The rectangle behind you

Introduction to the series

I give talks. I usually enjoy giving talks. Very rarely, I get paid to give talks, which I guess makes me a professional…

…although I still rarely feel like one. I speak too fast, I make shitty eye contact, and I throw in “you know” and “right…?” much too often.

But I also like treating my talks — and their slide decks — as opportunities to create my own little universes. About 14 years ago, I started making most of my slides as HTML apps rather than powerpoints or keynotes. I’ve played with some unusual transitions, tried to engage the audience, wrote a lot of custom code, and up until today I continue experimenting with one goal in mind: to use technology to make talks more magical — to surprise, to delight, to enhance what I’m talking about, to make that rectangle behind me appear to have special powers no one suspected it of having.

I was the original author of the HTML5 slide deck and Google HTML5 slide template. A few times, I controlled my talk with a Nintendo Power Glove. Once, my computer fell off a podium and people thought I did it on purpose. Some other time, I made a movie theatre audience of 100+ people spend three hours looking at a website… and they didn’t even know. What I mean to say: I have a lot of fun giving talks, and maybe you’ll find some fun in here, too.

Of the talks I gave, I’m most happy with these three:

I will share a lot of what I learned: from ideas to code. Maybe it will inspire you to treat your presentation as apps… and even if you don’t, I hope you will find something useful in some of the checklists and principles that helped me throughout the years.

Read on, and let me know what you think.

Table of contents

Checklists I use

Slide and presentation design

Presentations as apps

Specific slides and tech I built

The rectangle behind you, a series of articles about interactive presentations.

By Marcin Wichary (@mwichary),
with thanks to Darryl Koopersmith, Noah Levin, Brad Birdsall, and Sommer Panage.