Month: February 2013

Presentation Design – Keeping it Simple

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I have to admit that when it comes to giving presentations, I am far from being the greatest presenter of all time.  There is one thing that I can control before ever getting up to give a presentation, that one thing is: DESIGN.  Some people do not use any type of presentation program to give a presentation.  For those of you who use presentation programs or are thinking about it, then this post is for you!

 When designing a presentation there are a few things I like to keep in mind, like:  

  • what images will support my story or information
  • how many words I REALLY need per slide to get a point across (the fewer the better, I want the audience to focus on what I am saying)
  • the fonts I will use (1-2 font types)
  • the color scheme

Information – Try to get your point across with fewer words. One idea or point per slide.  Slides do not cost anything and you can spend as little or much time on a slide as you need. You can hand out the presentation afterwards with notes on information you spoke to.   You want your audience to pay attention to what you are saying.  You do not want your audience reading your slides instead of listening.

Fonts – For a cleaner look use fewer fonts.  I generally pick 1-2 fonts for a presentation; 1 serif font and 1 sans-serif but I know for some people the golden rule is 1-3 font types.

Images – Use stock images, royalty free images or Microsoft photographs.  A picture is worth 1,000 words, which is why you don’t need to use 1,000 words.  Avoid clipart because it is less lifelike and can look childish. Use images that are relevant to your topic. 


Below are two examples of slides that I created.  The slides are about dog breeds.

The first is cleaner cut and focuses on one point at a time; the goldendoodle is the topic.  The presenter would talk about traits of the goldendoodle. 

The second slide is cluttered, uses more than 3 fonts, uses bullet points that are not needed and has too much information on one slide.  The second slide covers information that does not need to be covered at the same time; therefore the information can be placed on three separate slides.

Slide26Clean cut – One font, one word and good use of space







Slide25Cluttered – Too many fonts, too much text and overlapping of photos







– Melissa.


Here are some resources on how to create visually appealing presentations:

 You Suck at PowerPoint  by Jesse Desjardins– 5 Shocking Mistakes You Need to Avoid, covers topics such as:

  • Too much information
  • Not enough visuals
  • Horrible quality
  • Visual vomit
  • Lack of preparation

Death by PowerPoint by Alexei Kapterev, covers topics such as:

  • Significance
  • Structure
  • Simplicity
  • Rehersal

J. Clark Gardner’s Videos on the ADDIE Model

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While I was doing some research on instructional design resources, I stumbled upon a few great videos on the ADDIE model.   

In five videos, J. Clark Gardner gives an overview of each phase of the ADDIE Model. ADDIE is a process model commonly followed by instructional designers in order to create training. ADDIE covers analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.

I enjoyed watching Gardner’s videos because they are short and to the point.  Gardner describes the ADDIE process using examples that tie into everyday life, the corporate realm, the education realm and beyond. In the video on the analysis phase Gardner covers instructional goals, instructional/learner analysis and learning objectives.

As Gardner’s first example he uses pizza making, specifically pepperoni pizza.  I like the example he uses in the introduction because making a pizza is topic that is easy to understand. How Gardner covers the topic also shows the importance of analysis. Check out Gardner’s video below on the analysis phase.

Check out J. Clark Gardner’s YouTube page to view the rest of the ADDIE videos.

– Melissa.