App of the Week – Adobe Slate

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

logoslateWould you like to create a powerful visual for an assignment or presentation, but don’t have a lot of time or design skills? Adobe Slate is a new “visual storytelling” app that creates polished, easily shareable magazine-esque websites. You can create beautiful presentations, newsletters, reports, and more on your iPad in a matter of minutes–no design expertise needed. This is one of those apps where you simply have to jump in and play around; the app intuitively guides you through your new creation.

Here’s a quick story I created about USMA Library in less than 10 minutes (click on the image below to view story):

USMA Library

Most Helpful Features:

  • Very easy to use – you immediately choose a title, subtitle, theme, and main photo, and then add to your story as needed. The story continues vertically until you scroll to the end.
  • Creates beautiful visuals; currently, you can choose between 11 distinct themes.
  • Themes are meant to translate to any device, so you don’t have to worry about formatting for desktop vs. iPad.
  • Pulling photos in for your presentation is easy – use photos from your iPad or Dropbox, take a photo, or you can choose “Find a Photo” and search through Creative Commons-licensed photos.
  • You can choose to make your Slate public, or keep it private (only people you share the link with can view it)
  • You can automatically share your Slate with Facebook, Twitter, email, or iMessage, or you can share the link created immediately after uploading.

Downsides:

  • The choice of only 11 themes and staying within that theme may feel limiting, but the sacrifice of choice is what speeds along the process (and keeps the story visually consistent).
  • There is no undo/redo feature, which is a little unusual.
  • Video is not supported at this time.
  • You can’t host the story on your own site – the link will always point to Adobe’s pages. The embed code will display your headline and opening image.
  • You can’t remove the “Made with Adobe Slate” branding at the bottom of your story.

Bottom Line:

Adobe Slate is a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to create visually stunning, professional-looking stories for any purpose you can think of. As always, if you try it out, feel free to let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Adobe Slate review: Adobe Slate for iPad makes telling stories with photos much easier

Hands-on: Adobe Slate takes another stab at “visual stories”

Adobe’s Slate Is A Visual Storytelling App For The iPad

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren D. Hall, Circulation Librarian