Popboardz Takes the Snores Out of Presentations
Sep 9, 2013 5:00 AM PT
PopBoardz by Moonbeach is available in the iTunes App Store for free, with in-app purchases for exports.
A great presentation is usually linear, with a beginning, a middle, and an end -- but not always. Enter PopBoardz, an iPad-based presentation and project collaboration app. PopBoardz is designed more for ways to express projects than presentations, to share what's of most relevant interest in the room -- not a Keynote or PowerPoint slide that's simply the next item in a long line of slides.
PopBoardz lets you import elements like .pdfs, Web pages, photos, and videos onto a board-like grid of tiles. Tap an item on the grid, and it launches full-screen. Pinch to make it shrink back into place -- and so on and so forth.
To create a board, all you have to do is tap on an open tile on your grid, which causes it to jiggle next to an Add Content popup window. You can import files from Dropbox or Box, use URLs from websites to cause them to launch, as well as import photos from your Camera Roll. You can also type in (or paste) basic text.
Each board gives you 16 slots for content, and to create a board you don't have to use all the tile spots. Plus, you can move the tiles around to group them in a logical order or simply spread them around in some visually pleasing way.
Project Organization and Nimble Presentations
Most projects I've worked on in the business world require some sort of collaboration -- or at the very least, a report or presentation of some sort, either to a handful of people or a large group. PopBoardz lets you collect key points and deep information right next to each other, which also lets you decide what -- and how -- to present. For instance, if your audience doesn't want to see a video, show a series of photos instead. Need to see more detail? Launch a .pdf.
To share a board, you have several options. First, you can export it into a PopBoardz .pbz file that is editable, read-only, or read-only with a key code. This is great for sending to team members or getting their creative assistance.
You can also present to a larger screen by connecting your iPad to an Apple TV hooked up to an HDTV, or by using an HDMI or VGA adapter. In these situations, the audience will see what's on your iPad's screen.
Limitations and Pricing
PopBoardz works great -- it's snappy and fun, and if you can wrap your head around groups of items for using with presentations and projects, you'll like PopBoardz. As you become more adept, though, you'll quickly desire additional features to support importing and the types of files that you can share. For instance, it would be nice to be able to import a Numbers spreadsheet or a Pages document. Right now, the only way to do that is to turn those files into a .pdf. Why?
I imagine this helps with .pbz document portability -- if everything is basic text, a movie, photo, or .pdf, it can be packaged nicely and run on someone else's iPad, even if they don't have Numbers or Pages as apps. Still, sometimes you just want to use any file type you want.
If you pair PopBoardz with an ability to create informational images -- kind of like Keynote or PowerPoint slides -- you can really rock your presentation old-school. In fact, if you wanted to utilize portions of old PowerPoint presentations, you could do it by creating a series of screenshots. Depending on what you want to do, PopBoardz could be super fast or painfully slow. Either way, though, the output will likely be cool.
As for pricing, PopBoardz is currently free in the app store after Apple highlighted it, but it comes with a sort of gotcha for power users. If you want to export your boards as .pbz files, you have to pay for it through in-app purchases. A pack of three exports is 99 US cents; 20 is $4.99, and unlimited is $24.99. The method is mildly annoying, but totally reasonable, especially when you consider that you can use PopBoardz to present via an HDTV without needing to buy anything.
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