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Tuesday
Jan152013

Bidding Farewell to the Zebra

". . . slicker, cleaner, and easier to use . . ."
As with any company, identity is all important at Prezi. However as something grows, its identity changes. Prezi has been changing ever since it started. Since 2010, we have increased dramatically in size, opened an office on the other side of the world, and completed a design overhaul, to name just a few of the points that can be plotted on the Prezi timeline. The company is growing, to be more exact, it’s growing up. The last working week of 2012 saw a development that is a real milestone in the maturing of our product, it also meant letting go of something that had been a big part of our identity. Many of you will doubtless already know what I’m blogging about, for it is with a lot of pride, and just a hint of sadness, that I announce the departure of the Transformation Zebra. The Zebra hasn’t totally disappeared. It’s still the essence of our logo, the icon on our desktops, and it still appears every time a prezi loads, but its days as a part of our user interface are over. As you might think, there are quite a few people sad to see it go: 
“It’s so cute! It did everything I needed.”

- disappointed@longtimeuser

And while we were very much aware of this point of view, we were also hearing more and more about how the Zebra wasn’t working for everyone.

“How do I use that?”

- confused@firsttimeuser


“Why is it blocking out the objects in my prezi?”

- frustrated@generalpreziuser

A change was needed, and so we turned to our amazing design team for guidance:

Peter Zimon"While this cute widget that we loved so dearly served our user’s needs for so long, the overwhelming feeling was that our users deserved something slicker, cleaner, and (most importantly) easier to use. And so while it wasn’t an easy goodbye, I can reveal the Zebra’s successor: The Transformation Tool.”
- Peter Zimon, Designer at Prezi

 

We did think of having a more specific name, there were a number that we tried out in the office, but none of them stuck. It seems that not needing a name is another part of growing up. 


Daniel Feles"The block with the three buttons in the middle soon became known as the Monolith among ourselves. We believe, that in a good prezi you have to emphasize your content and the scale and drag buttons make this really easy. We think it’s a really cleaner feature compared to what was there before."
- Daniel Feles, Designer at Prezi

 

As you can see, ease of use has fast become the most important factor in any decision we make for our user interface. But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t lost anything in terms of beauty and style as we can always rely on our design team for both of those things. You can find more on what inspired this wonderfully talented bunch on the design blog, or alternatively you can go and try out the latest edition to a more grown up Prezi experience. 

References (198)

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Reader Comments (20)

I already miss the Zebra!

January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEsteban Oyarzo

I wish that when you made this change, you made the change with all of your tutorials. I have been trying to use prezi since last Wed and it has been incredibly frustrating. I have to do apresentation to our board on Friday, the 25th and I don't think I'll be able to make that deadline. Please, please, please make some new tutorials.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Caraotta

I have been using prezi for the last two years, recently i updated to the new prezi 4. Now it works so slow. It seems like i can't even move on object to the left or right. It immediately returns to the original position.
anyhow, as a designer i don't enjoy using the new interface as i used to enjoy the previous version. I can't find an answer why the prezi interface was changed so terribly. The only noticeable advantage of this new version copy and paste between prezis. The rest of the interface design is now very linear and boring. Sorry guys, you could have designed much better than this.

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNil

The Monolith looks like it should have been first before the Zebra, I feel like I have lost 2 years of agility with Prezi. To the team, maybe you could offer people an option between the two transformation tools, as for now, this 'slicker' version is not smooth compared to the 'zebra'.
I hope it serves the need now that it is close to being a powerpoint.

February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAra Nashera

You should make it that you can decide if you want to use the zebra or not! I prefer the Zebra! It feels like a powerpoint now!

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonomys

Are you going to listen to your customers? I hear grumbling about this change EVERYWHERE. Pay attention to feedback. This was not a change that needed to be made; it was working GREAT. I don't even use this application anymore, it's so clunky.

Bring the zebra back, dammit! At least make it an option.

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I used to use prezi often for school products, as it was a fast, impressive, easy-to-use tool that made a more visually appealing presentation. Due to being out for the summer, and having less presentations in school, bla bla, I haven't been on prezi in quite some time. I logged back on recently and found this. This new design is clunky, boring, and frankly, it looks less professional than the old zebra. Not only is it visually unappealing, it's definitely NOT user-friendly. This is hard to use, much harder than the zebra in fact, which was essentially self-explanatory. I doubt I will be using prezi in the future. Sorry to say it, but you've lost a user.

I understand that you need to grow, but the Zebra made you different, and this is disappointing. I echo the comments suggesting that you bring back the Zebra, or at least make it an option. It does, sadly, now look very "Bill Gates."

May 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCurt Ebersole

very nice article

August 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDealDash

Thanks for an amazing post. . Prezi has been changing ever since it started -all of the changes were good.
Hope to read more in the future.

August 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenis Can

Absolute mistake. You should be fired.

Please get out of the team. You have ruined Prezi and its values. Who in the directive team have you brainwashed to accept this new interface?

Go home and do not come back

Signed
A client that won't pay the next year.

August 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJuan C. Olmedo

This article is cool. Thanks . Guillaume, a french guy ! :)

September 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterled

Very Nice article, Thanks, Sam

September 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Please get out of the team. You have ruined Prezi and its values. Who in the directive team have you brainwashed to accept this new interface?
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December 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjack

thanks to prezi.com for this nice article...

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbala

Thanks for scraping out the zebra!

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April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny Solace

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May 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterResultZen

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