I often — like you I bet — have to make slide decks fast, very fast, and need them not to look like what I made back in the 8th grade. I’ve taken classes on slide design, made a few 1,000 myself, and I’d admit that never have I been able to quickly, easily, and reliably been able to make a professional, yet human deck in under 30 minutes. That ought to change, I think. The modern web is just too good for this to be so hard.
So here’s my pitch:
- Slides should be fast and easy to create and not ever strain the eyes of your audience
- You should be able to create slides through just your browser and they should work everywhere and anywhere (and yes, that means you fonts)
- Never should there be faked 3D animation — or animation of any kind — projected by an adult.
A simple theory of slides
There are basically four types of slides that you should ever really want to have:
Photo slides should be simple, beautiful, powerful — and most of all easy to include and optimize:
- Smart search from flickr, instagram, Facebook and other social image platforms for super simple starts
- Instagram-style and -ease filtering and cropping to add charm
- And automated permalinking, attribution, and short link to be a good person
Quote slides should let the words do the talking:
- Smart search from quote websites and copy/paste functionality from websites/blogs for quick starts
- Big, bold, and mostly universally accessible fonts to make sure the words are heard
- Option for photo-slides as backgrounds to spruce them up (optional, not required)
A charts slide should convey one point, and one point only as simply as possible; that means using chart and graph styles that people actually know and understand:
- Sync up with Google Sheets and then restyle with D3 and a clean CSS for beautiful, simple bar, line, and pie charts (that’s it)
- Smart copy/paste functionality to take Excel data into a non-Excel looking chart
- Only a few “process” charts (read: a vegan diet of SmartCharts): linear, hierarchy, and cycle
Screenshot slides should be just like a screenshot: fast, easy, and reliable:
- Just type in a url and automatically pull in a recent (but then archived) shot of a URL to get things going
- Super simple cropping and filtering functionality just like photos
- Stored archives of your past screenshots for posterities sake since, well, sometimes websites fail
Let’s go make this happen. A world of current and future procrastinating presenters will be forever at your mercy.