In part one of this series, I shared how Sway and Docs.com are tools for the storyteller in each of us. Now, as promised, I'm excited to share with you interviews with Sway creator and General Manager Chris Pratley and Sway Team Program Manager Nathan Freier!

And just to make things interesting those interviews are actually in the form of a Sway below! Yeah, when someone said, "think outside the box." I asked, "What box?" If you're reading this in the Windows Central App, swipe right and view in the browser!

Power position

Without question, Microsoft's Office Suite is the industry's standard for productivity. This widely accepted reality couldn't have been made any clearer than when a Microsoft rep was called on stage during Apple's "Hey Siri" event on September 9th, 2015 to demo Office on the new iPad Pro. His arrival on stage was preceded with the acknowledgment by the Apple presenter,

"Microsoft knows productivity."

Redmond's Office Suite has maintained its dominance despite both Google's and Apple's attempts to usurp its reign with their own flavor of productivity portfolio. Its cross platform appeal and availability (with over 100 million downloads on iOS and Android) have made it the default productivity suite on every platform. Of course, Redmond must constantly outdo itself with refreshes to its suite to stay ahead of the competition.

All in the family

Consequently, last October Microsoft introduced Sway as a new addition to their Office family of products. Undoubtedly, any new product to Microsoft's Office Suite has a powerful legacy to live up to. Microsoft gladly accepts this challenge, having proven with OneNote (also created by Chris Pratley, the creator of Sway), that the company has what it takes to keep Office competitive.

So make no mistake, Sway is not an experiment nor a passing fad. Microsoft is dead serious about Sway. Chris Pratley puts it this way:

"We're on a path to see it (Sway) reach the ubiquity of the other Office products… We're essentially doubling our users every month at the moment. For the last few months, that's an incredible growth curve. In five years…. we'll have apps on every platform that people expect them on. We'll be used as much as Word or PowerPoint. That's what I'm hoping for in about that time frame." – Chris Pratley

Storytellers

So maybe you haven't heard much about Office Sway. Maybe you have yet to try it for yourself. Well, who better to introduce you to this revolutionary storytelling tool than two of the men behind the story.

I had the honor of speaking with General Manager of Microsoft's Sway team, Chris Pratley, and Sway Program Manager Nathan Freier, about Sway.

Both of these gentlemen were very generous in that they spent a total of nearly two hours sharing their passion about this product with me. Which I am now very excited to share with you. Quite appropriately, I've included the interviews in the form of a Sway.

Dive into the Sway below to learn from the horse's mouth, as they say, what Sway is, when it is appropriate to use, how it differs from other products, Sway's ambitious future and much, much more! Also, keep an eye out for fuller versions of these interviews. These men are a wealth of information!

"The magic that I think Sway brings is really empowering individuals who might not otherwise have the time or the design skills or the technical skills to create really engaging beautiful output, digital documents that live easily in the cloud. It empowers them to really produce these things really quickly and easily." - Nathan Freier, Sway Team Program Manager

12 Quick Interview Takeaways

  • A Windows Phone app may be next in line according to Chris Pratley! (before Android)
  • In the future, Sway may be able to detect the "tone" of your text and automatically provide design and colors for your Sway based on that tone!
  • Even more exciting, according to Sway creator Chris Pratley, one day Sway may be able to do research for you and automatically compose a brief summary of what it finds!
  • Hyper – documents may be on the way! (someday)
  • Sway users have been doubling every month for the past few months! Build it they will come!
  • Sway is hitting it big in education! From elementary school to post-secondary education Sway is revolutionizing the way students and teachers learn and share information!
  • Offline editing and more control over formatting? Yep. You asked, and it shall be given!
  • Chris Pratley's goal is that within five years, Sway will be used as much as Word and PowerPoint and that there will be Sway apps on every platform!
  • The initial goal for Sway was that it would "remix" the web. Sways are intended to be everywhere on the web!
  • Problem creating Sways in your mobile browser? That's by design! There is no phone web UI. Sway creation via mobile browsers was never meant to be supported (hence the poor experience). Presentation via the phone, however, is. Mobile apps are the solution for Sway creation on phones!
  • Searching for specific tweets and YouTube videos via Sway's search tool is difficult. Here's Chris Pratley's workaround: Place the exact URL for the tweet or YouTube video directly in the Sway search field and then add that to the Storyline!
  • Docs.com was created by Microsoft as a publishing platform for the Sways you create. Whereas Sway was designed as a document creation tool. Docs.com is a solution designed to help users promote their Sways. From independent authors to small businesses, to the regular Joe, Docs.com is your tool to promote your Sways!
  • Sway is the native editor for Docs.com. Docs.com will eventually have richer analytics so you can monitor how users are interacting with your Sways!

"We're on a path to see it (Sway) reach the ubiquity of the other Office products… We're essentially doubling our users every month at the moment. For the last few months, that's an incredible growth curve. In five years…. we'll have apps on every platform that people expect them on. We'll be used as much as Word or PowerPoint that's what I'm hoping for in about that time frame." – Chris Pratley

The main event

Don't miss Part I of this series:

Office Sway and Docs.com storytelling tools for the storytellers in each of us