So if you haven’t heard yet Microsoft are just starting to reveal their new piece of software nicely named SWAY. But what is a Sway? Is it a presentation? An interactive microsite? An easy way to blog? Well to be honest even after using it I’m still not sure myself, but here is a sway I created and my thoughts on it so far.
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My thoughts on Sway
Now before I start I have to say that Sway is still in the development stage and is by no means the finished article at the moment. It would be really easy to go and use it, and tear it to pieces easily because of the current lack of features and so on. That would be to easy, and Microsoft have been really open about asking users for feedback so that they can fine tune the product. Good on them for doing so. You can request features by just asking them on twitter here https://twitter.com/sway My point of view is coming from me being a presenter and wanting to find new ways to share ideas and stories with my audience. And I’m focusing on what Sway actually is, or could be rather than having a moan at the fact we can’t customise to much just yet.
Great for ordinary folk
Microsoft Sway is an online tool that you can access using your Windows account details and it will one day be rolled out as part of the Office suite. That’s great news for millions of business users.
When I first logged into Sway I was really taken back by just how easy it is to get going. I’m definitely very confident with new tech in general but I think even my grandmother could create a Sway. This is the same reason so many people love PowerPoint I suppose, the ease of use and simple navigation are really great.
You also don’t need to be a designer to create a nice looking Sway because the software takes care of a lot of the formatting for you. Now thats great for ordinary folk, but us designer types don’t like being told how to design. It definitely felt very limiting for me and I wanted to do so much more with the layout and styles of text but just couldn’t.
This might change in the future I guess, and it is of course sensible for Microsoft to target the vast majority of users who won’t have a design degree.
Sway creation is very easy
One of the USP’s for Sway is the fact that you can bring in content from literally anywhere. I was able to search through my Facebook photos (not suitable for the presentation!), Twitter feeds, OneDrive, YouTube, and of course grab content from my laptop itself.
These were all accessed through a very simple menu system and it was very easy to use the search facility within each of these options. I loved this part of sway but again the designer inside me was crying out to customise a little more and lay things out in a format that I wanted to tweak myself.
The fact you can grab so many different pieces of content is definitely very refreshing. It’ll be so nice to see tweets and facebook posts inside presentations……if sway is for presentations!
I’m still not sure what a Sway is!
I use tools like Prezi to stand up in front of a live audience and tell stories. Most people call them business presentations but its a good story that engages and becomes memorable. After using Sway for a few hours I’m still not sure if I could use it to present with in the usual way!
At the moment it seems to be a strange mix of a slide based content gathering tool that you could use for sharing ideas online, on any device, and as I mentioned above with real ease. But I can’t see how a presenter could use it right now.
Maybe though I’m wanting it to be something based on what I have always used in the past. maybe Sway is something brand new that we all need to get our heads around first before we try to pigeon hole it into a category.
The Sway intro video below is a really nice clip that makes you want to go and use the product. I wasn’t able to make my Sway look as nice as the one featured in the video but I’m sure as the product evolves we’ll see more and more features that allow for some beautiful Sway presentations.
Watch this space!