English
6700

Technical Editing & Production

Spring
2012

 

Oral presentations

Readings

Visuals for Speaking Presentations

Effective PowerPoint presentations

Perceptions of Clarity and Attractiveness in PowerPoint Graph Slides

Managing Three Mediation Effects that Influence PowerPoint Deck Authoring

Tufte, Edward.  PowerPoint is Evil.

Don McMillan: Life After Death by PowerPoint   (YouTube video)

Homework

Answer these questions and email me your answers.
The answers must be in your own words and not a cut&paste from another source.

1. What are the problems with using lots of PowerPoint's bells & whistles (screen fades, sounds, etc) when designing a presentation

2. How do you know when a slide has the proper amount of content?

3. How much will people tend to remember from a presentation and how do you design the presentation to meet that limitation?

Discussion questions

Q1.

In "Visuals for Speaking Presentations" a consistent theme was that presenters acknowledge the importance of audience, but don't bother to research it and don't consciously apply what they do know. It also says they lack real training in how to perform the analysis. From your other coursework, you've should have heard repeatedly how rhetoric is all about understanding the audience. What have you learned in concrete terms about how to understand and design for an audience? (I'm thinking here of going beyond statements like "I'm always concerned that I use words the audience knows." Duh, but how do you know what words the audience knows?). How much of communication failure stems from failing to understand the audience needs? And for that matter, much superficial audience analysis tends to be demographics (ages 25-30, most of college education, etc). How does this fail to connect to and differ from audience needs.

weak answer Through much of the coursework, a central theme has been understanding the audience or user. It is imperative to understand how, when, and why the user will engage with the material you design. If you don’t understand your audience, you likely will design or write documents that are ineffective. For example, if your audience is comprised of advanced users, and you write a manual for novice users, the manual will be a failure due to inadequate understanding of the audience. While demographics may be helpful in some areas, if this is the only audience assessment that is done, it provides little useful information about the audience. Indeed, it would contribute to the creation of a stereotypical audience (30 year olds are X, 40 year olds like Y, etc.). This fabricated audience may have little in common with the real, target audience, and the document in question would miss the mark.

Q2.

How do deck authors illustrate hierarchical relationships in slide design? In what ways do overflow distortion, content cutting, and slide title flattening violate the deck’s logical hierarchy? How does an author maintain visual hierarchy in slide presentations?

weak answer Content cutting can degrade the visual design and cause unattractive inconsistencies. Content cutting violates the deck's logical hierarchy by eliminating informative text and graphical content to fit the available space. Overflow distortion violates the deck's logical hierarchy by allowing text and graphics to spill over to an additional slide or slides which violates logical subordination of ideas. Slide title flattening violates the deck's logical hierarchy by presenting all slide titles at the same font size thereby masking the hierarchical distinctions.

 

 

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