Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slide sharing is hard

As the result of the previous post, I have discovered that sharing presentations is hard and inconvenient. Perhaps this is just for Keynote presentations. When I was trying to share those slides, I wanted to:

  1. include my presenter's notes, since the slides need context.
  2. display animations, since I wasted a lot of time trying to make sure that the correct things animated during transitions in Keynote. I think animations do well at highlighting changes between slides, and in this particular case, I think it helps me illustrate control flow and concurrency better.

As it turns out, only one of these is easy to do.

An incomplete survey of Keynote slide sharing options:
  • Export to PDF: The easiest way to distribute slides is obviously to export them to PDF, since almost everyone can view PDFs. Keynote can even export slides with presenter's notes, which is what I did. I should have just stopped here, but PDFs don't have animations or slide transitions.
  • Exporting to HTML: This seems to allow transitions to display, at least theoretically, in Safari (as it turns out, it didn't seem to work for me). But Keynote does not export presenter's notes along with the slides - so I wrote a gross hack to extract the presenter notes and stick them into the exported HTML sldies.
  • Exporting as Quicktime Movie: Again, this fails to export presenter notes. Perhaps I can hack something together with presenter notes in the subtitles, but generally I don't like watching slides or how-tos in video - I'd much rather read text.
  • Uploading to SlideShare, which accepts slides in various formats. It will also display a transcript of the slides for accessibility, and extract speaker notes and display those next to the slides. I also liked that it lets you embed your presentation, rather than just provide a link to a presentation file. Several problems though:
    • Supposedly SlideShare supports Keynote '09 now, but technical problems seem to have caused them to retract said support. So I had to export to some other format anyway.
    • Exporting to PPT format and then uploading to SlideShare results in no presenter notes. I'm not sure if this is because Keynote fails to export presenter notes to PPT format or that SlideShare cannot pull presenter notes out of PPT.
    • Uploading the exported PDF slides with presenter notes caused the accessibility transcript to contain both the text in my slides and text in my presenter notes, mashed together.
  • Uploading to Speaker Deck, which is similar to slideshare in that it lets you embed your slides somewhere (like a blog). It only accepts PDFs and has no accessibility transcripts or slide nodes. It has a nice clean interface. I ultimately went with uploading my exported PDF (with presenter notes) to SpeakerDeck, since it was functionally the same as uploading my slides to SlideShare anyway, except the UI was nicer and it lacks a confusing transcript extract.

If anyone has a better solution to suggest, please let me know.


Unknown said...

Hey Cyli, thanks for sharing the solution for the slide sharing problem.

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