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Even Google Slides don’t provide the best user experience

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The Google slides has become the best resource for making presentations, website banners or for social media artworks. Following google trends graphic shows how Google slides popularity is increased in recent times and reached at its peak in comparison to PPT or Keynote.

Google Slides has gained momentum this year in comparison with Microsoft PowerPoint.

Google Slides like Microsoft Powerpoint, is a presentation editor but exists in the Google Cloud, associated with a Google account and is available through Google Drive productivity suite. Because the saved presentations are in the cloud — Google Slides affords real time collaboration between editors. Users and owners of Google Slides can access these presentations at any computer without having to carry around a flash drive. More importantly, a revision history is also kept, which allows editors to access any version of the presentation in the past and also keeps a log of who made which edits. Google Slides can be converted to different formats — such as PowerPoint, PDF, SVG, JPG or TXT, which can later be shared on the social media or used for other purposes. In short, with Google Slides, you can create, edit, collaborate, and present wherever you are. For free.

Google Slides has become a helpful resource for my Design team, who work and collaborate with different other departments during their daily day’s job. Design team get daily requests from different departments to make social media banners, which are of a particular size i.e 1200x630px. Banners are later posted on FB, Linkedin or twitter. We make editable creatives on Google Slides with relevant visuals, graphics & text, and then share it’s link in return. The Real time access to these creatives give anyone the advantage to review, make changes if any, and then download the same as JPG or PNG. Later these banners are posted on social media directly at their end, without needing anyone’s further help.

In every seed of good there is always a piece of bad. — Marian Wright Edelman

Google Slides also has some constraints, where it falls short in fulfilling some desired results, which we cannot neglect. Following are few shortcomings of Google Slides:

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(left) Google provides four leading adjustments options. Three text boxes are placed to get one desired result as shown in image on the right.

Text leading is not good

Leading: Distance from the bottom of one line of type to the bottom of the next is called Leading, or Google Slides refer it as ‘Line Spacing’. Adjusting the text leading in Google Slides is a painful task, as the titles are really big in Social media banners, which are kept for better visibility/readability for viewing on mobiles or other devices. These big titles don’t always fall in a single line but spill over to two/three/four decks (lines) due to their large font sizes. Since Google Slides provides only four options (1, 1.5, 1.5, double) to adjust leading, we then have to make three text tags for a three-deck title as the current line spacing option makes it difficult to adjust big titles. Custom line spacing option should resolve this issue.

Notes just stays there forever

‘Open Comments thread’ is not at the bottom of slides but at the top.

‘Click to add Speaker notes’ feature of Google Slides is to keep notes while making presentations whereas these are sometimes used for commenting or highlighting any issues in the creatives/slides. But the issue is not that it doesn’t work like the ‘commenting thread’, which is there at the top right of Google Slides (as shown in image), but the position of comment thread. It is a common perception that after you read the story/article or in our term ‘the slide’ one would want to comment on it. All comments are placed always at the bottom of the article or post, whereas ‘open comments thread’ is placed at the top right in the Nav menu of Google Slides. Unless someone is aware of it or knows that it exists, can be easily misunderstood. ‘Make Speaker notes’ should share the space with ‘Open Comments thread’ at the bottom of the slide, as shown or similar to in the figure or in some similar fashion.

Google Slides could bring down the ‘Open comment thread’ option at the bottom of slides like ‘add speaker notes’.

Text boxes has some backend problem

Seems this Text box issue has something to do with the backend. As when Text boxes consisting of texts are of 100% width and downloaded as JPG/PNG, changes the layout in the final outcome. You would see a different result in the saved JPG in comparison to the slide from which you have saved it from. However, result gets fine when the Text box width is increased to more than 120%. Example shown in the image below for reference.

Top Left slide’s Text box is 100% fit (blue line) gives a wrong result when it is downloaded as JPG from the File menu as shown in the top right image (JPG). Whereas, when the Text box is slightly longish gives the exact result what it was aimed for, as visible in the bottom right JPG.

Background lock

Usually there are no. of items present on the slide, which makes it difficult to maneuver it around. Selecting one item from many overlaid items is not an easy task. If Google Slides can come up with an option to lock/unlock items (background, text boxes etc), nothing like it.

Blue lines shows the no. of items present in this slide. ‘Locking an item’ option will help to maneuver around different items.

All above mentioned issues are just shortcomings of Google Slides and overcoming these for future will definitely help Designers/Users for their further usage.

Excellence is unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer. — Rick Pitino

Feel free to comment below, would love to hear a feedback from you.

Thank you for giving your time in reading my post. If you find my ideas interesting do follow me on twitter @oraajan or check out my linkedin page.

Views expressed in this article are my personal.

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