Haiku Deck Review

Haiku Deck Review

Don’t get rid of keynote just yet…

There has been a growing trend among iOS apps to try and adopt the Apple ethos when it comes to design. This has seen more and more developers greatly simplifying their interfaces, and presenting cleaner, sleeker apps to users in the hope that they look native and ‘just work’, as the Steve Jobs mantra goes.

Haiku Deck is following this trend by trying to bring simple presentation creation to your iPad, something desirable given that many market dominators when it comes to presentations, were not originally designed for mobile devices and some of them haven’t translated all that well to tablets. Haiku Deck has been developed solely for the iPad, and as a result can rely on a better-looking and more intuitive interface. But the real question is whether the app has the substance to back up its shiny packaging and actually become a genuine alternative to the the inductry leaders, like Powerpoint and Keynote in particular.

As you interact with the app for the first time, instant impressions would suggest that this is definitely a possibility. There are two short introductory presentations to look through, and the imagery and text highlight the clean yet engaging nature of the projects you can create. These revolve around sharp, bold headlines and hip, high-quality images. This is Haiku Deck’s calling card, although it’s more than understandable if you feel sceptical at this point. While the tutorial presentation looks great you may fear that your waste managent speech will fail to capture the same cool factor even when filtered through this app. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, seeing as Haiku Deck comes with free and instant access to millions of photos from the Creative Commons licence, mainly sourced from Flickr. This suddenly gives users a whole new realm of options when it comes to imagery.

When it comes to actually putting your projects together, Haiku Deck breaks the process down into three core steps; apply text, source an image and arrange the layout for each slide. This allows you to get into a sequence very quickly, and such a simple creation process can only have a good effect on productivity. At any point during your project you can alter the theme of your presentation, this revolves around the font used in your slides; and while the drop-menu looks exciting, this is a pretty minimal feature of the app upon execution. In fact, it is as you start to put your project together that the initial excitement of using Haiku Deck begins to wear away. It soon becomes clear that this app has limits, and they are surprisingly easy to see for an app that promises so much on first impressions.

As you enter your text you will notice that your actual options when it comes to words are pretty limited. There is a headline bar and a similar one for a sub-heading, but no way to add additional text should you wish to include a flash or annotation on your page; something that is probably likely if you plan to use this app within the workplace – to annotate or explain a diagram for example. This is a gripe that becomes more of an issue when you move to the template portion of the slide editing process, and find that there are 14 ways in which you can display text on screen, but no way to then adjust this further yourself, or indeed even change the colour of your text. Suddenly everything feels a little one-dimensional, and it’s not hard to envisage your colleagues finding your presentations predictable once you’ve used this app a few times in meetings. Yes, there is an initial sparkle, but it disappears frustratingly quickly. Annoying, for an app that promises so much from its interface.

The inclusion of the image bank alongside the ability to upload your own photos is a positive, but Haiku Deck has too many stumbling blocks to really challenge the likes of Keynote. Exporting your projects is not exactly a smooth process either, and somewhere we would love to see some AirPlay functionality; instead we see email exporting to a desktop with access to a projector. You can’t help but feel that the full potential of Haiku Deck has yet to be tapped into or fully realised.

Rated 3 out of 5

On the surface it’s brilliant, but Haiku Deck is lacking the real substance needed to be a Keynote-killer.