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Designing effective slides

In a talk, visual aids are just as important as verbal delivery. In this video, we give a few tips on slide design and data presentation

Some tips on slide design

Slideshows are regularly used as a tool in presentations – from board meetings to TEDx talks. However, they often are poorly designed: they include very small text, too much information, clashing colours.

This can lead to a condition that has been humorously described as “death by Powerpoint”.
However, following a few simple principles can avoid it. The advice includes things such as sticking to a single concept for each slide, using images (some free repositories include Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels), and avoiding long blocks of text.

The way data is presented is important, too: graphs and plots should not overwhelm your audience with information, and they should not be hard to interpret.
For this reason, 3D effects should be avoided, and the same is true for pie charts and donut charts, which are not always easy to understand, especially when the audience should make comparisons.

Finally, colors should be used consistently, and with moderation. Choosing a color scheme is not always easy, but there are some tools that can guide your choices.
Color schemes designers can build a full palette starting from a single hue, and these tools are easily accessible online – for instance, at Paletton or Coolors.

The effect that your color palette has on your graphs – and on their readability – can also be assessed by using websites such as Viz Palette. Using these tools will also allow to assess whether your colours are easily distinguishable by the entire audience, including the persons suffering from colour vision deficiency, which could impact up to 10% of your audience.

Share with us

  • Were you aware of the existence of these tools ?
  • Do you agree with the graphical advice we gave in this talk, or do you believe that it could lead to presentations that look to minimalistic and standardized?

Share your opinion with us and your fellow learners in the comment section!

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Science Communication and Public Engagement

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