With Prezi’s new identity the major change to the user interface is the departure of the good old Zebra tool. While this cute widget that we loved very dearly served our user’s needs for years, we had to come up with a more familiar, scalable, and integrated interaction concept. It wasn’t an easy goodbye, but let us introduce you to Prezi’s new transformation tool.
The Zebra was a key contributor to Prezi’s personality almost since Prezi first came into existence. It was a unique tool that incorporated object manipulation features (rotation, scaling, resizing, etc.), and extended functions (like deleting, grouping) all in one central place. The down side to this was that all this functionality came with a growing price, namely:
- users had to go through a larger learning curve to get accustomed to a key part of the Prezi experience
- the tool covered a large portion of selected objects
- after a while the tool got overcrowded without too many extension possibilities
- other options (like style) became very detached from the objects
Evolution of the Transformation Tool
We knew we needed the change, and we knew that finding a perfect tool for the zooming environment with an infinite canvas was a big and exciting challenge. We wanted to cover all of the issues above, so we defined the design directions of the new transformation tool as follows:
- easy to learn
- integrated as part of Prezi’s new identity
- something that didn’t obstruct objects
So we came up with a solution what is basically a combination of our old zebra and the transformation tools used by a lot of other software, a bounding box around the object with re-sizers in the corners. This approach makes perfectly scaling your object easy. It also gave us somewhere to place the rotation tool, so we were able to simplify the Zebra into the three basic buttons that we most wanted to promote.
These are the scale buttons, because we believe, that in a good prezi you have to emphasize your content. And the drag button, which makes it easy to arrange your content. The creative minds of the prezi office nicknamed this black block the “Monolith”.
The context menu on the top gives us a lot of options to place new features for objects in the future.
The Zebra hasn’t totally disappeared. It’s still the essence of our logo, the icon on our desktops, and it still appears every time a prezi loads, but its days as a part of our user interface are over.
We really hope, you gonna love the new design. We know we do.