As this magical thing called the internet has connected us all, the world has become much smaller. Even though we are all seemingly more connected it often results in a disconnect between us. One of the ways this impacts us as designers, at Hashrocket, is we are rarely in the same physical room with our clients to talk about our work. Since we are big on presenting our work directly to our stakeholders this can present some challenges. So we built Compton to better represent our work and now we're looking for some beta users.
We believe it’s important to do presentations because a lot of thought and care went into each decision. We want our clients to not only understand the thought process that went into it’s creation but be a part of the dialog throughout it’s evolution. We have found that doing a formal presentation always helps us arrive at a solution much faster and yields better results overall. So the question is… how do you do this when your clients are in another region or country?
To overcome these issues we use tools like Basecamp, Invisi/on, Flinto, Slack, email, and Google Hangouts to name a handful. These are all great tools but we haven’t been able to solve some of the issues we have had with doing remote presentations. So we decided to build our own solution, a lightweight presentation tool that helps us to show our work at it’s best. To do this we had to start where everyone does… at the beginning. What are our goals and how do we define success? Here is a list of some of our initial goals for the application and solutions.
We want a presentation tool, not a collaboration tool.
There are already a lot of great choices for collaboration software. Invision and Basecamp are great at this. They allow for asynchronous feedback. It’s a conversation. This is great once we get past a certain point but in the beginning it’s more important to establish some rapport and kick off that conversation on a good note. Too often we see clients bypass that eloquent explanation we wrote and go straight for the link to the images or PDF. We want the opportunity to communicate about our work, so our client can understand and appreciate the care that went into it.
We want our work shown at its best.
Client: “Why do the fonts look weird? Things look pixelated.”
Designer: “Well the browser is scaling the image down to fit in your browser. Use the magnifying glass to zoom in."
We don’t want these kinds of conversations to happen. You, the designer, choose the best way to display your work and the software should get out of the way. Upload your slides at the size you want them to be viewed.
We want to control what the client sees and when they see it.
Ever have a client looking at page 3 of your document when you are still on page 1? It’s understandable. They are probably just excited to see your new work. It just makes it hard to present to someone who is off looking at something shiny. We want them to be on the same page. There is a flow to a presentation and we want to control it.
We want to be able to call attention to items of interest.
Since there may be a lot to look at, it would be helpful to be able to highlight an area of interest or discussion. We don’t want to clutter up your design with little icons. How about the ability to highlight an area with a selection tool and remove when you are ready to move on?
We don’t want to forget to explain certain details.
We have been in the habit of making notes for ourselves before the presentation begins. Depending on how much you have to cover, it could be easy to forget something. It would be great to have notes associated with each slide in your presentation.
We don’t want our viewers to need a username and password.
We all have too many passwords already. Let’s lower the bar for our viewers and not require them to register. Just invite them to the presentation and you will be notified when they arrive. Start the presentation whenever you are ready.
After some really fun work and experimentation we have built the beta version of our dream presentation tool. We call it Compton. You know… because you present… comps. It has already helped us internally create and share better presentations. We hope it will help you too. We are asking for the help of some beta testers to give it a try. Tell us how you like it and where it could be improved. We already have some additional features in the works but your voice would be valuable.