Summit is a student project from our 6th semester of studying Interaction Design at HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd. It was created over the period of five months from October 2018 to February 2019. However, the idea for the project originated earlier that year, when we went to a Sketch MeetUp in Munich. While we watched some great presentations there, we also spotted a lot of opportunities for improving the course of a presentation, or a demonstration in particular—making it seamless and more reliable. We came up with the idea of creating a presentation not by putting together single slides, but by dropping any kind of document onto a timeline, from an image, a design-document or a Keynote-presentation itself.
Obviously this is quite far from where we ended up. For once the idea sounded way better in theory then it was in practise, because quick changes in the presentation would become quite a pain. But more importantly, we realised that we would have to start a lot earlier in the process of creating a presentation.
An analysis of presentations and their design
Everyone knows what it is like to present. However, it differs from person to person and industry to industry how they plan and execute presentations. We spoke to people rooted in the creative field as well as in education and from an automotive and technical background.
One thing all interviewees independently agreed upon was that they deeply disliked those classic bullet-point heavy, monotonous PowerPoint Presentations. Instead, they wanted to see something original—visually, but also in the styles of the speakers.
So we changed our goals
And we mostly replaced our idea of creating a tool that enables people to create a visually seamless presentation with the idea of enabling people to give presentations that provide the attendees with a great overall experience.
Why outline a presentation?
When explaining our project to others, we heard quite a bit of "It’s good for learners or children". We oppose that opinion, because we firmly believe that outlining a presentation is beneficial in most contexts. While a mere slide-tool might do the deal for small, spontaneous update-presentations, every bigger talk needs preparation. People invest part of their lifetime into listening to a presenter, so that speaker should care about providing a worthwhile experience for them.
Three things we are still missing
Design Tool Integration
Smooth integration of external design tools would leave non-designers with a clean interface, but would also provide a full design feature set for the professionals. Lots of designers already design their slides in Sketch, XD or Figma, embracing the power of these tools by integrating their functions in Summit, would make many designers even happier.
Add very basic transitions like "Fade" and Keynote’s "Magic Move" provide experimental freedom for more unique slide-design. However, in this case less choice is better.
Data and Graphs
Especially in the marketing and business field, improving the integration of statistics and graphs could be a real relief for the users. We probably could have spent our whole time just designing a tool for that, but something that uses an Excel sheet (or another data set) as an input and offers a clean graph as an output, would probably be enough to satisfy basic user needs.
from @KaiWanschura and @JohannaWellnitz, April 2019
We’re always happy to hear about your thoughts.