Software and its features
I used HelloSlide to prepare my digital media presentation for Learning Task 2. This software creates a presentation using a previously created presentation – in PowerPoint – and adds audio functionality using a written script provided by the user. It is a free software and provides free web hosting; however, not all functionalities are provided in a free version. For example, creating a presentation with audio in another language is available to paid users (Pro users) only. Also, sharing the presentation privately with other people is available to Pro users only.
HelloSlide is quite easy to use and it requires basic computer typing and internet browsing skills; hence, it is a great software for novices who would like to create a digital presentation on the web. However, it requires skills in creating a Powerpoint presentation and converting that presentation into a PDF file which is used by the software to create a web presentation. Thus, HelloSlide can only work with PDF files. Moreover, since the software relies only on a PDF file to create an online presentation, it does not provide any slide templates to the user. Any template selection is done in the PowerPoint presentation.
The software also has FAQs on its website which answers most of the questions for new users like steps in creating a presentation, maximum file sizes, steps in converting a Powerpoint presentation into a PDF file, etc. There is also a support phone line and email address to ask questions and provide feedback to the creators of HelloSlide.
HelloSlide also provides the flexibility of changing the header and description of the presentation. It does not have a separate application for mobile devices but any mobile device with an internet connection can access this software. When a presentation is created in HelloSlide, it provides user with a URL link to the presentation and an HTML string which can be used to embed the presentation on the website. It also allows the user to tweet the link of the presentation and allows the user to log into Facebook account to post the link. Fortunately, the software does not put any ads or any pop up menu items when it is accessed over the web.
After working with HelloSlide, I think it is a great tool for any learner who can create a PowerPoint presentation and wants to host and share the presentation on the web. Therefore, HelloSlide provides learners with a web hosting platform for a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over audio functionality.
Benefits of HelloSlide
One of the features of HelloSlide which is helpful when building a presentation is its ability to add voice to the presentation and play the presentation with audio. The slide transition with audio is just like a presentation conducted with a live voice of a presenter. Adding audio into the presentation is an easy task; it is done with a click to audio settings and typing few sentences below each slide.
Another benefit of HelloSlide which beats the competition is its ability to run a presentation in 20 different languages. Although this feature is only available to paid users, with a reasonable subscription, this feature is beneficial to non-English speaking learners or learners who are beginning to learn English language.
Drawbacks of HelloSlide
One of the drawbacks of HelloSlide is its incompatibility with other types of files. HelloSlide works with only a PDF file and converts it into a web presentation. Hence, the software is not flexible to support other file formats.
It is also inconvenient for the user to modify a certain slide in the presentation. When a modification is required, it cannot be done directly in HelloSlide. It is done in the PowerPoint presentation and then converted into a PDF file to be used by HelloSlide.
Lastly, I wish there was a way to display any slide for certain amount of time when running the presentation on the web. If a certain slide does not have a written script for voice-over audio, HelloSlide displays it for only 1 second! So the transition of a slide show depends on the script.
I had a wonderful experience preparing my digital media presentation using HelloSlide and never experienced a frustrating moment! After taking into consideration its benefits and drawbacks, I would give an overall grade of A- to HelloSlide. One of the aspects which stood out the most is its easy use. The disappointing aspect is its inability to allow modification within HelloSlide since any modification to the presentation is done at the Powerpoint level. And when the modified presentation is uploaded again into HelloSlide, it is uploaded as a new presentation. So, in order to have your original voice-over script for audio, the user has to copy the script from the previous presentation. I found this to be bit inconvenient.