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Emaze: The Animated Gif of the 2010s

If you are old enough to remember Bob Dole, you’re old enough to remember the 1990s, when the latest thing to have for any website was an animated GIF: Animated Gif

Until their recent resurgence as a form of ironic retro behavior in an era of high bandwidth, animated GIF graphics were a laughingstock, derided for their uselessly large filesize in a low bandwidth environment. At a time when most people used dial-up connections to the Internet, you’d have to wait seemingly forever, just to watch an exploding smiley or a sparkling rainbow. Even now, in an age when people stream high-definition video, some people just plain hate animated GIFs for their painfully distracting quality. Alice at Wonderland sums up this reaction fairly well:

“It’s not just that I find them annoying – though I do – it’s that they actually physically bother me. I get eye strain and headaches from the things. You know how they advise epileptics not to look at flashing lights because they can cause seizures? This doesn’t surprise me one bit, because I feel like I might have one every time I look at the things. And I can talk about seizures because I really did have one, though it was many years ago and I luckily have not had one since. As far as I know. But ugh, those freaking flashing gifs are awful, and they distract from whatever the person is writing. They distract A LOT. And I’m easily distracted enough as it is.

“And what is the point? As you know if you’ve read my blog, I love using images in my posts. I’ve never found a need to animate one, though. I mean – why do you have to show someone actively facepalming (head falling to hand, head jumping back up, head falling to hand, head jumping back up, rinse, repeat, puke) when you could just show a picture of the facepalm? Huh? I don’t get it. I think you can be just as funny without the things. Actually I like you MORE without them.”

With this in mind, along comes emaze, the latest lower-caps alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. “PowerPoints?,” you reply with nose wrinkled and eyebrows raised? “PowerPoints are so boring!” What could be more boring than bland blue gradient backgrounds with bold text in the foreground?

Well, a lot, actually, depending on what an author actually puts in the slide. PowerPoint slides can be really, really interesting if they share really, really interesting information, just as boring old black text on a white background can make for a really, really good book if the author has imagination.

If you have something interesting to say, nobody will care about fancy graphic design elements. If you don’t have much to say, then you’d better rely on design to distract. And that’s where emaze comes in. Emaze has two main selling points. First, it can be shared universally across the internet — but so can PowerPoint with its updated formatting and exporting options. Second, it has flashy, spinny, 3D animations. Just. Like. Animated. GIFs.

In honor of the headachy emptiness of it all, let me share an excerpt of a presentation showcased by emaze as an exemplar of its possibilities… as an animated GIF:

Tal Moravkin's headache-inducing presentation on emaze

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