Hosting options: Web only
Cost and plans: Free plan (includes Vizzlo branding on your images), Premium Plan at $11 per month, plus options for businesses that include sharing images between teams from $15 per month
How Software Reviews Happen
This is how the software review process normally goes for me.
Software company: We’ve got a really cool product we’d like you to review.
Software company: It does 1000 things and will take you hours to investigate and review thoroughly, but it’s really good.
Me: Will I actually use it in my daily life afterwards?
Me (answering Me): No. I’m happy with the tools I have thanks.
Software company: So will you review it?
Me: Meh. Maybe.
It started the same with Vizzlo: “Dear Elizabeth, we love your blog, please review our software.”
But then I looked at it. And bought it.
That’s only happened once before, with Apollo (which I actually don’t use any more).
Goodbye Mediocre Business Graphics
As regular readers will know, I have two jobs: I’m a copywriter, speaker and author here at GirlsGuideToPM.com and I work as a salaried project manager as well.
I’ve used Vizzlo to create graphics for both roles.
Vizzlo has over 75 template graphics for you to choose from, covering everything from Venn diagrams to milestone charts, timelines and process diagrams.
It also has Gantt charts and waterfall diagrams but I haven’t used those yet. I’m not going to move away from my trusted project management tools for project schedules but I can see why you might want a pretty Gantt chart mocked up in 5 minutes.
Here’s a picture that took even less time that that (shush, don’t tell anyone. I’d rather you all thought I spent hours creating bespoke graphics).
Creating Your First Vizzard
Why they had to call them Vizzards and not ‘graphics’ or something that actually made sense, I don’t know. But the library is full of Vizzards (i.e. templates) and that’s where you start.
Choose what you want to create. It’s not an unlimited choice – you can’t start from a blank sheet and add icons to make your own – but there’s enough stuff in there to create pretty slides for presentations and project communications.
Let’s create a rhombus milestone plan. Once I’ve chosen it from the Market and hit create, up pops my edit screen.
This is what you can see if you have a paid-for account, so if you go for a free account you won’t get all the options to customise the colours.
It’s really easy to add more units to whatever template you are using. What I have found though is that the size of the page is fixed. As you add more boxes, rhombi or whatever, the amount of words you can fit in each of them gets smaller. So you do have to choose your template carefully.
Change the titles and descriptions, edit the theme if you like, decide if you want the points numbered or not and you’re done.
Hit save and the graphic is stored in your Documents tab so you can go back and edit it if you need to. This is a really useful feature to have – something that is missing from apps like Picmonkey.
Benefits of Vizzlo
- It’s fast.
- It’s structured.
- The user interface is clean and easy – no learning curve.
- You can store you documents to edit later – essential if you do have milestone charts in there that need to be edited for your next presentation.
- It’s not expensive, given the amount of time it saves me.
Limitations of Vizzlo
The thing that I found the most disappointing is the selection of default templates. The Vizzards in the marketplace look beautiful with nice greens and blues. This isn’t a default style.
I can’t imagine using the Dark or Gradient themes in any professional presentation. The Blueish theme is also pretty bad, unless your company colour is royal blue.
The only one I felt comfortable using was the Light theme and that’s mainly the reason I upgraded to a paid account, so I had more control over the colours, and also could take off the Vizzlo branding which is important (in my opinion) for professional documents presented internally.
I love Vizzlo at the moment and I’m happy to have paid for a year’s access. I think I am going to get a lot of use out of it. I’m averaging a couple of graphics a week at the moment – not hundreds but enough to feel like it is helping add to my communications without adding a huge burden of trying to align elements in PowerPoint or start from scratch in Picmonkey.
I would be interested in what’s going to happen this time next year. Will I still be using it? Will there be something better? At the time of writing Vizzlo is in the early alpha phase so it could be developed into something awesome and even in the short while I have been using it I have seen more complicated Vizzards be added.
It’s certainly something to check out if you create visual images for your project communications.
*Update* Literally days after I wrote this the company released new themes, nearly all of which are usable in a professional context, so yay!