CommunicationsExperimentsLab NotesNotes

First Use of Prezi to Animate Pictures of Interpersonal Information Processes (PIP)

I already experimented with Prezi, either to illustrate a concept or to support a public presentation. However, this is my first utilization test of Prezi to animate two complete diagrams describing interpersonal information processes (PIP). Here, it is to explain and compare two different modes of consent to communication of medical information: the ordinary mode and the currently planned one for the health information report of the Dossier Santé Québec electronic patient record project. This animation was produced for a meeting at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, on March 11, 2010.

Click the arrows to move forward or backward or move the cursor into the image itself: this presentation has not been programmed for autoplay.

A process is, by definition, a series of successive steps in a chronological sequence. But still images of information process have the disadvantage of quickly becoming hard to decipher by lay persons as a diagram becomes more complicated or as the knowledge we wish to convey becomes more detailed. Animation is a form of visual presentation better suited to popularization purposes. Indeed, animation allows us to break the process into portions more easily understandable by guiding the viewer’s attention towards each individual steps in their logical sequence. At key moments, the animation can also re-situate the part in relation to the whole: for example, the individual phase within the whole process (with explanation of its consequences for the person), the process within the whole interpersonal information system (IS), an IS within a network of IPs.

In spring 2009, I had discussions and conducted a review of available software for 2D and 3D animation with Susan Gourley and Benoit Chagnon, animation specialists at the National Film Board of Canada. This has led to the conclusion that the applications currently available, including several free and open ones still demand some significant workload for the production of multimedia animation required for the explanation of interpersonal information systems. However, one can safely say that animation software will continue to evolve rapidly, soon becoming more user-friendly and economically usable for such purposes.

Meanwhile, the Prezi computer-assisted presentation application – both user-friendly and inexpensive (two versions are even available for free) – offers a light, effective and easy to use alternative. Prezi is not an animation software per se: it does not move objects within an image, but rather the picture framing over a table or a diagram. Prezi therefore creates a “walk” through a visual pattern by moving the viewpoint where we want to successively draw the viewer’s attention. Prezi is an application well suited to the presentation of flows or information processes that is accessible to any personal information system holder, any citizens’ organization of and even any individual. For those who have more resources, a presentation Prezi can also be used as an intermediate phase between an initial fixed diagram or illustrated scenario and the production of a full multimedia interactive animation.

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