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Using Graphics to Present Information. Preparing viewer-friendly graphics. Viewer Friendly means . . . from the viewer’s point of view!. Taken from “Hoover Deep Draft Caisson Vessel in Perspective” by Sandstrom, Slocum and Heideman with ExxonMobil.

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using graphics to present information
Using Graphics to Present Information

Preparing viewer-friendly graphics

viewer friendly means
Viewer Friendly means . . .

from the viewer’s point of view!

Taken from “Hoover Deep Draft Caisson Vessel in Perspective” by Sandstrom, Slocum and Heideman with ExxonMobil
Begin planning visuals as soon as outline is completed.
  • Plan on using 20-25 slides for a 20-25 minute talk.
    • Temptation is to have too many!
  • Consider all delivery methods
    • You might consider other methods in addition to computer projection.
creating visuals
Creating Visuals
  • Simplify the proposal or report graphics (graphs, tables, etc.)
  • Think BIG.
  • Include mapping visuals.
use both kinds of visuals

maps structure of talk

mostly words


graphs, bar charts, etc.

mostly images

Use Both Kinds of Visuals

Design Criteria

Compatibility with current software

Cost to develop

Cost to consumer

Adherence to industry standards

presentations allow parallel processing of information
Presentations allow parallel processing of information.
  • Hearing and reading
  • Words and images
  • Make full use of this double opportunity
    • Use wordsas images
    • Make visual anything you can (even processes and concepts)
first two slides of a presentation
First Two Slides of a Presentation
  • Title slide
    • Includes your name and affiliation
    • Usually includes date.
    • Often includes name of event
  • Agenda or Outline slide
    • Introduces topics, concepts, information to be discussed
    • Don’t make this generic!
hillary hart dept of civil engineering university of texas at austin
Hillary Hart

Dept. of Civil Engineering

University of Texas at Austin

Communicating Environmental Risks with Stakeholders

STC Conference

May 2005

  • Research objectives
  • Background
  • Methodology
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusions
design guidelines for slides
Design Guidelines for Slides
  • Design each slide to make one main point.
    • Two visuals may be better than one.
  • Use 20-24 pt. minimum font for text.
    • Use 18 pt. minimum font for axes
    • Sans serif font projects best (Arial, etc.).
  • Use few words; separate with lots of white space.
    • No more than 7-8 lines
    • No more than 7-9 words/line
more guidelines
More Guidelines
  • Be sure each visual makes the right point and emphasizes the right things.
  • Avoid clutter. Insert only essential points on graph.
powerpoint pointers
PowerPoint Pointers
  • Use the design templates rather than the “AutoContent” wizard. Or customize slide master.
  • Be careful about colors – use very dark text on very light background or vice versa.
    • Avoid red text
  • Either keep slides consistent in design or vary according to subject matter.
  • Experiment with animations and dimming, but be cautious.
consider using short sentence for title
Consider using short sentence for title.
  • Consider using title font smaller than the default.
  • Consider putting as much information as possible in visual form.
how you present the data can mean the difference between life and death
How you present the data can mean the difference between life and death.
  • See two slides (actual and after-the-fact) on p. 7 of Dag Knudsen’s presentation (10/4).
  • See Tufte’s famous “damage index” – a better way to present information about the possible o-ring failure that caused the Challenger disaster.
    • from Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions
Data on o-ring damage in field tests were used to calculate damage scores. Scores were then plotted against temperature.
guidelines for visuals delivery
Guidelines for Visuals: Delivery
  • Leave up visual only as long as you’re talking about it.
  • Remember that YOU must still be the focus.