Xie Kai is the project lead of the PowerPointLabs project which is a free PowerPoint add-in containing many productivity features, including the Picture Slides Lab feature.
In this interview, Xie talks about the Picture Slides Lab component of the PowerPointLabs PowerPoint add-in.
Geetesh: Xie, can you tell us about the new Picture Slides Lab feature in your PowerPoint Labs add-in—what motivated you to create these picture/text layouts?
Xie: Picture Slides Lab (PSL) helps users create better picture slides (slides with a big picture and a bit of text) with much less effort. Given below are some examples of picture slides created using PSL.
Although a picture slide looks simple, it takes many steps to create one: search for a suitable picture, copy-paste on the slide, resize, crop, send the picture behind the text, tweak text style, and so on. With PSL, we can create a picture slides with just a few clicks. The reason for this increased productivity is because PSL allows users to design slides using a compare-and-choose approach instead of the usual trial-and-error approach: For example, normally we have to try putting the text on different locations on the slides to find the most suitable location for it. In contrast, PSL allows us to do a side-by-side comparison of text positions in and choose the one that looks best in one step, as shown in the screenshot below.
Geetesh: Can you share some ideas about how and where such slides can be used? Also what is the feedback you have received from existing users?
Xie: Picture slides work great when you want to use slides with one dominating picture and a little bit of text on it. You can see the picture slides format being used a lot in TED talks. If designed well, picture slides can maintain audiences’ attention and provide the context to the speaker’s delivery. Modern day slide design gurus such as Nancy Duarte (author of Slide:lology) and Garr Reynolds (author of the Presentation Zen series) have very good advice on how to design slides in this format.
As for user feedback, I’m happy to report the initial user feedback for Picture Slides Lab has been very positive so far. We want every PowerPoint user to use PSL to create great looking picture slides, and that’s why we have made it available for free.