10 June 2023

The Zen of Presentations, Part 74: Design your slides for your audience, not social media

 Recently I spotted this conference slide shared on Twitter.

Widescreen slide with four paragraphs of text

A slide with no visuals, just a wide screen of four paragraphs of text.

I thought we had all agreed not to do these any more?

At first I thought this was just crazy, but then I realized there might (and I stress might) be a something else at play here: social media. Typically, a good slide for a presentation is visual and had minimal text. The speaker provides the words, not the slide.

But a disadvantage of slides that are well designed for the audience is that they don’t make much sense without the speaker. They lack context. They aren’t portable.

This slide is the conference equivalent of someone taking screenshots of newspaper articles to get around Twitter’s character limits. Sure, the slide sucks for the audience in the room, but it’s great if you share it on Twitter, since the slide leaves no doubt exactly what the person’s point is.

I’m now very nervous that we’re going to start seeing conference slides backsliding into the old bad habits of “death by PowerPoint¨ with huge blocks of text that people will read, word for word, with the excuse being that “more people will share it on socials.”

Please make your slides for the audience in the room with you. It’s respectful. You want to share something on social media? Design something specifically for Twitter or INstagram or Bluesky or whatever.

06 June 2023

DORA roundtable round-up and new crayfish preprint

I have two new things to read (if you’re so inclined).

First, I have a summary of my last month’s “Publisher bans & DORA” roundtable on the DORA website.

Second, I have a new preprint on regulating crayfish as pets. Saskatchewan banned a couple of crayfish species. Did passing a law do what it was supposed to - change the availability of the crayfish and make them less likely to be introduced? Maybe yes? 

This is currently in review, so I hope that there will be an official version of record later. I’ll maybe talk more about the backstory if I can get this into a journal.

External links

Publisher bans & DORA guest blog post

Online advertisements for crayfish decrease after a provincial ban