Join James Fritz for an in-depth discussion in this video Creative tip: KISS (Keep It Super Simple), part of InDesign CS5: Interactive Documents and Presentations.
I'm sure that at some point in your life you've sat through a bad presentation. While there's no way to ensure that every presentation will be knock-your-socks-off amazing, there are few simple design guidelines that can help you create better presentations. Whenever you are designing a presentation, it's best to keep the KISS principle in mind. KISS stands for Keep It Super Simple. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is quoted a saying "less is more" and with presentations that's absolutely true. You don't want to be putting too much information on a presentation; otherwise you are not going to be able to read what's onscreen.
If you're the one giving the presentation, you can talk and add information that is relevant. You don't need to read the entire slide like a teleprompter. If you feel like you need to add more information, add it. Here's a sample presentation, with a title slide. This title slide is very complicated, with too much information. The title is lost, and it's hard to find, and it's distracting to the viewer. If you were to look at this presentation, you really wouldn't know what it's about. Eventually, you might find the words "Explore California," but there are so many pictures it gets lost inside the slide. If you have to include all of this information, try breaking up into a few different slides.
Have a big headline slide with just a headline and maybe a photo and then put the remaining images on separate slides. Let's take a look at a better version of the cover. Ah! Much better. We have a large photo with negative space for our headline text at the top. From a distance, you'll be able to read this no problem and know exactly what it says. Let's take a look at another page with text. This page has way too much information. I can't read all of this, especially from a distance. I can't make heads or tails of what's going on here. There is "Desert to sea," some small white text I can't read, and then this crazy box with all of this text in here.
For a presentation, no one can follow what's going on. You really want to limit what you're putting on the page. For the bullets, we might want to move this information to a separate slide. We can just put the relevant topics, and we don't have to put all of the sentences. You could read that yourself from notes. As for the type, you might want to increase its size. The headline could be at least 50-point and for the body text or the subhead maybe about 30-point. You can always go bigger and maybe a little smaller, but you don't want to get it too small; otherwise someone from the other side of the room wouldn't be able to your read your text. We also have too much text over here. Having an entire paragraph, I can't really read all of this.
You might want to limit it to just a few sentences. Let's take a look at a cleaner version of this. Ah! That's much better. Now, we can see the text, and we can read the headline and the subhead. It's readable from a distance, and it's clear and to the point. Now, let's explore the effects. We are going to learning how to create amazing animations and effects in this title, but we need to restrain ourselves from using them too much. Looking at this, someone pressed every single button that's in the program. Just because something's in the program, doesn't mean you should use it. If you make everything bold, nothing is bold; animation effects should be treated the same way.
Use them when they need to be used in an appropriate manner, but don't use them for the sake of using them. Here is a better version. We have duration, cost, and departure slowly fade in. Nice and tasteful, and it's direct to the point. We don't have to wait a few moments for everything to coming. It happens very quickly, and we are ready to go. Remember that these are guidelines. Just because I mentioned that headlines should be at least a certain size, doesn't mean that you can never make them smaller. As with most guidelines of design, they are meant to be broken once you understand why they exist.
- Studying new trends in digital design
- Creating a PDF and SWF presentation
- Building different navigation systems
- Creating interactive slideshows
- Animating a presentation as a SWF in InDesign
- Designing an interactive microsite
- Adding video and audio to a document
- Building an interactive TOC with buttons
- Using InDesign and Flash to build an interactive catalog
- InDesign to Flash production tips
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: I am having trouble creating a YouTube-linked video to play on a page in SWF or interactive PDF. I've followed the tutorial, but I keep getting a message that the video should be Flash compliant. How do I link directly to a YouTube video?
A: It is not possible to link directly to a YouTube video through copy and pasting the URL on the page. In order to link to the video, you need the exact link to the .flv video file.
Are the source files for the interactive publication Born Presents still available? www.adobe.com/products/indesign/customers doesn't seem to be working.
Unfortunately, the content is no longer available on Adobe's site. However, the files are currently available at http://download.macromedia.com/pub/indesign/born_bookpreview_source.zip.
The author also posted an article related to the project at http://indesignsecrets.com/born-presents-interactive-publication-with-source-files.php.
Q: When I add audio to my multi-page project and export it as a PDF, why doesn't the music play past the first page?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to have an MP3 play across multiple pages of a PDF. It looks like you could because of the wording of the Media panel when you have an MP3 selected, but that isn't the case. You can have an MP3 play across pages of a SWF, which is why that option exists.
This is an inconvenience, but we're not aware of a way around this limitation inside a PDF. You could try making one really big PDF and have buttons jump to another part of the page (using anchors), but every one would have to be on 1 page.
Q: Why does an ugly gray box appear when the audio is played. The author keeps the audio on the pasteboard, which for me, does not play the audio at all when exported. It only plays when on the page.
A: If you are seeing a gray box, make sure that you have set a poster for the audio file. Select the frame and open the Media panel, where you can select your own raster image as a poster frame or just leave it as none. You could also check to see if your frame has a fill applied to it, since there is a chance you could have accidentally applied an
object style or a fill.