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rvl.io is an amazingly small presentation solution

I stumbled across rvl.io, a new approach to online presentations, based on a very simple and lightweight approach. It doesn’t follow the complex and nausea-inducing Prezi approach, but is much more related to the sort of presentations web developers have made for years with static HTML pages. It also reminds me of CheckThis, because of its small and simple feel.

Users are provided profiles based on presentations they have created there. Here’s mine:

The app is fundamentally social, integrating Disqus comments in a Slideshare-style player.

The navigation is handled by clicking the blue compass points, and the icons to the lower left control full screen and jumping down to the comments.

Note that the Navigator allows for either purely linear slideshows, or moving vertically, about which more later.

Slide editing is intended for making very simple slides: text, maybe an image or two, bulleted lists. The sophistication of Powerpoint is absent, There are no complex builds, shapes or lines, and no background images. There is no provision for presenter’s notes.

Here’s the editor UI on the title slide of my Work Media 2012 preso:

There is provision for different sorts of slide transitions and a smart collection of various slide ‘themes’, which are all unhelpfully labeled as ‘reveal.js’:

Below the hood, the slides and the player are basically javascript, CSS, and HTML. Escaping into HTML slide editing can allow those proficient to hack the presentation, and at the present time that seems to be the only way to change font size away from the defaults, for example:

rvl.io provides a large canvas area, taking one page from the Prezi playbook, but it isn’t an infinite canvas navigated by path definitions and zooming. rvl.io provides the capability of adding slides   on any side of an existing slide, as shown in the preview mode here:

The premise of rvl.io is that a user can publish presentations and later present them online, using the full screen mode in a browser. Presentations default to being private — meaning only accessible to the author — but can be made public, which is where the social dimension comes in. But presentations can be exported for offline viewing, or for embedding in web pages. The rigmarole involved would be intimidating to any but the initiated, since it involves editing HTML manually, although I was able to follow the instructions and successfully play my slide show offline in a few minutes.

The Bottom Line

I am in the camp that thinks a great deal of the machinery of Powerpoint and Keynote is overkill, especially for everyday purposes, like creating a hour-long presentation on technical issues, or showing a bunch of product or web site mockups. I can see the utility of a utility to build web page style presentations  and I certainly see the usefulness of the ability to publish and share them online at rvl.io.

However, I’d like a bit more polish for my own purposes. For example, my presentations generally have images in the background, and my titles are both text and a rectangle filled with a color and then made semi transparent. Perhaps I can achieve that result with some more sophisticated tweaking of the HTML or CSS in rvl.io.

I will keep you updated as rvl.io gains in capability.