A fresh approach to presentation design

I  recently came across a slide deck posted on Slideshare by Chris Atherton. She’s a psychologist and used to be a Senior Lecturer (formerly Lecturer) in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire. She’s now working as a User Experience Architect for Numiko ltd

The slides are from a presentation Chris made in April at the Leeds Bettakultcha. According to their website this is:

an evening of short talks accompanied by digital slide presentations. The presenters are all volunteers who have based their talk around something that they are passionate about – which can be absolutely anything.

The format of Bettakultcha talks is 20 slides for 15 seconds each (they transition automatically), and you can talk about anything you want, but you have to be concise – no waffling allowed! Chris chose to talk about (what else) psychology.

Too many people use Powerpoint in a bad way – either creating an outline or using it as a script. In either case that results in badly designed, over wordy slides. The slides for a “lecture” type presentation should be visual aids to supplement what the presenter is saying, not to reproduce the talk or act as a teleprompter. They should be visual with minimal words that add to what the speaker is saying. Now this means that if the slides are posted onto Slideshare , where the speaker isn’t present, the slide deck can look pretty meaningless. Chris has got over the problem by annotating the slides with a summary of what she said. The annotations on the slides were added afterwards  so that they make sense to the viewer. They weren’t present on the originals. I’ve noticed that a few people have started to do this and it’s a technique that I’ve started to use with presentations I’ve uploaded to Slideshare.

For this presentation Chris hasn’t used Powerpoint – she’s tried something quite different. The slides are hand drawn on an iPad using the Paper”. It’s a, fresh, original approach. You’d have to be reasonably good at drawing to use it, though.

As well as showing a fresh, innovative approach to slide design, I think that this presentation is a really good example  of how to get a technical topic across to a lay audience in a limited time with well designed slides! I think a lot of occupational hygienists can learn quite a lot from her approach.

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Introduction to Occupational Hygiene

I’ve recently uploaded a new introductory presentation on occupational hygiene to Slideshare. It’s an example of something I’d use for an introductory talk to an undergraduate course or to an audience of safety advisers or occupational health practitioners with limited knowledge of the discipline.

I’ve tried to get away from the usual “death by Powerpoint” type of presentation – making the slides more visual, keeping to one main point per slide and avoiding bullet points as far as possible.

Key steps to control health hazards

At the end of June I was invited to make a presentation to the BOHS workshop on the control of health hazards at work. The key points made are summarised in a previous post.

I’ve finally got round to uploading the slides I used to Slideshare. These days I try not to overload my presentations with bullet points to avoid the risk of “death by Powerpoint” so I’ve added some explanatory text on the individual slides for the Slideshare version.