are several free templates to choose from; they seem unique, as compared to what’s available for Prezi or Emaze, though limited for the free version
  • The workspace looks much like Prezi, so if you’re familiar with Prezi, then the same principles can be applied to Focusky, except that Focusky has an animation tool in its workspace
  • Once saved to the public cloud for sharing, a transcript is automatically created.

Drawbacks:

  • As you can see in the pricing comparison, there aren’t many option for the free version.
  • Although software is downloaded, templates are online…so you need an Internet connection to get started; it takes a minute or so to download the template and the fonts.
  • The thumbnail for the template is small, and once it’s loaded, I can’t find a button to change the template so I just start a new project to get back to the choose a template page
  • Making modifications to the template’s text can through off the other slides in the presentation, as the slides are all in the same general area of the workspace. So if I add a paragraph of text, it may overlap on to the next slide. (It took some maneuvering and editing text to get the look right.)
  • Editing the text in the template is temperamental…clicking, double-clicking, voicing commands, glaring at the computer screen, clicking again, all don’t yield a response sometimes.
  • The presentation “play” screen doesn’t always respond as expected. You have to click the Play button, and then click another semi-hidden play button to see the presentation as a video. The arrow graphics don’t always move the presentation ahead. I used the arrows on my keyboard, which were mostly effective.

Focusky workspace view 2

Although difficult to see all the details, this is what you’ll see when working with a template. (Much like Prezi)

Insider View: Like I’ve said in previous posts, it’s much easier to create presentations when you draft the text in Word or PowerPoint first. This way you can focus on figuring out the tool rather than trying to think up what you want to say. Since some of the textboxes on the template can’t be resized, be prepared to edit content to reduce the font size for longer passages. Also, you can change the transition speed for each slide/graphic by clicking the Options button at the top of the workspace; select Exhibition Setting, and then Custom next to the Default path duration option.

Final Thoughts: Not my favorite presentation tool due to the quirkiness of editing text in the template. The “animations” just means that text and graphics can “fly” on to the screen, wiggle, or bounce. Otherwise, it’s like Prezi. (You can add audio, but I wasn’t brave enough this time around to try that since that’s where my Emaze presentation went wrong.)

Link: http://focusky.com/

Samples:

This is my only sample (so far). It took maybe two hours to create, though the text was primarily written prior to starting with Focusky.

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