Nov 11, 2009

Expert's choice survey: What presentation bloggers like...

Two weeks back I conducted a survey among prominent presentation bloggers (most of whom are on my blog roll). I asked them some questions. Questions you face everytime you make a presentation. What background colour should I use? Which font should I use? Should I use transitions and animations in my presentations? Here are the results.

1. Which background colour do you use most often?

Even though blue is the most used background colour in the world, the clear choice between the expert's was 'white'. White is a nice colour for backgrounds and it allows you full freedom in designing your slides. Contrast this to black or other darker backgrounds and you will face issues in placing images and choosing font colours. With a white colour on the back, you have more options to play with.

2. What is your favourite font type?

There was no unanimous answer here. Most liked fonts were (in order of their popularity): Arial, Verdana and Calibri. One thing was however unanimous. Everyone prefers a sans serif font for their presentations because serif fonts look better when you are reading printed text. To understand the type of fonts and their usage I suggest you read this post.

3. How many fonts do you use in a presentation?

When it comes to using different fonts in a presentation, the opinion is divided. Half of the experts use only one font and the other half only uses two font types in a presentation. Lessons for all of us: Avoid using many font types in a presentation. Stick to one or at maximum two (possibly, one for the header and one for the body).

4. How often do you use animation?

Between the options Never, Rare, Often and Everytime, most experts went for often. The understanding for all of us is not to shy away from using animations. There is nothing 'childish' or 'casual (as opposed to formal)' in using animations. It all depends on how you use them. Excess is always bad, but totally avoiding it is not prudent either. Read more on when to use animation here.

5. How often do you use slide transitions?

Between the same options;
Never, Rare, Often and Everytime 50% of the experts said they never use transition and the remaining 50% said they use it rarely. That should discourage you from using transitions as well. Slide transitions are better avoided. You can read more on slide transitions here.

This small survey has clearly brought to light some interesting findings. I have summarise them once again for you.

1. Prefer a white background colour for your slides
2. Choose a sans serif font type (Arial, Verdana, Calibri, etc)
3. Do not use more than 2 different font types in one presentation
4. Learn how to use animation to your maximum benefit. Do not shy away from using it
5. Avoid slide transitions unless they really make sense

Image credit: