John Bevan from BrightCarbon has over eight years’ experience in creating compelling, clear, and persuasive visual presentations. John has recently helped to develop Visual Conversations for iPad – a service designed to create effective material for sales teams using iPad. John is based out of Singapore, but also works with companies in Europe and the USA.
In this conversation, John discusses the specialized needs of iPad capable presentations.
Geetesh: How is designing presentations for the iPad different than doing it within PowerPoint or Keynote on the desktop?
John: Form follows function -– you need to consider how and where the presentation is going to be used, and I think when we look at the role that iPads are starting to play in meetings, there are a few important considerations.
If you’re using animation in the slides (which you certainly should be), then you need a way to get them to run properly. Most converters out there either turn presentations into a series of static images or a self-running MP4 movie. So you either lose the compelling quality of the slide builds, or you need to keep pausing and restarting — both of which can make it very difficult to keep the flow going. Fortunately SlideShark appears to have solved the problem and we’re looking forward immensely to seeing how that platform evolves.
With that in mind, slide builds are a really important attribute of any iPad presentation. If you can pace the flow of information to the audience by showing information building up on the slide in a sequence, then you can compel people to keep watching –- a bit like they do in the movies, where there is always something happening. Every presentation is different, but if you can make something change on the screen every 20-30 seconds then you’ve probably got the balance right.
In terms of graphics, obviously the iPad’s display is far more reliable than that of projectors, but the old common-sense guidelines about minimum font sizes of 20 or 24 point and decent contrast ratios should still apply. Design has some room to evolve – we’re starting to move away from the traditional ‘framed’ background designs and title bars, and using the screen real estate more dynamically.
But I think the most interesting difference is the entirely new conversational dynamic that the iPad brings to meetings. Suddenly, instead of presenting for twenty minutes with a linear, structured deck of slides, you can have a range of visual stories, visual explanations, visual calculation tools, and visual demonstrations up your sleeve. Depending on how the conversation unfolds, you could open up a slide to explain something, or pass the iPad over for the other person to draw something or interact directly with your content. That’s a much more natural way to share ideas, it lets you build rapport faster, get closer to your audience and engage with them at a much deeper level.
Geetesh: What services does BrightCarbon offer that lets presenters be equipped with more compelling, iPad optimized presentations?
John: We think conversational presenting is the future, so we offer a Visual Conversations for iPad service to really open up the full potential of the device. We develop a set of presentation topics –- non-linear presentation content as well as interactive materials like polls, sketchbooks, and custom calculators that can be opened up and used at key points during the conversation. Imagine just pulling up a couple of slides that exactly relate to a pain point your prospect just mentioned, then handing them a ‘wish list’ survey to complete which you can save and review later, sketching a development timeline together, and then letting them play with an app that shows them their projected ROI. You’re using interactive visuals that actually support and enhance each unique conversation. People appreciate and enjoy that degree of interaction and participation, they open up more, and so you can learn more about their situation and what they need.
We also include iPad optimization as standard on all our Presentation Creation packages, for when people still need a linear presentation that they might try presenting on iPad when the opportunity comes up. So we’ll make sure the slides display correctly and present clearly on the small screen, and use animations that translate well to the iPad too. We also provide customers with instructions and recommendations on how to deploy the presentation onto iPads to make sure they’re off to the right start.
01: iPad Presenting – First Questions First
02: Presenter’s View in PowerPoint on iPad
03: Air Display – Conversation with Dave Howell
04: Add an Apple TV
05: What is AirPlay?
06: Connecting a TV or Projector to Apple TV
07: Wired iPad to VGA with the Apple Digital AV Adapter
08: Business use of Tablet Computing Surges
09: Picture Slides on the iPad