Every presentation should be designed with the audience in mind. The slides should be concise, clearly laid out and easy to read, both in the session as well as out to the remote audience via teleconferencing. It is especially important with different video delivery systems, varying resolutions, screen sizes and bandwidth considerations that the slides be able to scale down gracefully. Here are some tips designed to help presenters ensure that their work can be seen by the widest audience.
Use Serif fonts as much as possible. Sans Serif fonts can be harder to read at smaller sizes. Sans serif fonts are designed for headlines and are blockier. Serif fonts have little hooks and curves, called “finishing strokes”, for easier readability. The Maine Medical Center and MaineHealth logos are made up of serif fonts. Most books you read are serif fonts. Sans means “without” so sans serif means without the finishing strokes
ARIEL is sans serif TIMES NEW ROMAN is serif
In Powerpoint the defaults have been san serif fonts, but as time went on slides got more packed and screens to design them got more high resolution, so you could fit a lot more on a slide. The problem arises when you present on video, the slide may not be full screen and the viewer is sitting across the room. We read words by “recognizing” words, and sans serif fonts at smaller sizes are harder to read and recognize. So larger serif fonts are often preferred when creating slides.
Keep Slides Simple
Slides are meant to support the discussion and should be kept to a few bullet points. Slides dense with text will lose most intended impact. A good rule of thumb is if the presenter is reading off the slide, there is usually too much text. Visuals are best with some supporting bullet points. It’s also been said that a large single sentence at the top of a slide improves comprehension.
It’s a good idea to review your entire slide set before your presentation, check for any errors (grammatically and visually) and make sure that all is in order so everything will run smooth once you go live.
Colors have a profound impact on our emotions, and emotions are the driving force behind our decision making. Combinations of colors can create a feeling as well. Red and yellow famously are said to create feelings of hunger, which is why most fast food places feature that color scheme (McDonalds, etc.) in their design. A series of slides featuring red and yellow may have your viewers thinking more about the lunch break than your content. Red as another example can cause unease or signify danger. A presentation heavy in red tones could cause anxiety. Colors can also be used to create a mood, so it’s worth brushing up on colors to ensure maximum impact in a presentation. Here is a good slideshow with some examples:
Also here are some typical color “moods” you can use:
Blue – trust and dependability
Green – energy, fresh, renewable
Red – danger or energy
Purple – royal, mystery, wealth
Brown – stability, comfort
Grey – sophistication, class
White – purity, cleanliness, simple
Computer Screens vs. Video Screens
Keep in mind you are designing on a computer screen but your final output will eventually be a video screen. A lot can happen on the final output. Red graphics that look sharp on your PC can bleed and look fuzzy on a TV. Multiple text paragraphs very readable on a computer can cause a lot of squinting when it’s on a video conference. As you view presentations yourself, keep an eye on what is working and what is not. Using some of these above techniques can improve your impact and keep audience members engaged, both in the room as well as in the video conference.
In order to have a consistent experience across all MaineHealth video conferences, we’ve developed these techniques and protocols to ensure your session is a success. We’re always open to expanding and fine tuning this list, so don’t hesitate to contact us with your suggestions. Feel free to contact us.