Tadaaa! It's finally here!
After months of hard work, we're very glad and excited to unveil a brand new Prezi. We hope you're gonna enjoy it as much as we do. We've done our best to give Prezi the design quality it deserves and with this post we'd like to share some of the ideas that drove us. Changing a whole brand identity and design is not an easy task; indeed it's quite a risky and challenging process but here's why we felt it was the right time for Prezi to change.
Beyond the usual and very subjective cleavage between "nice design" and "not-so-nice design" we started with a more accurate question: does our design reflect our company? does it fit who we are today?… This is a much more interesting point to start with as I believe there's no "intrinsically good" or "intrinsically bad" design — it depends on the context and the intended purpose. There's design that is appropriate and design that is not (or no longer) in a specific situation with a specific intent. We believe the latter was exactly the case for Prezi; our design didn't reflect what Prezi has successfully become.
Prezi has grown up
Back in 2009, Prezi was a young start-up with only a few users, hackers, early adopters that were curious and brave enough to try a brand new tool with an experimental and unconventional design and interface. It did fit. The bubble menu, the famous zebra covering your content (the big rounded interface element used to drag/scale/rotate), the funny website, etc. All of this was OK, it was inline with this experimental context where Prezi came from.
Image used during a presentation to the company, pitching for the brand redesign :)
But truth is that, since the very beginning, Prezi had a bigger dream and its ambition was clearly to grow beyond a restricted community of innovation-enthusiasts and reach many, many more people. And indeed today, 3 intense years later, we've just moved past 15M users and we're growing at rate of 1M+ users every month. We're immensely proud and grateful to see such tremendous momentum for Prezi.
But we also know that such a massive change (and we believe that this is just the beginning) also comes with a lot of exciting challenges. One of these — coming back to my previous point about appropriate design — is how to design Prezi for a much wider and different range of people. We're set to change how people share ideas on this planet so we want Prezi to be used more often, in more diverse situations, basically we want Prezi to be used by people beyond a small group of enthusiastic aficionados. The more people use Prezi, the more our initial dream is becoming true.
This induces a new context where we have to make Prezi easier to access, pleasant and more efficient to use but also, at the same time, scale and support more needed features — in a word: more professional.
Experimental interfaces can be interesting but too demanding; most people don't care about interfaces, they just want to get things done. For instance, as much as we were attached to our old beloved bubble menu we chose to get rid of it because it wasn't scalable enough to support more features. Even more importantly it was alien to most of the people we want to use Prezi now. Beyond a small group of aficionados, people usually don't want to spend time learning how to use software and really, they shouldn't — there are so many more interesting things to do or think about.
A standardized UI for a truly non standard-product
So yes, we're definitely taking a step towards a more "standard" design, and yes this probably means that you'll have to say goodbye to our famous bubble menu and some other iconic UI elements of the previous Prezi. But I believe there's nothing to be sad about (in case you were) because honestly the true value of Prezi is elsewhere. We didn't give up, we didn't become conventional, we left our old skin behind — that's it. Prezi is intrinsically a non-standard approach to presentations We're blowing away the limits of slides, allowing your ideas to flow and connect in an infinite zoomable canvas, blurring the boundaries between brainstorming, working together and presenting, etc.
Prezi is improving how we build, organize, present and share ideas together. This will never change and this is the true value of prezi, not the bubble menu.
We believe that the utmost purpose of all our design work is to help as many people as possible to take advantage of the huge potential of Prezi whenever they have an idea to share. When using Prezi you should focus on your ideas or your audience, but not on our interface. I sincerely believe that by moving towards a less noticeable, less distracting user interface, we do serve the core purpose of Prezi.
Content is king
When we started to think about redesigning our brand we started by defining a core set of values that would guide us throughout the way. We came up with 3 words, which in my opinion, really embody our new design philosophy: frank, clean and post-digital. These 3 words imply a clear direction for design and are helpful to understand what we're aiming at.
The new Prezi design is frank. We tried to remove any fuss or ambiguity and make things as clear and straightforward as possible.
The new Prezi design is clean. We strived to make things tidy and uncluttered to let you focus on your ideas, like providing you a nice spacious white desk.
The new Prezi design is post-digital. We don't want to look or speak high-tech. We strive for authenticity — our design choices are not dictated by technology because the most important thing is what people are doing with it.
We've invested tons of passion and care while working on this design in the last months. We sincerely hope you will enjoy using it. We believe that this new design direction, following these principles, will make the true value of Prezi emerge and let more and more people focus on sharing beautiful, meaningful and remarkable ideas.