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Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides

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Title: Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides


1
Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides
Michael Alley Engineering Communication Penn
State January 2007
Zess and Thole, 2001
Templates http//writing.eng.vt.edu/slides.html
Templates http//writing.eng.vt.edu/slides.html
2
Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides
Zess and Thole, 2001
Templates http//writing.eng.vt.edu/slides.html
Templates http//writing.eng.vt.edu/slides.html
3
This presentation presents a slide design that is
more effective than PowerPoints default design
More readily understood
4
Recently, slides following PowerPoints defaults
have received much criticism
Tiresome after two or three slides
Too many words
Parker, 2001 Tufte, 2003 Schwartz,
2003 Keller, 2003
3
5
Our slide design arises from principles of
rhetoric, cognitive psychology, and human factors
6
Fillets reduce leading edge vortices in nature
and in engineering
Rader, 1997
5
7
The sentence headline should state succinctly the
purpose or assertion of the slide
6
8
Computations show that the fillet prevents the
leading edge vortex and delays the passage vortex
Without Fillet
7
9
To make slides memorable, you have to
consider what to include and what to exclude
Not memorable
8
10
To make slides memorable, you have to
consider what to include and what to exclude
Schmidt, 1989
8
11
Bullets are not memorable, because bullets do not
show the connections
  • Accelerometer outputs an analog voltage
  • Hardware converts analog signal to digital
  • Computer samples a number of points
  • Data is exported to popular applications

Shaw and others, 1998
10
12
Audiences can remember more when details are
presented visually
Hardware converts analog signal to digital
Data is exported to popular applications
Robertshaw, 2004
11
13
In a pilot study, we tested this new design in
the teaching slides of a large geology course
Message delivered with typical slide design
Students Fall 2004
Alley et al., 2006
14
Iron
  • An abundant metal, makes up 5.6 of earths crust
  • Properties
  • shaped, sharpened, welded
  • strong, durable
  • Accounts for gt95 of metals used
  • Iron ores discovered in 1844 in Michigans Upper
    Peninsula
  • Soon found other ores in upper Wisconsin and
    Minnesota

Iron Ore Distribution
Kesler 1994
15
Where is the largest concentration of iron ores
in North America?
Iron ores make up 5.6 of the earths crust and
account for 95 of the metals used
Iron Ore Distribution
Iron ore
www.star-bits.com
Can be shaped, sharpened, and welded
Is strong and durable
Kesler 1994
16
When the tested assertion was in the sentence
headline, students performed significantly better
Q How abundant is iron in the earths crust?
Led to 59 recall
Led to 77 recall
Level of significance lt 0.001
Alley et al., 2006
15
17
When answers resided in the sentence headlines,
students scored higher on identical test questions
Q Percentage of worlds resources that the U.S.
uses?
Led to 71 correct
Led to 82 correct
p lt 0.025
Alley et al., 2006
16
18
When the tested assertion was in the sentence
headline, students performed significantly better
Overall percent correct (traditional
headline) 70 Overall percent correct (sentence
headline) 82
p lt 0.001
19
The slide design presented here is more
persuasive than PowerPoints default design
18
Zhu, 2002
20
19
21
Audiences are more likely to believe an argument
if they know the assertions and assumptions
Claim assertion
Warrant assumption
Marthinsen, 2004
Toulmin, 2003
22
In summary, this slide design is much more
effective than PowerPoints default design
more memorable
Templates http//writing.eng.vt.edu/slides.html
23
References Alley, Michael, The Craft of
Scientific Presentations (New York
Springer-Verlag, 2003), chap 4. Alley, Michael,
and Kathryn A. Neeley, "Rethinking the Design of
Presentation Slides A Case for Sentence
Headlines and Visual Evidence," Technical
Communication, vol. 52, no. 4 (Nov. 2005), pp.
417-426. Alley, Michael, Madeline Schreiber,
Katrina Ramsdell, and John Muffo, "How the Design
of Headlines in Presentation Slides Affects
Audience Retention," Technical Communication,
vol. 53, no. 2 (May 2006), pp. 225-234.
Atkinson, Cliff, Beyond Bullet Points How to
Use Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations
That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Redmond, WA
Microsoft Press, 2005). Carney, Russell N., and
Joel R. Levin, Pictorial Illustrations Still
Improve Students Learning from Text,
Educational Psychology Review, vol. 14, no. 1
(March 2002), pp. 526. Doumont, Jean-luc, "The
Cognitive Style of PowerPoint Not All Slides Are
Evil, Technical Communication, vol. 52, no. 1
(February 2005), pp. 64-70. Gottlieb, Larry,
"New-Breed Presentationists Sometimes Closely
Collaborate on Presentations," Proceedings of the
1984 Professional Communication Society
Conference of the IEEE (Atlantic City, NJ IEEE,
October 10-12, 1984). Marthinsen, Gunnhild, Jan
Lifjeld, and Liv Wennerberg, "Population
Differentiation in Dunlins Caladris alpine in
Northern Europe," presentation (Oslo, Norway
University of Oslo, 12 June 2004). Robertshaw,
Harry, Class Period 15 Signals and Systems,
Classroom presentation in ME 4005 (Blacksburg,
VA, Virginia Tech, 16 March 2004). Schmidt,
Cynthia, Methods to Reduce Sulfur Dioxide
Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants,
Presentation (Austin, Texas University of Texas
at Austin, December 1989). Shaw, Gordon, Robert
Brown, and Philip Bromiley, Strategic Stories
How 3M Is Rewriting Business Planning, Harvard
Business Review, (MayJune, 1998), pp.
4150. Zess, Gary, and Karen Thole,
Computational Design and Experimental Evaluation
of Using a Leading Edge Fillet on a Gas Turbine
Vane, Proceedings of the ASME Turbo Exposition,
2001-GT-404 (New Orleans IGTI, 5 June
2001). Zhu, Julie, IDEAS Simulation of Thermal
Stresses Between Substrate and Copper Stripes
with Different Widths, Presentation (Blacksburg,
VA Virginia Tech, 2 May 2002).
18
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