Join Bill Shander for an in-depth discussion in this video What about leave-behinds, smart guy?, part of Data Visualization for Data Analysts.
- As I said in the previous movie about simplification, when in doubt, just do less. Show less detail, use less information, edit, remove, simplify, et cetera. But, like I said, this does take work. But without exception, the excuse I always hear, especially from my data analyst clients, is that they have to show all the data. Sometimes it's because they feel they need to back up every point they're making with minutiae and details, and I can usually get them past that argument. But I never win the next most common argument, which is that the PowerPoint or PDF they're creating is a leave behind, not just a presentation, not just speaker support.
It's the common refrain that I always hear, and to be honest, it is a fair point. If you are creating a leave behind, so you won't be there to walk the audience through the data, then you may have to include more details. But, and this is critical, that does not give you carte blanche to put every detail back in that I might have just started to convince you should come out. You should still work hard to critically approach your decisions, and only include what you must include, given that reality. Now, even a leave behind need not overwhelm your audience. It doesn't have to be a mile deep, right? Also, if you're presenting your findings and then leaving a leave behind, then create two versions of your presentation.
The first version is the one you'll present, and the second is the leave behind. This isn't as much work as it sounds. Simply create the cluttered version of your slides, hopefully not too cluttered, save the file; think of this like your engineer's spec version, right? Everything may be important, so include it if you must. So like in this spec diagram here, you need all these measurements, right? The engineers need this stuff. But, you save a copy, that's for the presentation, and you do your editing and slimming down in that version. You only include the top most important detail for this version that you're gonna present, right? The main point is this 16, this measure of 16, all the rest of it is just noise.
And of course, you can also use builds. Let's say you're creating a PowerPoint, right, you create your hopefully not too cluttered slide with more detail, and then you just hide some of those details in a build of that slide that won't appear until a mouse click, right? This way you can present the simpler version, go to the more detailed view in the meeting if you must, and when you print or save the PDF, the full build of the slide is what will be captured, so you're maximizing details for that audience while minimizing it for your presentation. Now that we've covered our 10 easy lessons plus this bonus video, we can move on to some accessible examples of putting these lessons into practice.
- Why visual communications matter, and how they work
- Communicating via story
- Communicating with color
- Using legends and sources
- Sketching and wireframing
- Rethinking slides, charts, and diagrams
- Rethinking your templates and brand guidelines