Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Information Design: Learn How To Clean-Up PowerPoint-Generated Statistical Graphs - Free Webinar

Nonetheless we are surrounded by the tools and features that automatically generate statistical graphs and charts, the majority of the diagrams shown during any typical conference or workshop presentation are nothing that I would call legible or understandable information.


Too many years of Microsoft PowerPoint and its embedded Microsoft Graph engine have shaped a whole generation of professionals and serious academics to take PowerPoint generated graphs and charts as the "norm" for communicating statistical information, forgetting completely to question, investigate and genuinely learn what it does take to make information graphics effectively legible and easily understood by their readers.

Under the excuse that "this is how everybody else does it", countless communication officers dilute their credibility by preparing statistical graphs that do nothing but reveal their complete lack of visual communication knowledge or skill. Not only. Such presenters are often characterized by a strong ego-centrical approach to communicating, sharing and educating and I often find that they also take into very little account the ability of their audiences to appreciate and make sense of their presentation work.
To be nice, I could say that the problem rests only with the tool and its obnoxious default settings for creating statistical graphs.

To be true, I would say that the problem is mostly caused by our inability to understand that without understanding of the communication principles behind effective visual display of information, which most of us lack, we are left to believe that what PowerPoint has set up for us with the data we have input must be a good starting point to communicate our information.

And that is where we fail.

Unless we first understand some of the basics of good information design, there is no way that we are going to get anything effective out of PowerPoint stats module.

But what can you do to unchain yourself from PowerPoint strong graph-making legacy?

How do you unlearn years of graphs-creation in which every single design component you used was probably a communication insult to the reader?



The default statistical graph design that PowerPoint provides to all users - unless you change it yourself, this is how your statistical graph will look

The best way to do this is to become more aware of some of the key visual communication fundamentals, regulating how information can be effectively transmitted to others when arranged in a visual display format.

No, nothing to get scared about. The whole field of research related to this is actually truly fascinating and it is generally referred to as Information Design. Edward Tufte is without doubt the best book author you can find in this field and by reading is luscious coffee-table books you can indeed learn a lot about what makes the communication of information through visual displays effective. I myself, owe a great part of what I know about Information Design to Dr Tufte, and have over the years strongly incorporated his teachings into my own daily design work.

But if you want to see Information Design principles put to work against the backdrop of a typical PowerPoint-generated statistical graph, I have some interesting news for you: Next Wednesday, I am running an online live webinar in which I will showcase how much useless ink there is in the many default components of a default Microsoft PowerPoint graph, and how much more legible and understandable your statistical graph will be if you get rid of them.


Here is the official announcement:

If you have attended any professional presentation using PowerPoint, you know how annoying those poorly made statistical slides are (you know, the ones where you can't make immediate sense out of the bars and numbers).

But these presentation flaws can easily be avoided by becoming aware of a few fundamental "information design" guidelines that help make the numbers talk and keep the fluff from confusing your audience.

Join me and my GoToMeeting sponsor for a live webinar next week, on May 23, to learn what are the invisible Information Design variables that you can use to make your PowerPoint and Excel charts more readable and effective.

I will showcase ten or more information design guidelines that you can immediately put to use to improve the legibility and effectiveness of your statistical graphs.

Topic: Design Professional Charts in PowerPoint

Speaker: Robin Good, Executive Editor,

Date: Tuesday, May 23 2006

11 AM PDT (San Francisco)
2 PM EDT (New York)
7 PM GMT (London)

At this Webinar I will:

  • Point out the pitfalls of PowerPoint's default features

  • Demonstrate how to turn an ugly PowerPoint presentation into something legible and professional

Click below to register now:

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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, May 20 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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