A start-up called Pitch recently received significant funding based on a market valuation of $600m. Not quite Unicorn status…but close. Its promise? To prompt people to rethink their approach to creating a slide deck. They help remote teams collaborate, create media-rich slides and track consumption of content.
It looks cool. The presentation visuals are sparkly. The user interface is impressive. But what if it’s missing the point?
PowerPoint and assorted also-rans in the presentation sector (Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi) are constantly improving their interface, collaboration and sharing tools to improve the user experience. Shortcuts to image libraries and AI-driven layout options are tremendous time-saving tools for the presenter, but the poor soul sat in the audience is getting little to no benefit.
Nice looking slides do not a valuable presentation make. Once again, the design tail is wagging the presentation dog. The presenter is the focus of the innovation, and the audience is left wanting.
This obsession with ‘nice’ looking presentation slides (image, font, layout) is the reason that we’re seeing a rise in Slide Farms. These offshore PowerPoint factories have one simple purpose – to add a touch of sparkle to your ppt slides. They’ll do this overnight for the time-poor (at a cost) or take their time to ensure brand compliance (eventually). They are the human equivalent of the increasingly effective AI engine within PowerPoint that suggests layouts and colour schemes (think of Clippy on steroids).
And while there is a place for them (no one wants to present an ugly slide), they uniformly miss out on the needs of the most important stakeholder in any presentation, the audience.
- Where’s the story?
- Where’s the structure?
- Where’s the content review (and the gentle guiding hand that gets rid of 50% irrelevant noise)?
- Where’s the Call to Action?
To reiterate our position on this hot topic, let us be clear – obsessing over presentation design is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. Pretty on the outside but missing out on the huge potential that a well crafted presentation will deliver.
In the latest of our In Conversation videos, we discuss the influence of Slide Farms and how they are inadvertently feeding the PowerPoint Monster.
Make no bones about it – the world needs fewer ppt slides. And the slides that remain need to be better.
No Slide Farm has yet to deliver on this. And until they do, audiences will continue to suffer, and opportunities will be lost.
Presentation Performance Review: