Sesame Street always has a way of getting it right. Simple is powerful.
Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Broadway set designers have a difficult job. They need to design theater sets that cleverly balance two functions: 1) physically providing the details (entrances and props) the actors need to tell their story, while 2) also powerfully conveying the emotional atmosphere for each scene of the show.
Sound familiar? Metaphor alert: Your presentation slides have to balance the same functions.
A great way to break free from the doldrums of traditional PowerPoint is to think of your slides not as slides, but as theater sets to be your backdrop as you deliver your speech. They’re there to make you look good and support you with the details you need to tell your story.
Fortunately you don’t need a Master of Fine Arts degree to design great slides.
iPad is a presentation game changer. Since its launch four months ago, Apple has sold roughly four million units and they’re only just now rolling out to international markets. iPad is a solid success and the harbinger of a major computing paradigm shift. It inspires us to imagine new ways to approach presentation design and rethink the role a presentation can play in business communications.
It’s all about interaction.
iPad is the killer tool for the one-to-one presentation. It can connect to a projector like a laptop, but it really excels as an interactive device. iPad transforms a normally passive activity into an engaging experience. The multitouch screen means your audience can hold your slides in their hands. They can flick and tap their way through your content. They can interact directly with your ideas.
In this new paradigm, a presentation can be approached as an interface rather than a slideshow. Buttons can replace bullet points. The slide order can change for each audience member like a “choose your own adventure” story.
There’s no “best way” to create an iPad presentation, but there are several new ideas forming as the technology is explored. Here are a few types of presentations iPad can make better.
• Improved sales meetings – Instead of sitting across a table with your laptop, let your client hold your slides as you deliver your pitch.
• Dynamic product catalogs – Instead of bland spreadsheets listing products, offer your client an interactive digital catalog. Clients can touch their way into each product category and interact with each product through rich media and vivid descriptions.
• Seamless kiosk presentations – Instead of a computer with a keyboard and mouse, let your guests touch their way through an interactive presentation. Think about how slick a row of mounted iPads would look in your trade show booth.
• Gorgeous design portfolios – Instead of flipping through cumbersome Photoshop and InDesign files on a laptop, let your client flick through a dynamic, interactive portfolio. They can even see live mockups of your site.
• Quick app prototypes – Instead of static wireframes, create an functional prototype of your app, all in only a few minutes. There’s a great video tutorial for this here.
What other ideas for iPad presentations are out there? Please share some of your ideas in the comments.
Other iPad presentation resources & tips
“If you want to understand what makes the iPad special, you cannot look at what it has, but what it doesn’t have. The iPad is so thin and light, it becomes the display, and the display becomes the application. No input devices. The device vanishes and turns into the application you are using. The technology is transparent.” – CC
An Empty Canvas – A beautifully written article from the folks at Cultured Code. The source of the quote above.
Web design for the ipad – Tips for designing websites optimized for iPad. Good ideas for presentation design too.
Tips for an iPad compatible Keynote – Tips for using Keynote on iPad
iPad App Prototyping – How to make an app prototype using Keynote on iPad.
Keynote for iPad – The Keynote app for iPad
Not everyone is happy about the use of presentations in the legal industry.
There are some who think presentations force lawyers to dumb down their content for the jury. I’d argue it’s not the tool that’s responsible, but rather the person using it. The power of any presentation is all in how it’s used, and great visual storytelling has the potential to give lawyers a significant competitive edge. You could even say their future depends on it.
Texas lawyer David Bissinger makes a compelling case for multimedia in the courtroom in this recent article from Law.com.
A compelling case exists that using multimedia increases juror competence. At least three reasons should prompt trial lawyers to use, and trial judges to embrace, multimedia devices. First, scientific and other high-level learning depends upon visualization; the best advocates, like the best teachers, teach by using visual aids. Second, multimedia argument advances the ancient art of advocacy through storytelling. Third, the forces of technological innovation will put lawyers who fail to embrace these methods out of business.
Check it out: Article Link
The US Army reports the misuse of PowerPoint has become a major problem. As the article describes it, PowerPoint is seen as a military tool that has spun out of control.
The spaghetti-like diagram above was taken from an actual military PowerPoint slide. It’s designed to show the complexity of American strategy in Afghanistan. (Definitely doesn’t follow the Apollo Ideas mantra of clear simple expression.) As General McChrystal, head of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, describes it, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”
According to McChrystal, complex diagrams aren’t even the biggest problem — bullet points are. And they’re the same problem with your company’s presentations.
Bullet points are just rigid lists of facts. They do not convey meaning. They only barely convey information. What’s worse, they are proven to lead to bad decision-making, poor judgement, and reduced creativity.
This isn’t the first time the government has recognized the PowerPoint problem. Several years back NASA identified the misuse of PowerPoint as a contributing factor to the Columbia shuttle disaster. You can read more about that on Edward Tufte’s blog here. It’s fascinating and tragic.
PowerPoint is a bad reporting tool. When it’s used properly, it can take a presentation from good to great, but bullet points and slick templates won’t do it.
It’s truly amazing how much bad PowerPoint costs organizations in lost opportunity and time. Can you think of another business tool that even comes close?
Thanks to the many friends and readers who sent in this article!
There comes a time when every company must grow up. Welcome to the new look of Apollo Ideas.
We’re committed to growing as a company. The new apolloideas.com is just one of many changes we’ve been making to enable us to take on larger projects and deliver even higher quality results to you, our clients.
Sprint’s new ad campaign, What’s Happening, is making some serious waves. The ads are brilliant examples of effective marketing and great presentation design.
Sprint spent a lot of money building a new 4G network and had to figure out how to show it off. They could have taken the traditional approach and created a campaign that explains the network’s new features (e.g. “you can transfer so many megabytes per second on our new network!”), but in reality people don’t care much about features — they care about benefits.
My favorite example of selling benefits instead of features was when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPod in 2001. He didn’t describe the iPod as a “4GB music player”; it was “a thousand songs in your pocket”. Big difference.
Sprint clearly understands the power of selling benefits because instead of focusing on what their network can do, their campaign demonstrates what people can do on their network, and on an incredible scale.
The ads are slick examples of how proper pacing, dynamic visuals, and the right amount of humor can make a fact and data driven presentation extremely compelling to watch. You’ll definitely find inspiration in these videos for new, creative ways to present your data in future presentations.
Check out one of the ads below.