Reviewing apps can be a funny or a really troublesome work. This depends on how conscientious you do your work. Downloading the app from the App Store, playing with it for 20 minutes using provided templates is not enough for a serious rating. But this procedure is often done when we read ratings like ‘Awesome app’, ‘Best app of the year’, or ‘Swiss army knife’. The egg-laying wool-milk-sow is still not born, sorry, not developed.
Enthusiasm is still forced by these small and powerful devices we call smartphones and tablets. The first tablet was launched by Apple in 2010 and technical improvements are done with nearly the speed of light. In the twinkling of an eye we can do things which in former times required
- Going to the work desk
- Launching the operating system
- Staring at the flickering screen, lost in daydreams, and disregarding the everlasting war of drivers
- Waiting until all the update messages are gone and let you get a sneak peek at the desktop icons
- Starting the application
With tablets this painful procedure is reduced to ‘Starting the application’.
So people, including me, are still impressed if it comes to controlling a device just with some fingers and using it anywhere and anytime. It’s the hidden child in nearly all of us that takes away the dispassion and forces enthusiasm.
With this in mind let’s take a look on the app Final Argument by Morris Cooke, UK.
General information …
Final Argument is in the line of applications allowing non-linear presentations. In contrast to Apple’s Keynote or Microsoft’s Powerpoint presentation tools slides can be arranged in a non-linear (in contrast to top-to-bottom) layout. .
With this kind of presentation, it is possible to jump to any out-of-order slides. Non linear presentations are excellent where audience participation is expected and encouraged. For instance a manager summarizing the latest progress of a project with his team, team members may interject to explain something, as a result the manager jumps to a different slide.
The features …
What’s the idea of Final Argument?
The app allows to present existing PDF/Keynote/PPT slides, use an interactive whiteboard, and record a presentation as a video.
The main idea is, in contrast to Keynote and Powerpoint, the ability to present in a non-linear way. During a presentation the way going through slides is based on a mind map.
- External screen support
The audience only sees the content the presenter wishes to display. If you receive an unexpected question from the audience, it’s easy to immediately create a new slide or add something to an existing one.
- Non-linear presentation layout
Slides can be arranged in a mind-map like style.
- Close integration with Explain Everything
You can import your .XPL projects and show them in a non-linear way. Presentation recordings are saved as XPL files, that can be later edited in Explain Everything.
Draw in any color, add shapes, use Bates stamps, text boxes, and use a laser pointer.
- Editing objects
Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, duplicate, and lock any object added to the canvas.
- Powerful clipboard
Move objects to and from a clipboard invisible to the audience.
Import photos and videos from the Photo Library.
Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from a number of cloud sources, such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, or WebDAV repositories.
Share presentations using Evernote, Dropbox, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open PDF or MP4 files using “Open In…”.
Record your presentation to use it later as the meeting minutes.
Export the recorded session as an MP4 movie, PDF document or XPL project (Explain Everything) directly from your iPad.
Upload your session directly to YouTube.
To go through the main features I created a small presentation about the app Google+ for iOS devices with which you can seamlessly engage in this network.
The screen …
To create a presentation for this blog post I first tried to use the integrated features of Final Argument, stopped doing so after about 10 minutes, and moved over to my preferred app for mobiles, Apple’s Keynote presentation tool.
Why? Well, Final Argument is not intended for creating slides. Admittedly it’s useful when creating a slide during a presentation just for keeping ideas from the audience on file.
Morris Cooke’s blog
„Our aim was not to compete with Keynote or PowerPoint – they do their job well for staged presentations, but show their limits when presenting at workshops when the presenter doesn’t have a script to follow. With Final Argument, you can better react to ad-hoc question.”
See these screenshots to get an impression of the UI (user interface).
The screen partitioning …
Selection of single pages of a Keynote presentation …
Working with an external display …
Final Argument is designed to give you full control over what is seen by the au- dience on an external monitor.After turning the external screen on (by connect- ing a VGA cable to your iPad or switching on Airplay using your Apple TV), four additional buttons will be displayed on the presentation screen. These buttons let you control what will be displayed on the external screen. There are four different modes …
The audience will see the ‘Intermission’ screen. You can use it during breaks, before the presentation or whenever you need to hide the presentation contents.
The audience will see exactly what you see on your iPad. This mode is rarely used during presentations, as it displays the whole presenter’s screen, together with tools you’re using and the slide map.
The audience will see only the currently selected slide. The map, clipboard and sources will never be revealed when you access their contents on your iPad.
The audience will see the the map on the full screen. Use this mode to display the slide structure to the audience – as a visual agenda of your presentation.
Play a session recording using an external display …
If you’re on the project screen (the front screen of the app, where all the projects are shown), the external display will always be in the “Hold” mode. The external monitor will reactivate when an existing recording is being played.
See my article
for an appropriate hardware configuration to present the iPad’s screen to an audience.
The pros and cons …
That’s what I found out within 2 hours.
The pros …
- 01 Final Argument lets you decide which information is shown to the audience
- 02 Suitable UI and easy to use functionalities
- 03 Access to different pre-defined well-known cloud storages
- 04 Availability of WebDAV access for accessing not predefined storages
- 05 Powerful editing features of imported slides within a Final Argument slide
(Copy, Duplicate, Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, Send to Back, Set as Background, Rotate, Move to any position)
- 06 Selection of single slides of a presentation for further use in Final Argument
- 07 A powerful clipboard to transfer slides or parts of a slide to other slides by just marking a snippet (function is named as callout tool) within a slide and drag it into the clipboard area.
- 08 Comprehensive help system accessible from within the app.
- 09 Only a few controls neede for working on a presentation
- 10 Sessions can be recorded and exported as a video and uploaded to YouTube
- 11 Perfect videos about the usage of Final Argument accessible from within the app
The cons …
- 01 An integrated browser is not available.
- 02 Features for creating slides are poor, tricky to use and far away from guidelines for intuitive usage.
There should be a thin border around objects if they are selected.
Vertical and horizontal lines for adjusting objects are not available.
Rotation of objects is not supported by showing the angle like in Apple’s Keynote.
For more complex slides you have to move over to a dedicated app like Keynote. Admittedly the offered features are suitable for creating ad-hoc slides during a presentation e.g. for note taking.
- 03 Hyperlinks used in slides don’t work.
- 04 Projects cannot be organized in folders.
- 05 There is no Redo button and in some cases the Undo button doesn’t work, e.g. After setting a border around a text box.
- 06 If the on-screen keyboard is visible while working in a text box the options menu for text boxes is not fully visible because it’s displayed behind the keyboard. There is no automatic positioning of an object so that it’s in yhe visible part of the screen.
- 07 The indispensable ‘Open in’ doesn’t work when using a helper app.
- 08 Projects are not automatically backed up. If you made a mistake you cannot go back to a former version.
See this mind map which visualizes the features of the app.
Feel free to download this map from my Box account.
The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.
A simple alternative …
See my article
in which I describe a simple solution using iThoughts HD mind mapping tool for presenting to the audience.
Final Argument is a high-rated app for the iPad getting much positive response in publications. But there are still no ratings in the (German) AppStore.
Anyway it’s a suitable tool for composing (not creating) non-linear presentations, if not the best. To make it clear, contents must be be created with other apps and Final Argument can then be used for overtaking these slides and put it into a mind map-like order.
The developer should implement a browser which is indispensable for ad-hoc researches within an interacting audience and useful during the process of creating a presentation.
Related links …
Comments are appreciated.
I’m pleased to see you here on iNotes4You.