Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Using Piktochart

I have mixed feelings about Piktochart. I like that it was easy to sign up with a Google account. As a free user there are not a lot of themed pages for you to access (just seven) and you have to move to a pro account to get access to more. I chose the minimalist theme since it was the first time I had used the program. There is a tutorial, so to speak, on the page that shows you where all the buttons are, but while it was helpful it wasn't enough for a first time user. I did struggle with this program on a few key issues. I ended up having to create a second presentation because I messed up the first one.

So what can you do with Piktochart? You can move around all the lines, remove all of the pictures, add icons, move around the banners and headings, add another block of colour to extend the poster if you want, move graph bars, change numbers into letters, etc. It really is flexible that way.

Where did I have my problems? I had enough information for a page and quarter but not enough to justify adding another colour block. So I ended moving everything up the page a bit to make room for my thoughts. It was clunky to move all of the design elements up the page. When I wanted to leave the text but get rid of the picture, they were coupled together. I know there was an unlock button but the tutorial didn't cover that. I still don't know what the unlock button does- that's for next time. So I moved everything up the page and then tried to copy one of the banner headings to use further down on the page. You can copy elements alright but they just remain on top of each other. That's when I tried the unlock button so that I could move the second banner off the first. I pulled the banner apart but not in the manner I intended. I gave up after about 20 minutes and just created a text banner for the last element. Just don't remove the design elements if you want to keep using them as they are not found in the  icon bar in the same way. You have to build your own icons then (a circle, then layer another icon on top, etc) and I couldn't find the banner I wanted to reuse within the icon bars (and there are a lot of icons.) So that part of the program was frustrating. You also have to double click to edit but sometimes I felt like I was quadruple clicking to be able to open up the design elements so I could type in my own text.

 I know there is website to visit but the link is embedded in the icons so you have to double click to edit, then copy the link into your search engine and then try and decide which tutorial you need to view to solve your problem (so you have to know what your problem is, then how to express it, then search for the solution- if it is there.) You also have to do that before you start working on the chart because once you've removed that design element, the link to the help page is gone.

So will I use Piktochart again? Probably, but I know that there will be times I will be frustrated with the program. Can you use it in the classroom? Yes, but be prepared to provide lots of support.