Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Assertion-Evidence PowerPoint slides are a visual alternative to bullet point lists
Sunday’s Dilbert cartoon had his pointy-haired boss proclaiming that:
“Experts say your slides should tell a story in pictures”
and then meddling as usual, without any understanding of how to accomplish that goal.
There is an alternative assertion-evidence slide design developed by Michael Alley and his co-workers which does that. The slide shown is an example I created.
It was described back in November 2005 in a magazine article titled Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides: A Case for Sentence Headlines and Visual Evidence that was written by Michael Alley and Kathryn A. Neely and published in the obscure Technical Communication magazine, (V52 N4, p 417 to 426). You can download it either here or here.
This design is described on the Penn State web site on Speaking Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students. You also can download a handout from a workshop for STEM faculty at Penn State. This design has gradually spread from engineering and science to business and general use. In 2009 Olivia Mitchell blogged about Here’s a quick way to make over a bullet-point slide.
There is a six-minute YouTube video of Michael Alley discussing Improve Your PowerPoint. Robert Yale made a 22-minute video on The Assertion-Evidence Structure that you can see on YouTube.
The Amazon Malaria Initiative web site at USAID has four downloadable documents about making presentations using assertion-evidence slides:
Tips for developing effective presentations
Selecting the Most Effective Design Style for Your Presentation
Outlining a Presentation Using the Assertion-Evidence Slide Design
Examples of Makeover Slides
There also is a detailed description of this design in Michael Alley’s book, The Craft of Scientific Presentations (2nd edition 2013). His guidelines for this style are:
His guidelines for this format are:
Try the assertion-evidence design. I think you’ll like it.