Haiku Deck Offers PowerPoint Alternative, Fewer Features Touted

Haiku Deck Offers PowerPoint Alternative, Fewer Features Touted

Sometimes the best business ideas come from solving a problem we ourselves have experienced. That’s how Adam Tratt says the idea for Haiku Deck came to be.

The application aims to create an alternative to fuller featured presentation software like PowerPoint. The idea is that fewer features might actually make it easier to create presentations by not overwhelming users with so many options.

But the concept didn’t come to Tratt and his team until they were trying to dissect a business idea that went wrong, Tratt told Small Business Trends in a recent Skype conversation. Tratt says:

“I love to start with the story of why we built it.”

Fresh from a job with b0ard game startup Cranium, now owned by Hasbro, Tratt was working on a Facebook celebrity game featuring rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot. (Yeah, it ended up pretty much like you’d expect.)

But what he came away with in analyzing the startup’s missteps was the realization that the hardest part had been creating a presentation on the dominant format, Microsoft’s PowerPoint. He wondered if it would be possible to build something easier to use.

The result was Haiku Deck, an iPad and now Web-based app that allows users with limited technical experience to create digital slide presentations and share them via the Web and social media.

Building Haiku Deck

To figure out how to build the new application, Tratt’s team started by boiling down the advice most often given for great presentations:

  • Introduce one idea at a time. Haiku Deck allows users to enter only a limited amount of text for titles and captions on each slide.
  • Use images. The app includes a feature that allows users to search an estimated 40 million Creative Commons images for use on slides or to add their own.
  • Use consistent formatting. First, Haiku Deck creates a uniform format for text and images on a slide. But presentations are also formatted in a way that makes them easy to share. They are hosted on the Haiku Deck website, like video on YouTube or Vine. Buttons let you share those presentations on social media including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And you can also share them via email or embed them in your website.
  • Use charts. The iPad version of the app does allow you to create pie charts and other graphics and that feature will soon also be added to the Web app. Or you can input a graph from another application.

Tratt says the iPad app was launched around Labor Day 2012 and is now approaching one million users. A beta Web version was released more recently. Last week a new iPad version was released with translations in seven additional  languages besides English  and the ability to change the color of the text being used on the slides.

The app is free with added presentation themes offered for an added  cost.

Tratt says Haiku Deck is already being used by attorneys, realtors, sales people and entrepreneurs.

Image: Haiku Deck


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

8 Reactions
  1. This is fascinating. I can’t wait to try it!

  2. To each his own. This does nothing that I can’t knock out in PowerPoint just as quickly, if not faster.

    • Hey Tom, Adam here from Haiku Deck. One thing that users love about Haiku Deck is the integrated image search that gives you access to 40MM+ Creative Commons license photos right from the app. This saves you the trouble of having to hunt for great images that are the right size, resolution, and available for use. This addresses a significant pain point for presentation authors and is a big part of what makes the Haiku Deck experience different from traditional tools. Would love for you to give it a whirl!

    • Many of our users tell us they can create slides they’re proud of more quickly with Haiku Deck, and the built-in Creative Commons image search in particular is a huge time saver — but absolutely, to each his own! If you do get a chance to try it out, we’d love your feedback. Cheers, Catherine from Team Haiku Deck

  3. Shawn: I have been a avid Haiku Deck user for some time! I like the simple way and it is very visual appealing. Do you know if you could get a user page for having all your presentation in one place? Right now it is similar as Instagram acted in the past, one unique URL for every photo, but no home page for all your photos.

    Here is one of my presentations: http://objectiveargentum.com/post/61489617279/haiku-deck-presentation-trader-principle

    • Hello Martin! We are working on this very feature right now…stay tuned! And thanks so much for posting your deck. So glad to have you as part of our creative community!
      Cheers, Catherine from Team Haiku Deck