Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday Night Catch-Up

Most Sunday evenings I spend a little bit of time going through my Bloglines clippings and catching up on things that looked interesting but that I didn't originally take time to read.

First up is a great post over on the Presentation Zen blog on "Slideuments". To sum it up:
The presenter must say to herself: "Do I design visuals that clearly support my live talk or do I create slides that more resemble a document to be read later?" Most presenters compromise and shoot for the middle, resulting in poor supporting visuals for the live talk and a series of document-like slides filled with text and other data that do not read well (and are therefore often not read). These pseudo-documents do not read well because a series of small boxes with text and images on sheets of paper do not a document make. What results from trying to kill two birds with one stone is the "slideument." The slideument isn't effective and it isn't efficient...and it isn't pretty. Based on my trips to the US recently, the slideument appears to be a great burden on corporate America.

I couldn't have said it better! And sadly, I've succumbed to this temptation many many times. Recently, I've gathered the courage to break the mold and stop producing Slideumentation, and it has worked out pretty well. Two pieces of advice I have are to 1) use the Notes section of the Powerpoint slides if you intend to circulate a deck after your presentation and 2) in the year 2006, recording a presentation (audio and/or video) isn't incredibly difficult and solves this problem rather well.

It's really easy to justify Slideumentation - "Oh, but it's just an informal presentation to an internal group of people" or "The audience is very professional and most presentations they see are packed full of bullet points and complex charts". To any of you out there who work in a corporate environment like I do... I strongly challenge you to challenge the status quo here.

Next up, and on a slightly related note (but only coincidentally), check out Seth Godin's talk at Google. I walked away from it with a big list of newly inspired thoughts. The top two were that Godin has nice slides and that the consumer's impressions of a company and/or product brand is more important now than ever before.

If you use Google products, how does Google make you feel? If you use Apple products, how does Apple make you feel? If you use Microsoft products, how does Microsoft make you feel?

I think Microsoft comes out way on the bottom here, and it's one of the biggest challenges facing the company. Now, I could also ask you "How does Walmart make you feel?", and despite all the people in the world who hate Walmart (and still shop there), they still have a pretty successful business, and their success seems rather detached from the way people feel (although it's quite clear that consumer perception is their #1 target in their ad campaigns). My point being that perception is not the only factor that influences success, though certainly highly important. And at the end of the day, who wants to work forbe the company that people don't love?

Third up was a quick little article written by the man BillG himself for Fortune Magazine called How I Work. I think it's cool that BillG watches the blogs. He's said in the past that he reads Engadget. How cool is that. (Notice how all pictures of Bill in his office either don't have windows in the background or have the blinds down? Perhaps it's to protect him from anyone out there who doesn't get the warm fuzzies when they're asked how Microsoft makes them feel. Hmm.)

Fourth, there's what I call Attack of the Design Blogs! Lately, I've added quite a few design blogs to my daily reading list. At the top of my list are, Apartment Therapy (and it's LA cousin), and Better Living Through Design. Scrolling through new posts is totally pleasurable. It's just looking at pretty pictures of "what's cool". Definitely gotta check these out.

And finally, just today I came across The site is full of images released under Creative Commons licenses (for example, the Attribution license), which more or less gives you access to use photos for free as long as you attribute the work to its source. Very cool.

That's all - hope you enjoyed the round-up! I'm always interested in hearing about things you've found to be cool recently too in the comments. Cheers.

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