Presentation Ninja Tricks #2: Produce

It suggests that humans have difficulty deciphering several stimuli/ input into the same system, for instance when looking at an image and some text simultaneously. Or think about when two people talk to you simultaneously – it’s very annoying and difficult to keep track, isn’t it? It’s exactly the same when we try to force two sets of input into people’s visual system.

Multiple visual input can make it hard for people to take in the information you're giving them.

Multiple visual input can make it hard for people to take in the information you’re giving them. Image credit.

On the other hand, if an image (stored in the visual system) is supported by narration (spoken words that are stored in the verbal channel) it is likely to enhance learning and memory storage, because storing the input in two places creates a stronger memory of the input than if it were only stored in one place.

And that’s why you should keep your slides simple and avoid multiple “same system” input. Don’t force your audience to multitask; they can’t.

Apply the KISS principle

Consider your slide production as an actual design job. This means that you should apply all the design principles you know, like the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Creating simple slides with plenty of white space will ensure that you create visually pleasing, calm slides that the audience can easily decipher.

Applying the KISS rule to your presentation slides enhance their visual aesthetics.

Applying the KISS rule to your presentation slides enhance their visual aesthetics. Image credit.

Entice Trust – aim for Beauty

We know from various studies (like this one) on how web-users perceive a given site’s credibility that the visual design is key to creating a site users will find trustworthy.

This can be transferred to presentation slide design (and any other graphic/ interface design for that matter). If your presentation is beautiful, your audience is more likely to trust you.

Another usability/ aesthetics study (mentioned in Donald Norman’s book Emotional Design: why we love (or hate) everyday things) showed that two ATM interfaces worked radically different, despite having identical functionality. The difference between them was their aesthetics; one was simply designed more beautifully than the other. The more beautiful interface worked better for the users – they completed the tasks quicker and more easily on the aesthetically pleasing interface.

Norman suggests this is because when we look at something beautiful, we relax. And when we relax, we become more open and forgiving. So indeed, aesthetics matter highly when it comes to design – and this goes for presentation slides as well.

The 10 minute rule

Humans have a very short attention span. This means that shortly after you’ve started your presentation, your audience will start to look at their watch and wonder when you’ll finish. They lose focus.

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Presentation Ninja Tricks #4: Presenting for very small audiences
  2. Presentation Ninja Tricks #3: Perform
  3. Presentation Ninja Tricks #1: Plan