Campus Tour: Adobe Spark Project

I was on a web conference recently about seminary recruiting during the safer-at-home era. One of the speakers showed a virtual tour his teammate Wake Forest Divinity School had made in Adobe Spark. I was impressed enough to ask for details and went on to build a tour for our campus.

Click to view the tour

My school, Harding School of Theology, already had a video tour and I offer Zoom virtual visits, but the Spark tour provides another look that I found helpful. The advantages of the glide show over a video are that it allows visitors to go at their own pace and it doesn’t require sound (our video tour doesn’t require sound, but it isn’t text based – the sound is a musical soundtrack).

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a pay program, which I have included in my Adobe Creative Cloud account. On my desktop I interacted with Spark through the web interface. You may want to start by setting up your branding, which includes logos, fonts, and colors.

For this project, I started by selecting a new ‘webpage’ project.

I then chose ‘Glide Show’ (which I had never heard of before, but it’s pretty cool!). I chose the pictures I wanted to include and uploaded them to the glide show. The text boxes are built in, so I typed my text in. You may, of course, re-order slides and edit your text.

A key factor on the slide show is the focus point feature. I missed this at first, and was not happy with important parts of pictures being cut off or only visible for a moment. By setting the focus point, you have more control about which parts of the picture disappear as you scroll through the show.

When you have it like you want, hit publish. You have the option of sharing the link, sharing to social media, sending an email, or embedding. I embedded it in our website so that viewers don’t leave our site to go to Adobe to watch.

The Webpage Glide Show lives on the Adobe servers
Graphics Projects Can Be Downloaded

Pros

Spark is very easy to use. This was a website project, but there are also a lot of other graphic projects you may do including images and videos.

I created a professional looking show that I have no idea how to do by hand (and I’ve been doing web design for 20 years!).

I used my own photos since this was about our school, but there are a lot of other images available through Adobe.

There is a large collection of photos available for free use

You get a good finished product that is thoroughly Adobe, so it integrates with other Adobe products (e.g., shared assets).

Cons

As with all Adobe products, it’s pretty pricey. An individual account is currently $9.99/month or $99.99/year pre-paid. Personally, I would likely not buy a separate Spark account if I did not have it included in my Creative Cloud subscription. (It is also included in the Lightroom Plan and the Photography Plans.)

As with most easy-to-use-for-non-professional programs, you are limited in the amount of editing you can do to the project. For example, you have limited control of fonts and sizes of the text in the Glide Show. (For ease of the project, I can live with that!)

The project is responsive (alters to fit your screen size from phone to desktop), but it isn’t great at it. I had some pretty important content further toward the edges which did not all come through when viewed on a phone. I put a note on the front screen asking viewers to turn their phone to landscape.

Since it is a web-based service, if Adobe has a problem, then you have a problem. Most of the graphics you can download, but not the website feature – you may embed it into your site but it lives on Adobe’s servers. In fact, as I was working on this review, Adobe Spark was down 😦

Final Verdict

This is a great program for what it is. I got a very nice campus tour that I am pleased with. Perhaps not worth the price unless you use it a lot, but since I have it in my toolbox, I plan to keep using it!

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