MindXpres - An Extensible Content-driven Cross-Media Presentation Tool

With more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations that are created every single day, we cannot ignore the widespread and heavy use of slideware presentations in domains such as education or business. Current presentation tools like Microsoft's PowerPoint, Apple's Keynote or OpenOffice Impress have defined a de facto presentation standard over the years. As a matter of fact, this popular slide-based presentation standard is hardly questioned. However, if we have a close look at existing slide-based standards, we can identify a number of lacking features and a huge potential for more flexible and semantically enhanced future presentations tools. Existing slideware solutions, for example, enforce a linear navigation through a set of slides without any support to easily navigate between arbitrary slides. Furthermore, the space on a single slide is limited due to the lack of any zooming functionality, content is static and presentations are presenter-oriented. Last but not least, a major amount of the preparation time is spent on the aesthetic part of a presentation rather than on its content.



Our new MindXpres presentation tool addresses these problems by introducing a radically new presentation format. In our solution, a domain-specific language (in combination with a graphical editor) allows users to focus on the content, whereas the visualisation is managed by the tool based on a templating mechanism (similar to the separation of content and visualisation when creating a LaTeX document). This allows users to create presentations with the same graphical quality as offered by existing slideware tools but in a much more reusable manner. Our MindXpres presentation tool also introduces a number of new components to facilitate the presentation of specific types of information and in the future suppport for new media types can be added via a plug-in mechanism. The tool simplifies the creation and presentation of these different types of information and significantly reduces the amount of time that has to be spent for the appropriate visualisation (e.g. automatic syntax highlighting of source code snippets). Some other advanced features of MindXpres include non-linear traversal of the presentation, hyperlinks, transclusion, semantic linking and navigation of information, multimodal input, dynamic interaction with the content, the import of external presentations and more.



The visualisation of the content is done via a zoomable user interface, similar to Prezi, which offers more freedom regarding the available screen space. Together with multimodal input, this allows for a higher degree of interactivity. The final presentation is generated in HTML5, which makes presentations very portable and even allows viewing them on mobile devices. By combining our content-centered language with HTML's visualisation capabilities and JavaScript's dynamism, we take the concept of dynamic and engaging presentations to a whole new level.

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