Alright Mr. Sway-Decision-Maker, it's time for a reality check.
Customization is NEVER a bad idea. Sway seems like I'm being shoehorned into making a crap presentation with a great program. The program shows promise, however I won't be using it in the future unless full customization is implemented. From the other posts I've read, either nobody working on Sway has any idea how to implement that customization (which I don't believe), or they've got their head so far up their assess that they forgot how to let people innovate within a program. I'm currently just trying to add a frame with a white background and have a textual overlay. Because Sway is so counter-intuitive, I have had to go back and forth from photoshop trying to figure out why the hell the colors in the Sway presentation were darkened. Oh wait, it's because I don't get to pick. The customer isn't always right, but whoever is responsible for decision-making for sway is dead wrong.
The responses to the feedback threads are absolutely pathetic. Why do you want to change your font size? Why do you want to underline or bold your text instead of "emphasize" things. Are you kidding? Presentations are about conveying ideas in a clear and concise manner, and for some reason, somebody here thinks that they have found the perfect solution. Solutions are found on an individual basis. You can't solve everyone's presentation problems by telling them what's right or feigning ignorance, you can let people solve their own problems by adding customization options. I was really excited to start using Sway once I found it, but now I have zero reason to recommend it, and 100% reason to tell people to not use it. Some of the responses I have seen are literally a year old, and haven't been acted on.
We’re sorry to hear about your frustration. Sway is a new productivity tool striving to reinvent the way people work, and since Sway is still a fledgling product, there are things we’re still working on. That said, we typically follow this model: first, and foremost, we want design decisions to be automatic so that our customer isn’t obligated to spend copious amounts of time on fine grain details (for example, Sway will automatically crop your image). We came up with this automatic system by working with professional designers to try and find something that is broadly appealing. However, we know it doesn’t fit everyone, so we offer a set of overrides to help users tweak their Sway (in this same example, this would be the feature Focus Points). Finally, we want to allow customization of those overrides (in this same analogy, this would be the ability to manually crop the image, which could cause the user to lose the ability to take advantage of Sway reflowing content across devices unless they are mindful of that!). While we are still building out Sway’s feature set, we are concentrating on the features that fit into the first two categories, and we’re working on making Sway smarter when it comes to making good design decisions (which is why we spend a lot of time understanding the details of what people are trying to do). If you’re interested, we have an article written on Office blogs that dives into this philosophy in greater depth: https://blogs.office.com/2014/12/10/sway-philosophy/. Additionally, the other limiting factor for us is time – we just haven’t had a chance to do this full customization yet! We encourage feedback from users though to help us prioritize what we build. :) If you are comfortable sharing, we’d be happy to take a look at the Sways you’re creating so we can better understand the pitfalls you’re experiencing (just reply to this email to kick off a private conversation). Understanding your expectations is really helpful for us!
The basic needs are:
To create a custom colour palette
Each section of the document should independently let you choose the colour of the background/text using that colour palette, including different colours in the same paragraph of text if required
There should be an option to use your own fonts, or reference Google Fonts
Inserted images should let you resize manually (not from 3 preset sizes!)
Inserting multiple text boxes over images
(Example - on the first section, I can choose a background image, with a single text box on it, but can't add a subheading/smaller line of text.)
Images over images
(Example, logo on top of the background image in the first section)
Theres a bunch more, but basically just mirroring what Brett said. Its WAAAAAY too locked down. It's currently not fit for purpose. I'm trying to create a sales presentation that is pre-styled for our sales team so they just need to change pictures and text, but im falling flat on my face at the first hurdle...
Take a look into Qwilr. Their product is 95% of the way there...
Joshua M commented
Customization can be a bad idea when it isn't thought through clearly enough to make the UX easy and intuitive. Sometimes so many customizations can overwhelm users. However, I'd rather have the ability to do more free-form text customizations than have to use baked-in ones.