Ten Presentation Trends to Watch Out For in 2016

While some of them may exist only for the sake of aesthetics, others have been adopted to suit the needs and preferences of modern-day consumers. For example, the use of flat design, many experts say, is more than just the latest craze; it responds to the fact that realist elements are very hard to incorporate into responsive systems designed for screens of all sizes.

To keep you up to date with the latest design techniques, we’ve compiled a list of presentation design techniques that will help you create a presentation that looks fresh and contemporary–just like the content you will hopefully deliver to your audiences.

1. Immersive photography

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Stunning, oversized images will continue to dominate presentation design in 2016, especially in line with the trend of cutting down on text and using images instead to drive home a message.

These large, beautiful background images and video not only serve to captivate your audience’s attention, but they also set the tone for your presentation and provide an immersive setting that transports viewers to a completely different scene.

2. Scrolling presentations

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Remember when you used to create a printed version of your slide deck to hand out to your audience? Well, those days are gone. While this was good practice in the sense that it gave listeners some key takeaways that they could review at their own pace to refresh the information relayed, using this as the only method of delivery is a bit outdated.

Nowadays, it is easier to simply provide audience members access to your slides in the form of a scrolling presentation that looks very much like a web page, as seen in the example above.

Instead of sending emails with large attachments, you can simply send a link to your website. If done right, your website should have a responsive design that allows content to be viewed across a wide range of platforms. Whether on a tablet, a laptop, a PC or a mobile device, your slides can be easily viewed from anywhere.

Another advantage is that in comparison with static PDF files, scrolling presentations allow you to add more interactive and immersive elements, such as videos, surveys, quizzes or forms.

Although some users prefer clicking to scrolling, the consensus leans toward long scrolling as a popular usability option that is used by content-heavy sites, such as digital newspapers and blogs.

3. Stock Photo alternatives

Eco-nomics, The hidden costs of consumption from Josh Beatty

Overused stock photos are just as bad–if not worse–as bullet points and text-heavy slides. In their stead, other forms of visual representation are being used to communicate ideas in a fresh and appealing way.

Take a look at the presentation above, for example. Here, playful graphics in combination with a small amount of text are used to send a powerful message.

4. Creative illustrations

How Google Works from Eric Schmidt

Another effective alternative to the ubiquitous stock photo is hand-drawn elements and custom illustrations. If done correctly, these unique design elements can draw attention to your slide deck like nothing else can.

For example, Eric Schmidt, Google’s ex-CEO, used this approach in the slide deck above. As you can see, it gives the presentation a very playful, personable and creative touch.

5. Graphics and Storytelling

Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint from HighSpark

As we’ve said many times before, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a communicator can possess. It not only gets your message across more effectively during your presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable so that concepts stick for months, even years after your ideas were first relayed.

If this weren’t enough, storytelling could be even more effective when combined with visuals. Take, for example, the presentation above. If you click through the entire slide deck, you’ll find an invisible thread that ties each of the different slides together, in such a way that you feel you’re being told a story. Every image perfectly complements–instead of repeats–each of the carefully chosen phrases and words.

6. Flat design

2015 Travel Trends from Creative Lodging Solutions

Whatever is trending in the graphic design world usually makes its way into the most modern-looking slide decks.

The presentation above, for example, incorporates flat design principles to create a clean and minimalist look.

7. Originality

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Another way to attract attention is to create something original; something with your own personal touch.

A perfect example of this is Doug Kessler’s presentation on finding meaning in B2B marketing, seen above. Here, we see that the same background image is used throughout, giving viewers the sense that the presenter is sharing intimate thoughts from his personal journal.

This is also a perfect example of how a clear storyline is combined with attractive visuals in the form of colorful doodles and big, bold text. This not only attracts the reader as they read or hear the presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable since it mimics an informal conversation or a riveting story told by an expert narrator.

8. Creative Use of Typography

Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. From Velocity Partners

Another way to showcase your creative side is to play with typography to get your message across. In the simple presentation above, for example, the author only uses typography, spacing and symbols to send a very clear message that makes a lasting impression.

9. Effective Use of Colors

What Would Steve Do? from HubSpot

Not only does typography send a message all on its own; colors do as well.

Take the above presentation. If you look at slides 16 to 31, you’ll find that the use of bright, bold accent colors contrasts perfectly with the darker, subdued background color–which works in unison with the animation effects to create a perfectly weaved storyline that drives a crystal clear message home.

10. Creating Content for the Context

You Suck At PowerPoint! from Jesse Desjardins

Another trend–which will simply be a continuation of the present–is the creation of presentations designed specifically for their context.

The above slide deck, for example, was designed to be published online rather than to be delivered as a live presentation.

About the Author

Nayomi Chibana

Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. She has an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Hamburg in Germany and was an editor of a leading Latin American political investigative magazine for several years. She has a passion for researching trends in interactive long form media.  She can be reached via email at nayomi@hindsiteinc.com or on Twitter at @nchibana.

Here’s What PowerPoint 2016 Can (and Can’t) Do For You

It’s time to talk about PowerPoint 2016, since it’s been out for a few weeks now. Here’s a screenshot of it.

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Different Look

With each release, the look is a little different. The tab titles are no longer all upper case and have returned to the 2010 (and previous) initial caps. Upper case letters are considered a little harder to read — keep that in mind when creating slide titles.

You have a choice of three color variations. The one you see above is called Colorful. To change the “Office Theme” — called that just to confuse you and make it sound like the type of Office theme that lets you create backgrounds, theme colors, and font sets — choose File, Options.

In the General category, choose one of the Office Theme options. Here you see the others: Dark Gray and White (which looks like PowerPoint 2013).

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powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-4a‘Tell Me What to Do’

There’s a new Help feature called “Tell me what you want to do.”  It’s at the upper-right of the PowerPoint 2016 window. While you can access the standard Help content there, the unique aspect of it is that when you type something and choose one of the options that are presented, PowerPoint opens the actual interface right there so you can use it.

It’s great for people of a certain age, like me, who read instructions and then can’t remember all the steps when I return to PowerPoint to actually try to do them.

For example, if I type “Save a theme” and choose Themes, I see the screen below, where I can actually choose Save the Current Theme.  I’m not sure how much I’ll use this — I know PowerPoint pretty well! — but I like the idea.

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Use Smart Lookup

You can right-click a word and choose Smart Lookup to open the Insights task pane with links to definitions from Wikipedia and other places on the Internet. You’ll also get an image search. It’s all powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

General tip: Be very afraid of online image search! While the process tries to find images with Creative Commons licenses (for which you generally need to provide attribution), it’s often impossible to check the license.

6 New Chart Types

  • Treemap: Treemap charts are popular these days and they provide a hierarchical view of your data. The hierarchy levels are called branch, stem, and leaf. Each value is shown by the size of a rectangle. Treemap charts are good for comparing proportions and can show a lot of data in a small space. See the treemap below.
  • Sunburst: A sunburst chart also shows hierarchical data, but in layers around a center. A sunburst chart shows how one ring is broken into its components. See the sunburst below.
  • Box and Whisker: A box and whisker chart distributes data into quartiles, showing the mean and outliers. “Box” refers to a basic column chart, but lines extending above and below (whiskers) indicate variability outside the upper and lower quartiles. Any point outside those lines or whiskers is an outlier. Box and whisker charts are often used in statistical analysis.
  • Histogram: A histogram is a column chart that shows the frequency of data. It’s also used in statistical analysis. Bins are ranges, so the results show how many data points are in each range. You can use the Automatic option or specify your own bins by formatting the axis. See the histogram below.
  • Pareto (a histogram option): A Pareto chart is a variation of a histogram. The columns are shown in descending order and a line (actually a curve) shows the cumulative value of the columns. See the histogram/Pareto chart below.
  • Waterfall: A waterfall chart shows a running total that adds or subtracts subsequent values. You might use a waterfall chart for financial results, since income (positive values) and expenses (negative values) affect initial revenue. See the waterfall chart below.

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A treemap chart

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A sunburst chart

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A histogram/Pareto chart

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A waterfall chart

Easier Math Equations

Mathematical equations have always been difficult to create, with all of those numerators, denominators, square roots, squares, etc. I explained the old Equation Editor in “How to display equations and formulas in PowerPoint.” It’s so much easier to just write them, and now you can.

If you have a touch device, you can use your finger or  a stylus; if not, you can use your mouse. The only problem is that it doesn’t work too well. Here’s my attempt at the quadratic equation. Can you read my “handwriting” done with my mouse? People beat out computers, don’t they?

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powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-10More Shape Styles

When you insert a shape, you can quickly choose a style for it from the Shape Styles gallery. These styles have changed slightly — and I think Microsoft applied the change to 2013 as well, if you’re updated. I might be wrong about this. In 2007 and 2010, the last row is a 3D look and that’s now gone. (3D is now out of favor in design circles and I like the flat look, but sometimes the design police think they can tell us what we should like.)

There are now 5 more rows of styles, which are called presets. (I don’t know why they’re called that, as all of the styles are really presets.) What I do like is that some of them have transparent and semi-transparent fills.

Insert a Screen Capture Recording as a Video

In PowerPoint 2013, you could take a screen capture and insert it on your slide. Now, you can now include screen recordings as well! Go to Insert > Screen recording, select a region of your screen to record, and specify if you want to include the mouse pointer and audio. The click the Record button and record your video. You press Windows logo + Shift + Q to stop recording and then you’ll find the video on your current slide. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

Higher Video Resolution

When you export your presentation as a video, you can create a file with resolution as high as 1920 x 1080. This is ideal for large screens. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

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…and more

If you keep presentations on OneDrive or Sharepoint there are also new options for easier sharing, better collaboration, and improved version history.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein is a PowerPoint MVP who can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information visit www.ellenfinkelstein.com

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