Prezi – the Presentation App that Makes me Nauseous

Prezi Makes me Sick

Currently I am getting over the norovirus that is sweeping the nation. Normally I wouldn’t mention this except it is relevant to my point, which is: I attended a webinar today that literally made me ill. The speaker used an app called Prezi.  Within several minutes of the start of the seminar, I turned white and had to take medicine to keep me from vomiting. Pardon my being so indelicate, but it is important for people who use Prezi to understand that there is a problem with this app if it is used incorrectly. I assume that the fact that I am still ill had some impact on my reaction, but maybe not.

Was it just me?

I actually had no plan to write about Prezi and its impact on my stomach, but when I mentioned on Facebook that an app made me ill, Lisa Solomon immediately responded, was it Prezi? This surprised me, so I looked it up, and sure enough, I am not the only person impacted by Prezi. There are a lot of people commenting on Prezi induced nausea.

Please be aware of the issue of nausea and Prezi

You might think I am suggesting that people halt using Prezi. Not at all. Most Powerpoint presentations are boring and if something can help make things more visually pleasing, especially during a Webinar, I am all for it. As a matter of fact, once I am feeling better I plan on trying Prezi for myself.  Mind you, I won’t use so much swooping and crazy movements, but I definitely can see the potential in its use.   What I want people to understand though is that there are risks involved with using Prezi, and those risks can be minimized with a proper understanding of the issue.

Take steps to protect your audience

I think the problem with the webinar I saw today was that the person who used Prezi didn’t use it very well. The presentation was hard to follow, even if you weren’t predisposed to becoming ill. The presenter used a lot of movement that was confusing, not at all helpful, and frankly was irritating as opposed to interesting. There is no reason to use every single feature included in Prezi, in fact doing so won’t create a good presentation. It will create an annoying one.

The person attending the webinar with me today didn’t become ill, but she quickly became annoyed with the over use of movement. She actually left the webinar before it was over. I ended up ignoring the visuals and just listening. Since the webinar was on video use in SEO, my inability to watch the visuals means I lost most of the value in attending. I quickly lost interest and ended up focusing on other work instead.


I am not experienced enough with Prezi to make recommendations for how to prevent nausea and improve your presentations, but I came across this well written article on the subject that offers some excellent suggestions. Included in the advice is:

  1. Movement for a purpose
  2. Create structure
  3. Design – i.e. don’t be afraid of white space
  4. Slow Down – slowing down movement helps a lot with the problem
  5. Control the length of the zoom

Prezi’s designers are aware of the problem and make recommendations on its website for proper use of the app.

This is actually a serious issue

Please, if you use Prezi, take a look at the article I linked to and implement some of its recommendations. Take advantage of this unique new tool, but use it properly. Understand, not only can Prezi make people nauseous and dizzy, it can cause seizures in people who are sensitive. This isn’t a joke people. The last thing you want is your audience turning off their monitors. Or worse.

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