Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An awful rather than awesome presentation image

On May 20th at the Ethos 3 Blog Leslie Belknap discussed 3 Simple Tips for Creative Data Visualization which were to:

1)  Get real with your data.

2)  Use scale to tell a story.

3)  Add meaning with metaphors.

She began her first item by warning to:

“Banish bar graphs and pie charts from your repertoire; never use cliché charts and graphs again.”

Unfortunately her example for #3 was pretty awful and resembles the silly image shown above. (In it I have replaced all her body text with just the word blah). Her example illustrated a brief article by Laurel Delaney at on Ten benefits of cloud computing. Leslie just put all ten headings from there on one slide in all CAPITAL LETTERS, with inverted lollipops (rather than bullet points) overlaying a cloud image. There were 37 words and almost 250 characters, which is way too long for a tweet.

She claimed:

“Even though ‘cloud computing’ has nothing to do with weather, or clouds in the sky, the image of clouds gives viewers a recognizable object to associate with your message. The familiar image serves as an anchor that will help your message stick in your audience members’ memories.” 

I think instead a cloud is a cliché image that also should never be used.

Laurel’s article had said those 10 benefits were (shown here with headings in italics):

"1]  Achieve economies of scale. Increase volume output or productivity with fewer people. Your cost per unit, project or product plummets.

2]  Reduce spending on technology infrastructure. Maintain easy access to your information with minimal upfront spending. Pay as you go (weekly, quarterly or yearly), based on demand.

3]  Globalize your workforce on the cheap. People worldwide can access the cloud, provided they have an Internet connection.

4]  Streamline processes. Get more work done in less time with less people.

5]  Reduce capital costs. There’s no need to spend big money on hardware, software or licensing fees.

6]  Improve accessibility. You have access anytime, anywhere, making your life so much easier!

7]  Monitor projects more effectively. Stay within budget and ahead of completion cycle times.

8]  Less personnel training is needed. It takes fewer people to do more work on a cloud, with a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues.

9]  Minimize licensing new software. Stretch and grow without the need to buy expensive software licenses or programs.

10] Improve flexibility. You can change direction without serious “people” or “financial” issues at stake. "

Point #9 restates part of #5, so there really were nine points that could have been summarized less painfully in three slides with three each.

On July 2, 2014 at the Ethos 3 Blog Leslie’s boss Scott Schwertly  had discussed 33 presentation tips in 140 characters or less. She violated both his #21 and #24 which were:

“21.  Avoid using all capital letters in a presentation. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SCREAMING AT THE AUDIENCE.

24.  Skip bullet points; stretch a list into multiple slides. Share only one idea per slide to keep your audience engaged.”

An image with ten different ideas won’t stick in your memory -  instead it will slide right out. Is that why they call it a slide?

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