Alley, Michael and Kathryn A. Neeley
Technical Communication Online
The traditional design of presentation slides calls for a phrase headline supported by a bulleted list. Recently, many critics have challenged the effectiveness of this design. This article argues for a significantly different design that offers numerous advantages in most communication contexts but that is particularly well suited to technical presentations. Originating at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and refined in more than 400 critique sessions at Virginia Tech, this alternative design is characterized by a succinct sentence headline supported by visual evidence. What distinguishes this design from other visual -evidence designs are its specific layout and typography guidelines, which were chosen to make the communication efficient, memorable, and persuasive. Although more difficult to construct than the traditional design, the alternative design shows much promise as a more effective means of conveying technical information to various audiences. This article outlines the key advantages and challenges of using this design, and concludes by assessing attempts to disseminate this design through lectures, workshops, and the Web.