Gone are the days of boring presentations, static websites and unwieldy posters. New emerging technologies are changing the way we live our lives. Now, design is as important as the information itself. If you have attended recent trade shows or conventions focusing on new innovations, you have probably seen touch screen computers and monitors.
New touch screen technology is slowly emerging out of your smartphones and merging into different screens. It opens new possibilities of presenting information, whether in a meeting or advertisements in public places.
As a designer, how can you harness touch screen technology?
Let’s start with the basics: color. Color has been used in marketing for decades. It is used to project emotions, highlight important data, and catch attention. Usually, in a presentation, important words are highlighted in red, supporting information is usually in neutral colors like blue and the rest are in standard black. This traditional way of presenting information is no longer applicable especially when you are using interactive touch screens.
By merging gesture and information, you no longer have to awkwardly go back to your laptop to press “enter” for the slide to move forward. Instead of changing the font color, use images to underscore important points. Change the background of the slide itself to represent the mood you are trying to convey. Use colors with different depth to attract people visually and group different information in your presentation. By combining color and layout, you can create engaging presentations. Speaking of layout…
How you arrange information in a screen is very important to get your point across. Avoid cramming all information in just a few slides. Remember, you are still the focus and the presentation should serve as a support media.
The trend in design nowadays is to go minimalist. Observe how new websites present information and products. Pages usually show large images with very little words. There is a sharp focus on what the website is all about. This helps users, whose attention is limited, understand the message of the website right away. You can bring these new design ideas to your presentations.
Create menus that hide itself on the side of the screen. Important points in your presentation should dominate the slide while you provide the details. You can then tap the screen to reveal supporting points as you go along. A layout with large negative spaces and cleaner design helps the audience focus. You will also avoid accidentally tapping parts of your presentation while you present.
Gesture has been a part of human interaction for thousands of years. We’ve been using it to engage others and show information that words cannot express. Presentation should also have the ability to showcase information not only with words and images but through movement. Interactive touch screens smoothly combine your movement and the elements in your presentation.
Make the elements of your presentation move as you interact with them. Tapping, dragging, and highlighting points in the slide help make a presentation interesting. For example, when you are discussing related ideas, you can drag them in a corner of the screen. You can then connect them with other groups of information. This does not only make the presentation interesting but, aids the audience in visualizing your ideas.
We know from high school that traditional presentations are boring. It is because of its linear nature that makes it predictable. When using a gesture-based presentation tool, forget about bullet points. Create a dashboard that summarizes the topics that you are going to discuss. Each topic should transition into more detailed slide as you tap them. You can then go back to the dashboard to continue with the other parts of the presentation.
Observe how websites structure their pages. You don’t have to go through each web page to get to the “Contact us” section, right? Make it easy for your audience to compartmentalize ideas and information. This could also help you go back to previous slides when needed.
Part of an effective presentation is including your audience in the discussion. People’s attention is very short and they need to see new things constantly. You can create a “back channel” for your audience. Let the audience use hashtags to post their questions and comments on Twitter and Facebook. You can then set a section of your screen to scroll through posts and tweets real-time. Question and comments can then be addressed as you go along the presentation. You can highlight relevant posts by dragging them into your presentation or highlighting them as you discuss.
Be aware though that this type of “back channel” creates a very spontaneous presentation. You should know what you are talking about and be ready to address and react to all possible situations.
Just remember that gesture media and interactive presentations are supposed to help you. Your knowledge and expertise should be the priority in any showcase or presentation.
Author Bio: Anna Rodriguez is a training manager for a real estate company in the Philippines. She writes online from time to time and maintains her own blog.
header image courtesy of Canadian Film Club