Jan 8, 2012

PowerPoint Disaster: Sample Slides

A few days back I received a PPT from a leading market research agency in India. Being a presentations blogger, I critically evaluate every presentation I get. This is part of my job you can say. This PPT had so many drawbacks that it merits a dedicated blog post. "How not to make your slides." The problem was with the slides. The look and feel of it. How easy was it to understand and how 'polished' it looked. I am not commenting on the message and text.

If senior managers in India's top research agencies are making such slides, I am concerned how are other people faring. This needs to change. I am going to pick 3 slides from this presentation, change its content to maintain privacy and show you what went wrong. DO NOT READ THE CONTENT of these slides. I have typed some random words. What we are looking these slides for is the design.

Here is the opening slide

This slide was the first to hit me. The slide is badly organised. The image is pixellated (you can see the dots), the text is not aligned and the overall feel is bad. Puts you off as soon as you open the PPT.

Here is another slide

The problem with this flow chart is that it looks ugly and is tough to follow because the arrows are very thin and the arrow headers are almost invisible. The flow of a flow chart needs to be simple to comprehend. Moreover, the different colours and sizes of rectangles create a complex image. When slides are emailed and no one is there to personally explain what's happening, the simplicity of content matters more.

Here is the last one

This one beats me. What on Earth is this visual? Is this a simple arrow which goes up (depicting levels) or is it a mountain falling down? This is a classic.

I understand that slide design is just one aspect of a successful presentation and that message is more important than slide design. But if the packaging of your product is ugly, the product itself will look bad. Is it not?