Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chapter 1--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 1

Tweaking Presentations

This chapter begins by relating to the reader the horrifying

experience that it is to sit through your typical Powerpoint

presentation. Having that as a starting point, Dr. Lynell Burmark, then begins

by giving the reader a set of clues that, she assures, will dramatically improve

the look and effectiveness of any presentation. She begins by stating, (rightly so

in my opinion), that backgrounds should not compete with the content; that

they serve as a surface to place elements. It is here that she points out the

importance of color as they increase reading comprehension and learning in

general. But she points out that color that distracts is worse than no color at,

adding also that color should not offend your audience (imagine presenting to

a group of Aggies using white and orange as your theme colors) get the

point. Dr. Burmark interestingly points out that the average slide contains forty

words, hinting that these maybe way too many for your slide to be effective in

delivering information. She points out that an effective slide should be able to

deliver its content within 3 seconds, just like a billboard on the highway. Dr.

Burmark process into some typographical tips such as recommending to use

widely kerned fonts, such as Georgia and Verdana, the use of lowercase, and

varying the leading (space between the lines) as it improves legibility and gives

your audience visual tips on what's more important. She finishes the chapter

by stating that Helvetica should be avoided unless you want to be confused

with the IRS, and that as a rule of thumb you should not have more than two

typefaces on one slide.

I agreed more than disagreed with what Dr. Burmark presented

in this first chapter. I can totally identify with what I snobbishly

consider a lack of taste and minimalistic presentation. We as presenters

need to become better at organizing information to make it visually

attractive to our audience; I couldn't agree more with Dr. Burmark

on this point. Yet, being admittedly a Helvetica fanatic, I don't agree

with her IRS-ish views on the font. But I am not surprised either. As

seen on the documentary Helvetica one can see that this font is a world

of controversy in the typographical world, apparently having its fanboys

and haters at each others' throat.

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