Tuesday August 16, 2016
For many coaches, creating visual content like slide presentations and infographics is a daunting proposition.
To do it well takes time - and, depending on the complexity of your task, graphic design skills and software that some people don't have.
Or so I thought.
I was recently invited to test and review a site called Visme, which enables any person of any skill level to quickly and easily create slide presentations, infographics, and more.
I tested the system, and this is what I experienced:
The first thing Visme asked me to do was choose what kind of project I wanted to create, with the options being Presentation, Infographic, Banner, and Blank.
This means the dimensions are already pre-set, so you don't have to figure out for yourself what size to make it.
There's a variety of templates available, and a number of themes to choose from for the presentations. I decided to make a presentation to test the software and see how it works.
As it turns out, it was practically a one-stop shop.
The text editor was easy to use. I could choose the font family, size, color and alignment, and drag and drop the text wherever I wanted.
The default text size was definitely too small, and the default color is a dim grey that doesn't really stand out against anything, but that can be easily fixed with just a few clicks. I mentioned this to them, and it sounds like they're going to switch to a larger, white font.
Once you've got a text size, font and color that you like, you can easily copy that block of text, so you have a new text block with the same specifications to write in. That way, you don't have to adjust all the settings with each new text block.
One handy feature I particularly like is the text widgets, or images you can put text onto. This is a handy way to add visual variety and a professional feel to your slides.
It took a bit of fiddling with this feature to get it to look right, because the image doesn't automatically increase in size to match the text. When I increased the size of the text, it got larger than the image, and I had to increase the image size separately and then drag the text back onto it.
I thought this feature would be easier to use if the text was locked onto the image, and the image grew automatically to accommodate the text. But when I mentioned this to Visme, they said the majority of their users requested the ability to edit the text and image separately. It sounds like they're going with what most of their users desire, which is a stance I can certainly agree with.
After creating the introductory slide, I tried using the "services" slide template. This template had much a better text/background color contrast for the existing text, though any new next blocks that I added still used the small default font size.
The slide template had some default images, which could be replaced with pictures and icons from Visme's image library. This library is an incredibly handy feature for anyone who isn't an artist, or who doesn't want to spend a lot of time or money seeking images from existing free sites or online photo shops.
Another feature I really like is that you can duplicate slides, which is very handy if you want to create a list that grows from slide to slide.
For example, if you have a list of your services or of the steps your clients need to take, and you want to add one service or step to the list in each new slide, while keeping the ones you already listed visible, you can duplicate the slide with the first step on it, add the second step or service to the duplicate slide, then duplicate the second slide to create the slide for the third step or service.
Visme provides lots of great templates for your slides, including timelines, flowcharts, icon diagrams, pie charts, triangle graphs, and maps. So whether you're creating a full presentation, or just a single chart, graph or map, this can save you a lot of time or money that you might otherwise have spent on graphic design.
Turning the slides into a video:
You can set the duration of each slide, and choose what kind of transition it uses to go to the next one, so you don't need to move the individual slides into a separate video editing program in order to turn them into a video.
If you're creating a video presentation with audio, you can add an existing audio from their audio library, record your own audio directly into Visme, or upload an audio that you'd previously recorded into your computer.
I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of these audio features; I'd thought I would only be able to edit the visuals, and would have to add the audio in a separate program, so I was very pleased to discover that Visme has that capability.
Like I said before, despite a few relatively minor flaws, this program is pretty much a one-stop shop.
Exporting your finished product
When it comes to actually bringing your finished product from Visme to your website, you have a few options. Visme provides a code to embed the presentation or infographic directly into your site, so if you have an "embed code" option, it's a simple matter of copying and pasting the code they provide.
If you want to keep the item you created in your computer, you can download it as a JPG image file, as a PDF, or if you want to preserve the animations, as an HTML 5 file.
Admittedly, the "HTML 5" publish option was a bit confusing to me; I'm still not clear on how to use it once I have it. The help page told me how to obtain the file, but not how to use it once I have it, which is another area they could stand to improve, but not one that would prevent you from using your newly created file.
All in all, while it's still in beta and could use a few minor tweaks, Visme is well worth checking out for anyone who wants to use images, videos or other visual content to attract more clients.
They're also open and responsive to feedback, so if you get in early, this is your chance to help them design a product that's customized to your needs.
I hope you found this review helpful, and that Visme saves you time in creating your next piece of visual content!