Saturday, February 24, 2007

Singapore design

"10TouchPoints seeks to demystify design.
Not just about relative coolness and high prices, or what you see on the glossy pages for the hip and rich. Design makes up what is around you. Design is about the relationships people forge with things. Design is thus something we value as it has an effect on how we get to work, better communicate and the energy we save."

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Lessons from airports

Customer Experience Crossroads makes design notes while at the airport.
Including this:
[Photo of sign-- Do not sit on baggage conveyor]

When you have to have a lot of signs telling people not to do something, you have a design issue. Wouldn't it make sense to do one of the following things:

1. design the carousel so you can't sit on it, or
2. design the carousel so you can sit on it safely, or
3. provide more seating
4. Or a combination of all of the above

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Death to PowerPoint

Fast Company writes on Death To PowerPoint

1. Limit the number of slides. These days, it is not unusual for a 30-minute presentation to contain 30-40 slides. THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH! Think about it from the audience point of view: They have to sit there and listen to a disembodied voice read to them. They have better ways to spend their time. When it's me in the audience being bored, I just wish the presenter had sent the presentation to me and let me read it at my leisure rather than forcing me to attend the event. Bottom line, for a 30-minute presentation, choose the 5-10 most important slides. (Hint: 5 is better –- and so much braver –- than 10.)

2. Limit the information on each slide. There should be no more than 4-5 bulleted items or chart items on a slide. The fewer, the better. These can be fragments. You don't have to write complete sentences or include every thought you've ever had on the subject. These bullets should function as triggers or cues for elaboration. I once watched a terrific presentation by the president of a major ad agency whose slides each consisted of a single statement –- no headers, no details, very powerful.

3. Make sure the slide is readable. How many times have you found yourself struggling to read a slide because the font was too small? This is another happy outcome of cramming too much info onto a slide. Have mercy on your audience. Body copy should be at least 18 points. 20+ is better.

4. Use message titles. Instead of a slide with a headline that says "Performance," which in reality tells nothing about performance, consider a more complete thought such as "Company X significantly outperformed the S&P through 12/31/06". If you're stuck, you can often find the makings of a message title in your very first point on the slide. If you do nothing else as a result of reading this post, do this.

5. Use animation and other bells and whistles sparingly. Most of the effects PowerPoint offers are useless. There is, however, at least one winning effect, the slide transition, "cover down." This effect creates a smooth, professional transition from slide to slide and far outperforms the default transition. Make sure you click "apply to all." If you're bent on animating the information on the slide, experiment with those in the "peek" and "wipe" categories.

6. Automate effects as much as possible. There may be an item or two on an occasional slide that you would like to control by mouse click, but if you're clicking for each item to appear, trust me, it's too much work for you and too much "noise" for the audience.

7. Make liberal use of the "B" key. Most people don't know this, but if you press the letter B on your keyboard during a PowerPoint presentation, the screen will go dark. This is a wonderful feature if, for example, you get into an audience discussion and want to eliminate the distraction of the projected image. When you're ready to move on, press B again and you'll be right where you left off.

8. Do not use a laser pointer. I don't know whose brilliant idea this little piece of technology was, but not only is it distracting, it is quite ineffective, magnifying every movement or tremor of your hand. Can you say Stage Fright?