is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
As pervasive as conferences and lectures are, especially in tech, it’s surprising that you don’t see a lot of products aimed at helping people become better public speakers. Logitech hopes to make a dent here with its Spotlight Presentation Remote, a simple handheld device that elevates the humble clicker—which Logitech claims hasn’t really changed much in two decades—to something worthier of today’s hardware and software.
Even at first glance, the Spotlight looks more elegant than any other presentation clicker that I’ve seen. It has just three buttons: a big “next” button that can’t be easily mistaken for the smaller “back” button just below it, and a “pointer” button that highlights and magnifies an on-screen cursor. That last feature requires Logitech’s own software, but they claim it works “on Windows and Mac platforms, and [with] Powerpoint, Keynote, PDF, Google Slide and Prezi.” Logitech’s software is also required for what strikes me as the Spotlight’s smartest feature; a timer that vibrates when the end of your session nears.
Unfortunately for me, the Spotlight’s fatal flaw is that it doesn’t work with iOS. For the past few months I’ve been delivering all of my presentations exclusively with Keynote on iOS. It’s been liberating to be able to leave my laptop at home and plug into the venue’s AV system just with my iPad (I’ve even been doing much of the writing and design of my presentations solely on my iPad, too). It’s been sooth sailing except for one instance when I was using the Keynote app on my iPhone as a remote control for Keynote on my iPad; halfway through my presentation Bluetooth failed on me and I lost the connection. So a more robust solution like Spotlight would be welcome; maybe in a future revision.+