The UX of Slideshare

By | April 29, 2008

Slideshare is a service that has been around for a while. I haven’t really used it much, but I had been asked to publish the Stanford presentation there, so I gave it a fresh look.

First the positives. This is a useful service. It makes sense to share presentations and to convert them to flash automatically. It is a good business with relatively low overhead. I like the model very much. They make their money on advertising and use the text of the presentation to target the ads. It’s simple and straight forward.

Now the negatives. The UI is way too busy. There are buttons and navigation and ads all over the place. I have no idea where to look. Some work on the contrasting (making certain parts darker or lighter) would help the information architecture tremendously. I think the ads needs a little more separation so I know what is content and what is ad. Maybe that is not what they want for their ad revenue, but the user would appreciate it.

Embedding the presentation here on the blog is pretty easy. They had a “wordpress.com” embed option, but I wasn’t sure what that did. I wish it had a little tooltip or something. I use WordPress, but not wordpress.com.

Lastly, and most importantly. I don’t see the “notes” in the presentation. My presentations do NOT have a ton of text on them. They have pictures and some giant text bullets. This is the best practice for presentations. However, the one I uploaded loses 90% of it’s effectiveness without the speaker (me) to explain what we are looking at. The notes would have been helpful, but still, how effective can any presentation be without the speaker? If the answer is “very” then I submit that the presentation is too detailed and the speaker is not adding any value.

Anyway, overall, I think it’s an interesting and useful service, but I think it lacks some IA work and the ability to annotate each slide with author notes. Here is the embed below.

UPDATE: Just a minor one. I was browsing some of the other design presentations.  Interesting quotes and some fun slides.  I probably could guess what the author said on that slide, so I got some value.  However, its just not the same as being there.

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