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PRESENTING DATA IN
       POWERPOINT
       Practical advice on slide design

        22 June 2012


DIGITAL ◊   PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊   STRATEGY   © 2012 Matt Hunter
What are we covering today?




 • Slide design        • Physical                   • Vocal delivery   • Word choice
   for heavy             delivery
   data                                             • Vocal ‘tics’     • Directive
                       • Presenting                                      language
 • Slide design          slides
   for non-data                                                        • Active speech

 • Answer first/                                                       • Bad habits
   Pyramid
   Principle



                   This presentation is about one
                        important niche area
                                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
Overview

   • This presentation is a re-worked version of a
     one-hour lecture presented at Tsinghua
     University,Beijing (清华大学)for students on
     the International MBA; with additional
     explanations for Slideshare users


   • Our objectives are to:
     -Motivate you to improve your data slides
     -Give you some clear guidance on how to improve
      your data slides
     -Turn you into a force for good in the world of
      business & PowerPoint




                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
All third party information featured in the presentation slides remains
the intellectual property of their respective originators. All use of
information is done under the fair use copyright principal, and I do
not assert any claim of copyright for any quotation, statistic, fact,
figure, data or any other content that has been sourced from the
public domain. Whilst efforts are made to ensure accuracy, no
warranties can be given.

I do assert a claim of copyright for my domains, matthunter.com, my
site design, slide design, database design, look and feel, and my logo
(“the cube”).

The core material in this work is shared under a creative commons
licence [attribution 3.0 unported (CC by 3.0)]. Readers are free to
share (copy, redistribute, transmit) and remix (adapt the work),
including for commercial use; but must properly attribute the original
work to me. Such attribution should not suggest that I make any
endorsement of the user or their derived use of my material.


Further viewing of this presentation indicates your understanding of
and consent to these conditions.




         DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY
                            © 2012 Matt Hunter
AGENDA
  Why Presenting Data in
  PowerPoint matters

  5 Principles of Good Slide
  Design

  Slide Dissection

  Reflection

  About
               © 2012 Matt Hunter
Sometimes, you get to present unusual,
exciting stuff




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
More often, you just have to present
stacks of data




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
People make judgements about the quality of
your work based on just your PowerPoint




                                        (You and a
                                        handful of
                                        PowerPoint
                                        slides)




 (Hundreds of
 hours of
 market
 research,
 Excel
 analysis,
 crunching
 accounts, …)

                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Poor PowerPoint can limit your career

                                       • Your work is worthless
                                         unless people act on it


                                       • If your slides are
                                         unclear, you force
                                         people to think too
                                         much


                                       • The more effort people
                                         must exert to
                                         understand you, the
                                         greater the chance
                                         they will ignore you
                                       •



                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Remember your objectives when you are
making data slides
• Most presentations aim to achieve agreement on a
  course of action
• By the end of the meeting, you want to have moved
  people closer to making a valuable decision
• To do this, you establish credibility and build trust
• You string together a series of logical statements that
  lead to your conclusion
• You use data as supporting evidence that the
  statements are correct
• If the data is clear, reliable and agrees with your
  interpretation, your audience believes your story
• Gaining credibility and trust, you persuade
  your audience to accept your recommendation
                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
Our focus right now is on making the
“supporting evidence” do its job well




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Of course, not all presentations are exactly
the same




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Sometimes, the data might not be central



• A large audience (Conference, annual general meeting)
  is probably there for entertainment, not statistics


• An initial chat with investors might focus on broad
  concepts – not an illustrated business forecast


• A 500 word blog post probably doesn’t have enough
  reader engagement to need heavy-duty data the whole
  way through



                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
In these special settings, you can bend the
rules
                                   Original alternatives to
                                   graphs and charts can
                                   amuse an audience &
                                   express your

                                   creativity
                                   In a day full of corporate
                                   presentations, being the
                                   special guy can help you
                                   to be remembered



                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
In the usual corporate setting, more formal
rules apply
• You want people to focus on your content
  not your presentation


• Graphs and tables need to convey information,
  not distract from your message


• Clarity and credibility are paramount




          Follow the principles described
                in this presentation
                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
AGENDA
  Why Presenting Data in
  PowerPoint matters

  5 Principles of Good Slide
  Design

  Slide Dissection

  Reflection

  About
               © 2012 Matt Hunter
5 Key Principles




    © 2012 Matt Hunter
Principle #1:
Help the eye to compare the data




            © 2012 Matt Hunter
Imagine…


 After 100 hours of work, you’ve finally completed the
        critical analysis your team needs to see

               The results are amazing

           You can’t wait to tell your team

    You print out the spread sheet & call a meeting




                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
When you show your team, you feel the
evidence is clear




                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
But your team sees things differently




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Human brains aren’t designed for reading
spread sheets
Cognition happens in the
cerebral cortex at the
front of the brain
•   Recently evolved
•   Still in Beta
•   Slow, with limited bandwidth


Seeing happens in the
visual cortex at the back
of the brain
•   Pre-attentive visual processing
    automatically occurs in the
    brain prior to conscious
    awareness

•   Specialist neurons make us
    receptive to size, colour,
    intensity, shape, …

•   And we remember pictures
    better than facts
                                      © 2012 Matt Hunter   2
So - present the data in a way which makes
the most of human capabilities
                                 • Humans can visually
                                   perceive 2D space well


                                 • But humans struggle
                                   with lots of other things
                                       -Estimating depth
                                       -Estimating colour intensity
                                       -Measuring distance on a
                                        curve



                                 • And some things people
                                   cannot judge accurately
                                   at all

                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Can you pick out the highest dot?
  Can you pick out two dots close together?




Source: Juice Analytics   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Can you pick out the highest dot?
  Can you pick out two dots close together?




                           Judging distance in two
                          dimensions is pretty easy
Source: Juice Analytics           © 2012 Matt Hunter
Can you find the tallest? The shortest?




Source: Juice Analytics   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Can you find the tallest? The shortest?




Source: Juice Analytics   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Judging relative height in 2D is pretty simple




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Which bars are widest? Thinnest?




Source: Juice Analytics   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Which bars are widest? Thinnest?




Source: Juice Analytics   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Judging width is more difficult




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Which is the largest piece?




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Judging distance on a curve is difficult




                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
What values are shown in the graph?

                 3D Perspective               • The chart on the left appears
                   Problems                     to show that:
                                                Column A is a little under 1
      3                                         Column B is a little under 2
                                                Column C is a little under 3


       2



       1



        0
             Column
                    Column
                A          Column
                       B
                              C

Source: Juice Analytics             © 2012 Matt Hunter
What values are shown in the graph?

                 3D Perspective               • The chart on the left appears
                   Problems                     to show that:
                                                Column A is a little under 1
      3                                         Column B is a little under 2
                                                Column C is a little under 3


       2                                      • However, the data in the graph
                                                is:
                                                Column A = 1
       1                                        Column B = 2
                                                Column C = 3

        0
             Column
                    Column
                A          Column
                       B
                              C

Source: Juice Analytics             © 2012 Matt Hunter
3 Dimensions can makes things needlessly
complex




                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
This has strong implications for how we
  visualise data
           Human capability                                                Implication
  • People can judge some things very                          • Bar charts and dot plots work with our
    accurately:                                                  natural strengths
       - Length of a line, position of
         something in 2D space, …




  • People judge some things semi-                             • Pie-charts and area graphs test our
    inaccurately:                                                abilities and should be used sparingly
       - Width, area, length of a curved line,
         …




  • And some things people cannot                              • Never make 2D graphs into 3D graphs
    judge accurately at all
       - Three dimensions is tough



Source: Juice Analytics                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
Let’s talk about colour




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Which dot catches your attention?




             Colour guides the eye:
               use for emphasis
                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
However, remember that the meaning of
colour is NOT universal




                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
Using a culturally inappropriate colour
scheme can confuse you audience



100%                                100%


 75%                                    75%


 50%                                    50%


 25%                                    25%


  0%                                    0%
         Stuff                                Stuff

                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Generally, corporate presenters favour
conservative colour schemes




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
This means gentle gradient colour schemes
are fashionable
               Forecast Profit Before Tax, '07-'15
 Profit Before Tax
 (£ Million)
                     Historic data                       Forecast data
  160
                                                                               Legend: Product Lines
  140                                                                              Other
  120
                                                                                   Van
  100
                                                                                   Energy
   80
   60                                                                              Travel

   40                                                                              Personal
   20                                                                              Loans

     0
  -20     07     08       09         10   11 F12         F13     F14     F15
                                          Year


                                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
This means gentle gradient colour schemes
are fashionable
    But being “tooProfit Before Tax, '07-'15
         Forecast gentle” can cause problems
 Profit Before Tax
 (£ Million)
                     Historic data                       Forecast data
  160
                                                                               Legend: Product Lines
  140                                                                              Other
  120
                                                                                   Van
  100
                                                                                   Energy
   80
   60                                                                              Travel

   40                                                                              Personal
   20                                                                              Loans

     0
  -20     07     08       09         10   11 F12         F13     F14     F15
                                          Year


                                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
This means gentle gradient colour schemes
are fashionable
    But being “tooProfit Before Tax, '07-'15
         Forecast gentle” can cause problems

    Readers can’t easily pick out each data
 Profit Before Tax
 (£ Million)
           Historic data     Forecast data
    series
  160
                                           Legend: Product Lines
  140                                                            Other
  120
                                                                 Van
  100
                                                                 Energy
   80
   60                                                            Travel

   40                                                            Personal
   20                                                            Loans

     0
  -20     07     08   09   10   11 F12         F13   F14   F15
                                Year


                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
And colour gradation has its own meaning




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Avoid excessive colour contrast




         High contrast images can confuse
         the eye, making static imagines
         appear to move and pulse
                     © 2012 Matt Hunter
Strong (but inoffensive) colour clashes come
  from opposite sides of a “colour wheel”




Source: Kingdom of Style   © 2012 Matt Hunter
The brain is highly attentive to colour –
make conscious use of this
• Use differentiated colours to mark out different
  series


• Use colour gradations to portray a general
  trend in something


• Be aware of colour weaknesses
  -Avoid very high contrast colour combinations which
   can annoy the eye
  -Around 1/10th of Western males over the age of 40 are
   partially colour blind and struggle to discern the
   difference between blue and green
  -The colour red communicates different meanings in
   different cultures (Danger Vs. Luck)

                           © 2012 Matt Hunter
What does all this mean for how we present
  data?
                                 • Bar graphs, line charts and scatter
                                   plots work well with our natural
                                   abilities – use abundantly


                                 • Pie charts, bubble charts and other
                                   area graphs are more troublesome
                                   – use with reservation


                                 • People are poor at judging
                                   anything in 3D so never needlessly
                                   add 3D effects to things


                                 • And colour is hugely powerful - but
                                   always consider possible cultural
                                   bias before use




Image: Rollins College   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Principle #2:
Tell the truth




   © 2012 Matt Hunter
What is wrong here?

Sales ($US)   Bamburger Department Store Retail Sales, 2008-2010
     25


     24


     23


     22


     21


     20


     19


     18
               2008                  2009                2010




                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
Because the Axis doesn’t start at zero, chart
“lies”

Sales ($US)   Bamburger Department Store Retail Sales, 2008-2010
     25


     24


     23


     22


     21


     20


     19


     18
               2008                  2009                2010



     2009 sales appear twice as tall (suggesting twice
     as big) as 2008. In reality, they are just 10%
     more
                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
Q: Which firm has the lowest level of
     purchases?
              Firm A                        Firm B                        Firm C
          Annual Purchases,             Annual Purchases,             Annual Purchases,
               '06-'15                       '06-'15                       '06-'15

US$ Billion                   US$ Billion                   US$ Billion
15                            11                            10

14                                                           9
                              10
13                                                           8

12                             9                             7

11                                                           6
                               8
10                                                           5
                               7
 9                                                           4

 8                             6                             3

 7                                                           2
                               5
 6                                                           1

 5                             4                             -




                                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
They are all the same - All show identical
     data but with different scales on the Y-axes
            Firm A                      Firm B                    Firm C
        Annual Purchases,           Annual Purchases,         Annual Purchases,
             '06-'15                     '06-'15                   '06-'15

15                           11                         10

14                                                       9
                             10
13                                                       8

12                            9                          7

11                                                       6
                              8
10                                                       5
                              7
 9                                                       4

 8                            6                          3

 7                                                       2
                              5
 6                                                       1

 5                            4                          -




     Mixing up scales on Y-axes means we can’t compare the height of
          the line from graph to another. This is a common way to
                      “accidentally lie” to your audience
                                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Keeping Axes the same between slides sometimes means
leaving a lot of white space on one slide…

                             Scenario 1
  Business Unit PBT (£M)                                  NPV 08-15: £307M
 £200          Axis maximum value is chosen to make
               comparison with the values on the next slide
 £180
               easy
 £160
 £140
 £120
 £100
  £80
  £60
  £40                                                                      Product 3
  £20                                                                      Product 2
                                                                           Product 1
   £0
        2007   2008   2009   2010     2011         2012   2013   2014   2015




                              © 2012 Matt Hunter
…but this ensures the change in values on the next
slide is properly understood

                             Scenario 2
  Business Unit PBT (£M)                                  NPV 08-15: £632M
 £200
 £180
                                                                           Product 3
 £160
 £140                                                                      Product 2
 £120
 £100
  £80
  £60                                                                      Product 1
  £40
  £20
   £0
        2007   2008   2009   2010     2011         2012   2013   2014   2015




                              © 2012 Matt Hunter
Beware of truncated axes

 • People lie with axes more than they realise
   -PowerPoint & Excel will often automatically reset the Y-axis
    to a number greater than zero
   -When you are being lazy and copying and pasting other
    people’s graphs into your presentation, the odds are every
    graph will use a slightly different scale
   -Shifting the Y-axis between graphs on different slides
    makes it extremely difficult to compare data


 • This breaks one of the most important rules about
   being honest with data:

  If a number is 2X as big as another, the bar
  should be 2X as long (or the height of a line
  twice as high)
                           © 2012 Matt Hunter
In an effort to make presentations “more
  interesting” many lies are told




         • Here a money bag is used                          • In this version, a single
           to represent $1 million and                         icon has been scaled up.
           two moneys bags to                                  However, now it is roughly
           represent $2m, a sum                                twice the HEIGHT & twice
           which is twice as much.                             the WIDTH of the $1 million
           Twice the sum = twice the                           bag: making it more like 4x
           area                                                the area for just 2x the
                                                               sum




Source: United Nations Statistical Commission   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Finally, the triple threat: 3D, curves and
  abuse of area
   As described earlier, humans
   struggle to judge angles or
   distance on a curve, and struggle
   to perceive things intended to be
   in three dimensions. For these
   reasons alone, 3D pie charts are
   to be avoided.


   However, there is another
   problem. We’ve also established
   that when we use area to
   represent data, the amount of
   area something occupies should
   be proportional to the sum
   represented. In the given chart,
   the 3D angle and depth effect
   used means segments at the
   “front” of the pie chart receive
   more visible chart area than those
   at the back. This chart is hard
   to read, and it lies to the
   audience.
Source: United Nations Statistical Commission   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Key lessons from this section


                          • The length of bars should be directly
                            proportional to the value they
                            represent (if a number is 2x bigger,
                            the bar should be 2x longer)




                          • When using areas, the area should
                            be proportional to the value
                            represented (if a number is 2x bigger,
                            the area used should be 2x as big)




Source: Juice Analytics             © 2012 Matt Hunter
Principle #3:
Take away the distractions




         © 2012 Matt Hunter
Fundamental rule of chart design




                         Reduce                                      Increase
                       chart junk                                 data:ink ratio
                   (Anything repetitive,                          (Communicate meaning)
                ornamental or distracting)



Source: Edward Tufte                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
What is the main problem here?


                                          Total Sales Revenue Before & After
                              6,000,000
 Total weekly sales revenue




                              5,000,000



                              4,000,000



                              3,000,000



                              2,000,000



                              1,000,000



                                     0




                                              10
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                                              12
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                                                9
                                                1
                                                2
                                                3
                                                4
                                                5
                                                6
                                                7
                                                8
                                                9




                                                2
                                                3
                                          After 1
                                                   “Before” Hunter
                                                       © 2012 Matt        “After”
The eye tries to make a line
– so give the eye what is wants

                                          Total Sales Revenue Before & After
                              6,000,000
 Total weekly sales revenue




                              5,000,000



                              4,000,000



                              3,000,000



                              2,000,000



                              1,000,000



                                     0




                                              10
                                              11
                                              10
                                              11
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                                              18
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                                              27




                                              12
                                                4
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                                                8
                                                9
                                                1
                                                2
                                                3
                                                4
                                                5
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                                                8
                                                9




                                                2
                                                3
                                          After 1
                                                   “Before” Hunter
                                                       © 2012 Matt        “After”
Reducing the ink used in a graph usually
helps


            Reducing the ink used in a
                   data slide

                     typically

         reduces the cognitive processing
           the reader has to go through

         & helps the important information

                    stand out



                     © 2012 Matt Hunter
This is Tim Bray’s example in reducing “chart
junk” to a minimum


 1              2                        3




 4              5                        6




                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
Bray’s changes show how less can achieve
more

            Before                                              After




    • Colour background lowers                        • With detail stripped out
      the contrast between the                          the data sits in higher
      bars                                              contrast


    • Gridlines cut across the                        • Simplicity frees the data
      image adding confusion




                                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
Let’s look at the most common distractions


• Colour backgrounds                • Making people turn
                                      their heads

• Over-powered
  gridlines                         • Using too many
                                      digits

• Repetition of
  information                       • Overloading a single
                                      chart or slide




                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
Avoid using strong colour backgrounds

White backgrounds increase the contrast of the data items on your slide,
making comprehension easier


         Weak Contrast                               Strong Contrast
                                                         Strong
  50                                           50
  45                                           45
  40                                           40
  35                                           35
  30                                           30
  25                                           25
  20                                           20
  15                                           15
  10                                           10
   5                                            5
   0                                            0




                  The main possible exception to this rule
                          is the use of gridlines
                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
Gridlines can aid reading – but use with
consideration
If gridlines are used, they need to be visible but easily distinguishable from
the main data line


       Intrusive gridlines                            Assisting gridlines
                                                             Strong
  50                                            50
  45                                            45
  40                                            40
  35                                            35
  30                                            30
  25                                            25
  20                                            20
  15                                            15
  10                                            10
   5                                             5
   0                                             0




                • Use a faint colour that contrasts with
                  the main data
                • Consider using a pale background to
                  lessen the contrast between the
                  gridlines and the background
                                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
Don’t obsessively use titles, legends AND
axis labels
With a single series of data in your chart, you don’t really need to use an
axis label, title and a legend


             Repetition                               High effect
                                                         Strong
  Sales, $     Sales, $                      $           Sales
   50                                        50
   45                                        45
   40                                        40
   35                                        35
                                 Sales
   30                                        30
   25                                        25
   20                                        20
   15                                        15
   10                                        10
    5                                         5
    0                                         0




                          Don’t repeat yourself

                                 © 2012 Matt Hunter
Try not to make people “turn their heads”

Vertical labels aren’t readable. Use a mild angle, or abbreviate labels and
keep them horizontal (“Jan” or “J” vs “January”)


                                   90 degrees                                                                                 45 degrees
                                                                                                                                 Strong
 50                                                                                                                     50
 45                                                                                                                     45
 40                                                                                                                     40
 35                                                                                                                     35
 30                                                                                                                     30
 25                                                                                                                     25
 20                                                                                                                     20
 15                                                                                                                     15
 10                                                                                                                     10
  5                                                                                                                      5
  0                                                                                                                      0
                           March



                                           May
                February




                                                                        September
                                                 June
                                   April




                                                               August
                                                        July
      January




                                                                                    October

                                                                                              November

                                                                                                         December




                                                                          If it is hard to read,
                                                                        assume people won’t try
                                                                                                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
Use fewer digits wherever possible

    • Which is the bigger number:

                             12,573,981 or 11,894,397?

    • To process the relative size of these numbers, the brain goes
      through the following steps:




    • Help the brain – It’s easier to understand if they are written as:

                           12.6 million and 11.9 million
Source: United Nations Statistical Commission , OECD, Local Govt. Dept (Wales)
http://www.unece.org                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
The most common problem with “too many
digits” is on the axes of graphs


                $                 World Rough Diamond Production
20,000,000,000

18,000,000,000

16,000,000,000

14,000,000,000

12,000,000,000

10,000,000,000

 8,000,000,000

 6,000,000,000

 4,000,000,000

 2,000,000,000

            -
                    2006   2007       2008           2009         2010   2011   2012




 Additional zeros do
 not help the reader
                                             © 2012 Matt Hunter
Changing the axis to “billions”, and adding
 totals to each bar, sets the data free


                         World Rough Diamond Production
$Billion
    20
                                                                      17.6
    18                                                         16.9
                                      16.3              15.9
    16                      14.9
    14     13.4   13.3
    12

    10

     8

     6

     4

     2

    -
           2006   2007      2008      2009              2010   2011   2012




                                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Don’t overload a single chart with more
  information than it should handle
                   Version 1: Two data series together

£Billion                        Sales & Profits (2004-2011)
      5


      4
                                                                               Revenue
      3

                                                                               Net Profit
      2


      1


      0


     -1
           2004   2005   2006      2007       2008        2009   2010   2011




                                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
Often a “2 Up” slide allows easier comparison
  than putting all the data in a single chart
                               Version 2: separate charts
                          Sales                                                  Profits
£Billion                                            £Billion
    5                                                     0.4

                                                          0.3
    4
                                                          0.2

    3
                                                          0.1

                                                            0
    2

                                                          -0.1
    1
                                                          -0.2

    0                                                     -0.3
        2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011                  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011




                                              © 2012 Matt Hunter
Remember, you are (usually) allowed to use
more slides
    • How many important points are you trying to make
      for your audience?
        -A rough guide is “one or two points to one
         chart”


    • Just because you can stick all the data in one graph
      or one slide doesn’t mean you should
       -Unless your boss has imposed some crazy limit
        (“Jim, you can only present 5 slides”) remember
        that extra slides are free! Use as many as
        needed to convey your message without confusing
        the audience

       (If you do have a crazy boss, try to negotiate:
       accept a time-limit on your presentation instead
       of a slide limit)

                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
When to stop stripping away distractions?




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Sometimes you can get rid of charts
  completely: tables have their place

              •   Graphs interact with our visual system

              •   Tables interact with our verbal/reasoning system
                   • We process information in a sequential fashion,
                      reading down columns or across rows, comparing
                      one number to another…

              •   Tables force greater mental engagement by the
                  audience, which can be both a pro (more attention) and
                  a con (more chance of audience giving up)


                                   Use tables when:
              •   Readers need to look up or compare individual values

              •   Readers require precise values

              •   Values involve multiple units of measure


Source: Information Builders            © 2012 Matt Hunter
However, bad tables are just as common and
destructive as bad graphs


         Avoid the most pointless errors:

 • Put data that readers must compare into
   columns, not rows


 • Right align data in columns


 • Remove excess digits




                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
Comparison is easier in a column, not a row

Country             Germany                 United Kingdom Luxembourg
Population          81,538,628              58,491,643       406,589

 Working along the row, the eye must jump back and fore to compare the
 digits, with the reader attempting to identify what the value of each digit is



             Country                        Population
             Germany                                     81,538,628
             United Kingdom                              58,491,643
             Luxembourg                                     406,589

 With the digits in a column and right justified, it is easy to compare digits
 in the “tens of millions” column and see Germany is the largest, followed
 by the UK, with Luxembourg far behind




                                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Right justification is the right justification
Slide designers often like to “centre align” tables because it gives a sense
of symmetry - however, it also makes it harder to compare digits. Here, it
almost looks as if Luxembourg has a “4” in the “tens of millions” column

                    Country                            Population
                   Germany                             81,538,628
                United Kingdom                         58,491,643
                  Luxembourg                            406,589



 Right justification keeps the digits aligned and sets the data free

          Country                         Population
          Germany                                            81,538,628
          United Kingdom                                     58,491,643
          Luxembourg                                              406,589



                                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Tables also usually benefit from using fewer
digits
As described earlier, the brain struggles to digest long numbers

       There are too           Check the size of            Right, let’s start
       many digits to deal     the numbers –                comparing ….
       with!                   both millions…




                     Country                            Population
                     Germany                                   81,538,628
                United Kingdom                                 58,491,643
                   Luxembourg                                       406,589

 Cutting out digits saves on brain processing power
          Country                          Population (Millions)
          Germany                                                        81.5
          United Kingdom                                                 58.5
          Luxembourg                                                       0.4
                                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
Principle #4:
Be as complicated as necessary




           © 2012 Matt Hunter
Sometimes PowerPoint makes the news


PA Consulting prepared
the diagram on the next
page when working with
the US Army

It appeared in the New
York Times alongside a
piece that attacked the
military for falling victim
to “Death by PowerPoint”



                      © 2012 Matt Hunter
© 2012 Matt Hunter
The New York Times have no idea what they
are talking about




PA Consulting’s counter insurgency diagram uses the principles of system
dynamics, developed by MIT’s Jay Forrester (pictured). This “influence
diagram” links together the multiple elements at play in the Afghan war. It
assists high-level strategists in identifying points of leverage where
positive or negative feedback allows a small action to have a great
impact. This is not a slide for public consumption by lay people.
But it’s a Powerful piece of work for those who know the tools.
                                © 2012 Matt Hunter
“Lot’s of complicated, difficult to
   understand problems have
   simple, easy to understand
         wrong answers”




              © 2012 Matt Hunter
Be as complex as you need to be


     • PowerPoint users face pressure to be succinct



     • There is a pressure to make things perfectly easy
       for the audience
       (“Keep it simple, stupid”)


     • But PowerPoint is not a substitute
       for thought or dialogue




                Sometimes complexity
                   is appropriate

                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
Principle #5:
Control the audience




      © 2012 Matt Hunter
You can achieve impact with even the worst
slides if you control the audience




                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
Let’s play a game



• On the next page, I will give you some
  numbers that fit a pattern I am thinking of


• When you think you know the pattern, turn the
  page and check whether your answer is correct
  or not




                     © 2012 Matt Hunter
What is the pattern I am thinking of?

• 1,3,5


• 20,22,24


• 1006,1008,1010


• 50,52,54


• 8,10,12

            When you think the know the pattern,
                         turnover
                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
The pattern I am thinking of is…


 • “Any three ascending numbers”


 • Is this what you guessed?
                                            Probably not.


 • Most people will have guessed “numbers rising by
   2” or something similar


 • Why?




                       © 2012 Matt Hunter
Most people don’t assess all the options

• “Numbers rising by 2” is a pattern that fits all the
  examples given - but not the only one


• Most people come up with an hypothesis early on and
  then look at the other sets of numbers to see if the
  hypothesis fits


• If it does, they believe in their first hypothesis – they
  don’t generate more hypotheses, or notice that many
  other hypotheses would also explain the data




                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
This is an example of “confirmation bias”

• Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favour information
  that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses

• People display this bias when they gather or remember
  information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way

• Experiments suggest people are biased towards confirming their
  existing beliefs

• People commonly tend to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing
  on one possibility and ignoring alternatives

• Confirmation bias is mostly driven by a combination of wishful
  thinking and the limited human capacity to process information



                              © 2012 Matt Hunter
In a PowerPoint setting, the headline on a slide can
encourage confirmation bias in the audience

  • A strong headline implants an idea in the minds
    of the audience


  • The audience then views the rest of the slide in
    an attempt to prove / disprove this idea


  • The audience is far less likely to generate their
    own original interpretations of the evidence
    provided on the slide


  • In short, a strong headline controls the
    audience and stops them thinking for
    themselves
                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
Consider the same slide with a passive or strong
headline




• The passive headline tells the audience             • An active headline changes the audience
  what is on the slide, but not what it                 experience
  means                                               • This headline tells the audience to look
• The audience might generate several                   for a dip in emerging markets, followed
  conclusions:                                          by a strong bounce
  “Emerging markets and the S&P 500 are               • The eyes scan the lines and confirm the
  highly correlated”                                    interpretation they have been told to
  “There’s little performance difference                look for
  between the emerging markets and the
  S&P 500”                                            • Most audience members will then
  …                                                     not raise alternative data
                                                        interpretations
                                            © 2012 Matt Hunter
Be aware of what you are doing when you use
strong headlines

Giving your audience strong headlines helps you. By pushing
the audience to focus on things you think are important, you keep a
presentation moving in the direction you have intended, and avoid
lengthy tangential discussions.


Giving your audience strong headlines can also help the audience.
Some of your audience may be uncomfortable reading data (no
matter how well presented) and the assistance a headline gives
removes stress.


However, promoting confirmation bias can also inhibit dialogue.
You can encourage the audience to become passive. You can even
deceive the audience into believing false conclusions.



                 Don’t use headlines for evil
                             © 2012 Matt Hunter
Recap: 5 Key Principles




        © 2012 Matt Hunter
AGENDA
  Why Presenting Data in
  PowerPoint matters

  5 Principles of Good Slide
  Design

  Slide Dissection

  Reflection

  About
               © 2012 Matt Hunter
This section puts things into practice



   • We capture some real world slides in the wild
     and then dissect them


   • These concrete examples demonstrate how
     doing many small things right (or wrong) alters
     the impact of a slide




                        © 2012 Matt Hunter
This slide is functional but could use basic
improvements to aid clarity
Axis has
excess units:
it is in millions
but should be
in billions

                                         Headline is
                                         too passive /
                                         cryptic




3D effect adds
nothing and
makes graphs
harder to read


                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
This Zero2IPO chart makes several basic
 errors
Axis has
excess units:
it is in millions
but should be
in billions
                                                                       This is a two
It’s also not                   There are
                                                                       axis graph but
clear what                      effectively two
                                                                       is unclear
currency this                   chart titles,
                                                                       which data
is, as the                      repeating
                                                                       series goes on
currency                        themselves
                                                                       which axis.
information is                                                         This can be
listed in the                                                          worked out by
legend                                                                 looking at the
                                                                       legend but
                                                                       this is easily
                                                                       missed

Bar totals
have
unnecessary
extra digits,
going to 2
decimal places


Overlapping data series makes it
hard to read individual totals. If all
of this information is actually
important, the author should place
this data on to two separate graphs
                                                  © 2012 Matt Hunter
This bubble chart loses impact because the
 axes are unclear and the headline is passive
                             Passive headline




Rotated
axis is                                         Circle colour gradients
hard to                                         make overlapping objects
read                                            easier to see



                                                                       X-Axis label is
                                                                       hard to find




                   © 2012 Matt Hunter
The below chart is ineffective and contains
 area-lies
Size difference
between pie-charts is
misleading

The radius of the right
hand pie chart is 32%
greater than the left

This makes the area
74% greater

However, the value of
expenses/revenue =
only 59% greater

The area of the right
hand chart overstates
the difference by 15%
points

The slide repeats
colours in each of the
pie-charts but they
have different
meanings – confusing
the reader

Pie charts are
ineffective – using
stacked bar charts
would be superior
                          © 2012 Matt Hunter
This chart shows proportions within a category well
but misses comparison across categories

At a glance, the
reader see almost as
much dark purple as
light purples. This
leads to the
conclusion that there
are almost as many
VC-backed listings as
there are non-VC
backed listings.

However, when we
look at the values in
the charts we see
this is not the case:
Mainland China is by
far the single biggest
market and is
predominantly non-
VC backed

The marimekko chart
overleaf would have
been superior in
illustrating this data




                         © 2012 Matt Hunter
This chart displays the same information as a marimekko,
allowing the size of Mainland China to stand out



  Choice of Listing Market: VC-backed Vs. Non-VC-backed
                                                                              Total:
                     1,604                        217    121 121         15   2,078
100%-


                                                                         VC backed
75%-




50%-


                                                                            Non
                                                                         VC backed
25%-




 0%-
               Mainland China                     Hong
                                                  Kong
                                                         S’pore US
                                                                 Other

                             © 2012 Matt Hunter
There are many features working together to
 ensure this bar chart is readable at a glance
    Axis label is clear, with            Chart has no “black
    units ($) and “Billions”             frame” to distract
    rather than 9 zeros                  attention content
                                                                                  Title in bold & centred
                                                                                  on the chart


                                                                                                  Bars have values
                                                                                                  clearly marked aiding
                                                                                                  interpretation


                                                                                                  Gridlines assist the
                                                                                                  eye in reading the
                                                                                                  height of bar. Gridlines
All bars have solid                                                                               are faintly visible and
shape outlines in a                                                                               unobtrusive. NB:
dark colour to increase                                                                           Using gridlines & bar
background contrast                                                                               totals is “overkill”




Axis units are double           Years are clearly                        Coloured background
digits: E.g “20” not            marked without                           is faint and does not
“20,000,000,000”                excess detail (“2006”                    lower contrast with
                                Vs. “2006.01”)                           main data items

                                                        © 2012 Matt Hunter
This line chart is clearly readable and high
contrast with minimal distraction
                                                     Heading in bold &             Chart has no “black
                   Axis label is clear               centred on the chart          frame” to distract
                                                                                   attention content


                                                                                                    Legend marks two
                                                                                                    series; with top-most
                                            Series data is shown
                                                                                                    series in graph at
                                            using strongly
                                                                                                    listed at the top of the
                                            differentiated colours
                                                                                                    legend
Gridlines
assist the
eye in
reading the
height of bar.
Gridlines are
faintly visible
and
                                                                                                  Chart has no “black
unobtrusive
                                                                                                  frame” to distract
                                                                                                  attention content




         Axis units are              Coloured background                 Date periods are
         appropriate: “100” not      is faint and does not               clearly market with no
         “100.00”                    lower contrast with                 excess data (“Jul-
                                     main data items                     2011” Vs. “01-Jul-
                                                                         2011”)
                                                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
A complex and unusual area chart, but clearly
labelled to be intelligible to subject matter experts
  Chart uses 3D to display additional data
  (rather than an embellishment on a 2D
  slide)                                                          Gridlines aid reading
                                                                  of height
  Axis label is clear




                                                                                   Gradated colour
                                                                                   scheme gives a
                                                                                   perception of depth




Axis uses
appropriate
increments: “0.5%”
rather than the
default “0.1%”;                                                       Axis labels are listed
keeping detail                                                        at different heights to
under control                                                         avoid overlap


                                             © 2012 Matt Hunter
3D may be used legitimately if it allows you to display
additional information (and is not just decoration)

Chart uses 3D to display additional data
(rather than an embellishment on a 2D                           Gridlines aid reading
slide)                                                          of height

  Axis label is clear




    Meaning of negative
    numbers clearly
    explained                                                   Axis label is clear, with
                                                                distance from labels to
                                                                aid easy reading

                                           © 2012 Matt Hunter
AGENDA
  Why Presenting Data in
  PowerPoint matters

  5 Principles of Good Slide
  Design

  Slide Dissection

  Reflection

  About
               © 2012 Matt Hunter
Some final thoughts
For better or for worse, PowerPoint is a critical tool in most businesses. Most people
under-estimate its importance. You are judged on the work you present, not the work
you do. Therefore, always take time to deliver high quality slides.


Humans are generally weak at understanding data. Visualisations exploit the brain’s
natural hardware, making it easier for your audience to understand and remember
your data.


Good slide design works by exploiting human physiology and psychology. Use colour
to communicate meaning. Use height and area consistently. Remove unnecessary
detail to optimise contrast. Use strong headlines to control your audience’s
perception.


There are pressures to make all PowerPoint presentations into “sales pitches”: brief,
linear, simple and unchallenging for the audience. Often, this is the easiest path to
“get to yes” and persuade people to agree with us. However, remember that at times
creating understanding and encouraging dialogue is the more important
objective. This is especially true when presenting on issues around risk.
If critical matters are at stake, have the courage to ignore prevailing
conventional wisdom and to be as complex, wordy and detailed as you
deem necessary.
                                    © 2012 Matt Hunter                                1
AGENDA
  Why Presenting Data in
  PowerPoint matters

  5 Principles of Good Slide
  Design

  Slide Dissection

  Reflection

  About
               © 2012 Matt Hunter
Email:        ProfessionalEnquiries@Gmail.com
LinkedIn:     http://cn.linkedin.com/in/digitaldirector



      DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY
                    © 2012 Matt Hunter
DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY

Email:       ProfessionalEnquiries@Gmail.com
LinkedIn:    http://cn.linkedin.com/in/digitaldirector

                   © 2012 Matt Hunter

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How to Present Data in PowerPoint

  • 1. PRESENTING DATA IN POWERPOINT Practical advice on slide design 22 June 2012 DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 2. What are we covering today? • Slide design • Physical • Vocal delivery • Word choice for heavy delivery data • Vocal ‘tics’ • Directive • Presenting language • Slide design slides for non-data • Active speech • Answer first/ • Bad habits Pyramid Principle This presentation is about one important niche area © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 3. Overview • This presentation is a re-worked version of a one-hour lecture presented at Tsinghua University,Beijing (清华大学)for students on the International MBA; with additional explanations for Slideshare users • Our objectives are to: -Motivate you to improve your data slides -Give you some clear guidance on how to improve your data slides -Turn you into a force for good in the world of business & PowerPoint © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 4. All third party information featured in the presentation slides remains the intellectual property of their respective originators. All use of information is done under the fair use copyright principal, and I do not assert any claim of copyright for any quotation, statistic, fact, figure, data or any other content that has been sourced from the public domain. Whilst efforts are made to ensure accuracy, no warranties can be given. I do assert a claim of copyright for my domains, matthunter.com, my site design, slide design, database design, look and feel, and my logo (“the cube”). The core material in this work is shared under a creative commons licence [attribution 3.0 unported (CC by 3.0)]. Readers are free to share (copy, redistribute, transmit) and remix (adapt the work), including for commercial use; but must properly attribute the original work to me. Such attribution should not suggest that I make any endorsement of the user or their derived use of my material. Further viewing of this presentation indicates your understanding of and consent to these conditions. DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 5. AGENDA Why Presenting Data in PowerPoint matters 5 Principles of Good Slide Design Slide Dissection Reflection About © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 6. Sometimes, you get to present unusual, exciting stuff © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 7. More often, you just have to present stacks of data © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 8. People make judgements about the quality of your work based on just your PowerPoint (You and a handful of PowerPoint slides) (Hundreds of hours of market research, Excel analysis, crunching accounts, …) © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 9. Poor PowerPoint can limit your career • Your work is worthless unless people act on it • If your slides are unclear, you force people to think too much • The more effort people must exert to understand you, the greater the chance they will ignore you • © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 10. Remember your objectives when you are making data slides • Most presentations aim to achieve agreement on a course of action • By the end of the meeting, you want to have moved people closer to making a valuable decision • To do this, you establish credibility and build trust • You string together a series of logical statements that lead to your conclusion • You use data as supporting evidence that the statements are correct • If the data is clear, reliable and agrees with your interpretation, your audience believes your story • Gaining credibility and trust, you persuade your audience to accept your recommendation © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 11. Our focus right now is on making the “supporting evidence” do its job well © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 12. Of course, not all presentations are exactly the same © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 13. Sometimes, the data might not be central • A large audience (Conference, annual general meeting) is probably there for entertainment, not statistics • An initial chat with investors might focus on broad concepts – not an illustrated business forecast • A 500 word blog post probably doesn’t have enough reader engagement to need heavy-duty data the whole way through © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 14. In these special settings, you can bend the rules Original alternatives to graphs and charts can amuse an audience & express your creativity In a day full of corporate presentations, being the special guy can help you to be remembered © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 15. In the usual corporate setting, more formal rules apply • You want people to focus on your content not your presentation • Graphs and tables need to convey information, not distract from your message • Clarity and credibility are paramount Follow the principles described in this presentation © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 16. AGENDA Why Presenting Data in PowerPoint matters 5 Principles of Good Slide Design Slide Dissection Reflection About © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 17. 5 Key Principles © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 18. Principle #1: Help the eye to compare the data © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 19. Imagine… After 100 hours of work, you’ve finally completed the critical analysis your team needs to see The results are amazing You can’t wait to tell your team You print out the spread sheet & call a meeting © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 20. When you show your team, you feel the evidence is clear © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 21. But your team sees things differently © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 22. Human brains aren’t designed for reading spread sheets Cognition happens in the cerebral cortex at the front of the brain • Recently evolved • Still in Beta • Slow, with limited bandwidth Seeing happens in the visual cortex at the back of the brain • Pre-attentive visual processing automatically occurs in the brain prior to conscious awareness • Specialist neurons make us receptive to size, colour, intensity, shape, … • And we remember pictures better than facts © 2012 Matt Hunter 2
  • 23. So - present the data in a way which makes the most of human capabilities • Humans can visually perceive 2D space well • But humans struggle with lots of other things -Estimating depth -Estimating colour intensity -Measuring distance on a curve • And some things people cannot judge accurately at all © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 24. Can you pick out the highest dot? Can you pick out two dots close together? Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 25. Can you pick out the highest dot? Can you pick out two dots close together? Judging distance in two dimensions is pretty easy Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 26. Can you find the tallest? The shortest? Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 27. Can you find the tallest? The shortest? Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 28. Judging relative height in 2D is pretty simple © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 29. Which bars are widest? Thinnest? Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 30. Which bars are widest? Thinnest? Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 31. Judging width is more difficult © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 32. Which is the largest piece? © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 33. Judging distance on a curve is difficult © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 34. What values are shown in the graph? 3D Perspective • The chart on the left appears Problems to show that: Column A is a little under 1 3 Column B is a little under 2 Column C is a little under 3 2 1 0 Column Column A Column B C Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 35. What values are shown in the graph? 3D Perspective • The chart on the left appears Problems to show that: Column A is a little under 1 3 Column B is a little under 2 Column C is a little under 3 2 • However, the data in the graph is: Column A = 1 1 Column B = 2 Column C = 3 0 Column Column A Column B C Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 36. 3 Dimensions can makes things needlessly complex © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 37. This has strong implications for how we visualise data Human capability Implication • People can judge some things very • Bar charts and dot plots work with our accurately: natural strengths - Length of a line, position of something in 2D space, … • People judge some things semi- • Pie-charts and area graphs test our inaccurately: abilities and should be used sparingly - Width, area, length of a curved line, … • And some things people cannot • Never make 2D graphs into 3D graphs judge accurately at all - Three dimensions is tough Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 38. Let’s talk about colour © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 39. Which dot catches your attention? Colour guides the eye: use for emphasis © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 40. However, remember that the meaning of colour is NOT universal © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 41. Using a culturally inappropriate colour scheme can confuse you audience 100% 100% 75% 75% 50% 50% 25% 25% 0% 0% Stuff Stuff © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 42. Generally, corporate presenters favour conservative colour schemes © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 43. This means gentle gradient colour schemes are fashionable Forecast Profit Before Tax, '07-'15 Profit Before Tax (£ Million) Historic data Forecast data 160 Legend: Product Lines 140 Other 120 Van 100 Energy 80 60 Travel 40 Personal 20 Loans 0 -20 07 08 09 10 11 F12 F13 F14 F15 Year © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 44. This means gentle gradient colour schemes are fashionable But being “tooProfit Before Tax, '07-'15 Forecast gentle” can cause problems Profit Before Tax (£ Million) Historic data Forecast data 160 Legend: Product Lines 140 Other 120 Van 100 Energy 80 60 Travel 40 Personal 20 Loans 0 -20 07 08 09 10 11 F12 F13 F14 F15 Year © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 45. This means gentle gradient colour schemes are fashionable But being “tooProfit Before Tax, '07-'15 Forecast gentle” can cause problems Readers can’t easily pick out each data Profit Before Tax (£ Million) Historic data Forecast data series 160 Legend: Product Lines 140 Other 120 Van 100 Energy 80 60 Travel 40 Personal 20 Loans 0 -20 07 08 09 10 11 F12 F13 F14 F15 Year © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 46. And colour gradation has its own meaning © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 47. Avoid excessive colour contrast High contrast images can confuse the eye, making static imagines appear to move and pulse © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 48. Strong (but inoffensive) colour clashes come from opposite sides of a “colour wheel” Source: Kingdom of Style © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 49. The brain is highly attentive to colour – make conscious use of this • Use differentiated colours to mark out different series • Use colour gradations to portray a general trend in something • Be aware of colour weaknesses -Avoid very high contrast colour combinations which can annoy the eye -Around 1/10th of Western males over the age of 40 are partially colour blind and struggle to discern the difference between blue and green -The colour red communicates different meanings in different cultures (Danger Vs. Luck) © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 50. What does all this mean for how we present data? • Bar graphs, line charts and scatter plots work well with our natural abilities – use abundantly • Pie charts, bubble charts and other area graphs are more troublesome – use with reservation • People are poor at judging anything in 3D so never needlessly add 3D effects to things • And colour is hugely powerful - but always consider possible cultural bias before use Image: Rollins College © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 51. Principle #2: Tell the truth © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 52. What is wrong here? Sales ($US) Bamburger Department Store Retail Sales, 2008-2010 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 2008 2009 2010 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 53. Because the Axis doesn’t start at zero, chart “lies” Sales ($US) Bamburger Department Store Retail Sales, 2008-2010 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 2008 2009 2010 2009 sales appear twice as tall (suggesting twice as big) as 2008. In reality, they are just 10% more © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 54. Q: Which firm has the lowest level of purchases? Firm A Firm B Firm C Annual Purchases, Annual Purchases, Annual Purchases, '06-'15 '06-'15 '06-'15 US$ Billion US$ Billion US$ Billion 15 11 10 14 9 10 13 8 12 9 7 11 6 8 10 5 7 9 4 8 6 3 7 2 5 6 1 5 4 - © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 55. They are all the same - All show identical data but with different scales on the Y-axes Firm A Firm B Firm C Annual Purchases, Annual Purchases, Annual Purchases, '06-'15 '06-'15 '06-'15 15 11 10 14 9 10 13 8 12 9 7 11 6 8 10 5 7 9 4 8 6 3 7 2 5 6 1 5 4 - Mixing up scales on Y-axes means we can’t compare the height of the line from graph to another. This is a common way to “accidentally lie” to your audience © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 56. Keeping Axes the same between slides sometimes means leaving a lot of white space on one slide… Scenario 1 Business Unit PBT (£M) NPV 08-15: £307M £200 Axis maximum value is chosen to make comparison with the values on the next slide £180 easy £160 £140 £120 £100 £80 £60 £40 Product 3 £20 Product 2 Product 1 £0 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 57. …but this ensures the change in values on the next slide is properly understood Scenario 2 Business Unit PBT (£M) NPV 08-15: £632M £200 £180 Product 3 £160 £140 Product 2 £120 £100 £80 £60 Product 1 £40 £20 £0 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 58. Beware of truncated axes • People lie with axes more than they realise -PowerPoint & Excel will often automatically reset the Y-axis to a number greater than zero -When you are being lazy and copying and pasting other people’s graphs into your presentation, the odds are every graph will use a slightly different scale -Shifting the Y-axis between graphs on different slides makes it extremely difficult to compare data • This breaks one of the most important rules about being honest with data: If a number is 2X as big as another, the bar should be 2X as long (or the height of a line twice as high) © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 59. In an effort to make presentations “more interesting” many lies are told • Here a money bag is used • In this version, a single to represent $1 million and icon has been scaled up. two moneys bags to However, now it is roughly represent $2m, a sum twice the HEIGHT & twice which is twice as much. the WIDTH of the $1 million Twice the sum = twice the bag: making it more like 4x area the area for just 2x the sum Source: United Nations Statistical Commission © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 60. Finally, the triple threat: 3D, curves and abuse of area As described earlier, humans struggle to judge angles or distance on a curve, and struggle to perceive things intended to be in three dimensions. For these reasons alone, 3D pie charts are to be avoided. However, there is another problem. We’ve also established that when we use area to represent data, the amount of area something occupies should be proportional to the sum represented. In the given chart, the 3D angle and depth effect used means segments at the “front” of the pie chart receive more visible chart area than those at the back. This chart is hard to read, and it lies to the audience. Source: United Nations Statistical Commission © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 61. Key lessons from this section • The length of bars should be directly proportional to the value they represent (if a number is 2x bigger, the bar should be 2x longer) • When using areas, the area should be proportional to the value represented (if a number is 2x bigger, the area used should be 2x as big) Source: Juice Analytics © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 62. Principle #3: Take away the distractions © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 63. Fundamental rule of chart design Reduce Increase chart junk data:ink ratio (Anything repetitive, (Communicate meaning) ornamental or distracting) Source: Edward Tufte © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 64. What is the main problem here? Total Sales Revenue Before & After 6,000,000 Total weekly sales revenue 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 0 10 11 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 12 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 3 After 1 “Before” Hunter © 2012 Matt “After”
  • 65. The eye tries to make a line – so give the eye what is wants Total Sales Revenue Before & After 6,000,000 Total weekly sales revenue 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 0 10 11 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 12 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 3 After 1 “Before” Hunter © 2012 Matt “After”
  • 66. Reducing the ink used in a graph usually helps Reducing the ink used in a data slide typically reduces the cognitive processing the reader has to go through & helps the important information stand out © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 67. This is Tim Bray’s example in reducing “chart junk” to a minimum 1 2 3 4 5 6 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 68. Bray’s changes show how less can achieve more Before After • Colour background lowers • With detail stripped out the contrast between the the data sits in higher bars contrast • Gridlines cut across the • Simplicity frees the data image adding confusion © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 69. Let’s look at the most common distractions • Colour backgrounds • Making people turn their heads • Over-powered gridlines • Using too many digits • Repetition of information • Overloading a single chart or slide © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 70. Avoid using strong colour backgrounds White backgrounds increase the contrast of the data items on your slide, making comprehension easier Weak Contrast Strong Contrast Strong 50 50 45 45 40 40 35 35 30 30 25 25 20 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 0 The main possible exception to this rule is the use of gridlines © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 71. Gridlines can aid reading – but use with consideration If gridlines are used, they need to be visible but easily distinguishable from the main data line Intrusive gridlines Assisting gridlines Strong 50 50 45 45 40 40 35 35 30 30 25 25 20 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 0 • Use a faint colour that contrasts with the main data • Consider using a pale background to lessen the contrast between the gridlines and the background © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 72. Don’t obsessively use titles, legends AND axis labels With a single series of data in your chart, you don’t really need to use an axis label, title and a legend Repetition High effect Strong Sales, $ Sales, $ $ Sales 50 50 45 45 40 40 35 35 Sales 30 30 25 25 20 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 0 Don’t repeat yourself © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 73. Try not to make people “turn their heads” Vertical labels aren’t readable. Use a mild angle, or abbreviate labels and keep them horizontal (“Jan” or “J” vs “January”) 90 degrees 45 degrees Strong 50 50 45 45 40 40 35 35 30 30 25 25 20 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 0 March May February September June April August July January October November December If it is hard to read, assume people won’t try © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 74. Use fewer digits wherever possible • Which is the bigger number: 12,573,981 or 11,894,397? • To process the relative size of these numbers, the brain goes through the following steps: • Help the brain – It’s easier to understand if they are written as: 12.6 million and 11.9 million Source: United Nations Statistical Commission , OECD, Local Govt. Dept (Wales) http://www.unece.org © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 75. The most common problem with “too many digits” is on the axes of graphs $ World Rough Diamond Production 20,000,000,000 18,000,000,000 16,000,000,000 14,000,000,000 12,000,000,000 10,000,000,000 8,000,000,000 6,000,000,000 4,000,000,000 2,000,000,000 - 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Additional zeros do not help the reader © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 76. Changing the axis to “billions”, and adding totals to each bar, sets the data free World Rough Diamond Production $Billion 20 17.6 18 16.9 16.3 15.9 16 14.9 14 13.4 13.3 12 10 8 6 4 2 - 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 77. Don’t overload a single chart with more information than it should handle Version 1: Two data series together £Billion Sales & Profits (2004-2011) 5 4 Revenue 3 Net Profit 2 1 0 -1 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 78. Often a “2 Up” slide allows easier comparison than putting all the data in a single chart Version 2: separate charts Sales Profits £Billion £Billion 5 0.4 0.3 4 0.2 3 0.1 0 2 -0.1 1 -0.2 0 -0.3 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 79. Remember, you are (usually) allowed to use more slides • How many important points are you trying to make for your audience? -A rough guide is “one or two points to one chart” • Just because you can stick all the data in one graph or one slide doesn’t mean you should -Unless your boss has imposed some crazy limit (“Jim, you can only present 5 slides”) remember that extra slides are free! Use as many as needed to convey your message without confusing the audience (If you do have a crazy boss, try to negotiate: accept a time-limit on your presentation instead of a slide limit) © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 80. When to stop stripping away distractions? © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 81. Sometimes you can get rid of charts completely: tables have their place • Graphs interact with our visual system • Tables interact with our verbal/reasoning system • We process information in a sequential fashion, reading down columns or across rows, comparing one number to another… • Tables force greater mental engagement by the audience, which can be both a pro (more attention) and a con (more chance of audience giving up) Use tables when: • Readers need to look up or compare individual values • Readers require precise values • Values involve multiple units of measure Source: Information Builders © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 82. However, bad tables are just as common and destructive as bad graphs Avoid the most pointless errors: • Put data that readers must compare into columns, not rows • Right align data in columns • Remove excess digits © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 83. Comparison is easier in a column, not a row Country Germany United Kingdom Luxembourg Population 81,538,628 58,491,643 406,589 Working along the row, the eye must jump back and fore to compare the digits, with the reader attempting to identify what the value of each digit is Country Population Germany 81,538,628 United Kingdom 58,491,643 Luxembourg 406,589 With the digits in a column and right justified, it is easy to compare digits in the “tens of millions” column and see Germany is the largest, followed by the UK, with Luxembourg far behind © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 84. Right justification is the right justification Slide designers often like to “centre align” tables because it gives a sense of symmetry - however, it also makes it harder to compare digits. Here, it almost looks as if Luxembourg has a “4” in the “tens of millions” column Country Population Germany 81,538,628 United Kingdom 58,491,643 Luxembourg 406,589 Right justification keeps the digits aligned and sets the data free Country Population Germany 81,538,628 United Kingdom 58,491,643 Luxembourg 406,589 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 85. Tables also usually benefit from using fewer digits As described earlier, the brain struggles to digest long numbers There are too Check the size of Right, let’s start many digits to deal the numbers – comparing …. with! both millions… Country Population Germany 81,538,628 United Kingdom 58,491,643 Luxembourg 406,589 Cutting out digits saves on brain processing power Country Population (Millions) Germany 81.5 United Kingdom 58.5 Luxembourg 0.4 © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 86. Principle #4: Be as complicated as necessary © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 87. Sometimes PowerPoint makes the news PA Consulting prepared the diagram on the next page when working with the US Army It appeared in the New York Times alongside a piece that attacked the military for falling victim to “Death by PowerPoint” © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 88. © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 89. The New York Times have no idea what they are talking about PA Consulting’s counter insurgency diagram uses the principles of system dynamics, developed by MIT’s Jay Forrester (pictured). This “influence diagram” links together the multiple elements at play in the Afghan war. It assists high-level strategists in identifying points of leverage where positive or negative feedback allows a small action to have a great impact. This is not a slide for public consumption by lay people. But it’s a Powerful piece of work for those who know the tools. © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 90. “Lot’s of complicated, difficult to understand problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers” © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 91. Be as complex as you need to be • PowerPoint users face pressure to be succinct • There is a pressure to make things perfectly easy for the audience (“Keep it simple, stupid”) • But PowerPoint is not a substitute for thought or dialogue Sometimes complexity is appropriate © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 92. Principle #5: Control the audience © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 93. You can achieve impact with even the worst slides if you control the audience © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 94. Let’s play a game • On the next page, I will give you some numbers that fit a pattern I am thinking of • When you think you know the pattern, turn the page and check whether your answer is correct or not © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 95. What is the pattern I am thinking of? • 1,3,5 • 20,22,24 • 1006,1008,1010 • 50,52,54 • 8,10,12 When you think the know the pattern, turnover © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 96. The pattern I am thinking of is… • “Any three ascending numbers” • Is this what you guessed? Probably not. • Most people will have guessed “numbers rising by 2” or something similar • Why? © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 97. Most people don’t assess all the options • “Numbers rising by 2” is a pattern that fits all the examples given - but not the only one • Most people come up with an hypothesis early on and then look at the other sets of numbers to see if the hypothesis fits • If it does, they believe in their first hypothesis – they don’t generate more hypotheses, or notice that many other hypotheses would also explain the data © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 98. This is an example of “confirmation bias” • Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favour information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses • People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way • Experiments suggest people are biased towards confirming their existing beliefs • People commonly tend to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives • Confirmation bias is mostly driven by a combination of wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 99. In a PowerPoint setting, the headline on a slide can encourage confirmation bias in the audience • A strong headline implants an idea in the minds of the audience • The audience then views the rest of the slide in an attempt to prove / disprove this idea • The audience is far less likely to generate their own original interpretations of the evidence provided on the slide • In short, a strong headline controls the audience and stops them thinking for themselves © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 100. Consider the same slide with a passive or strong headline • The passive headline tells the audience • An active headline changes the audience what is on the slide, but not what it experience means • This headline tells the audience to look • The audience might generate several for a dip in emerging markets, followed conclusions: by a strong bounce “Emerging markets and the S&P 500 are • The eyes scan the lines and confirm the highly correlated” interpretation they have been told to “There’s little performance difference look for between the emerging markets and the S&P 500” • Most audience members will then … not raise alternative data interpretations © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 101. Be aware of what you are doing when you use strong headlines Giving your audience strong headlines helps you. By pushing the audience to focus on things you think are important, you keep a presentation moving in the direction you have intended, and avoid lengthy tangential discussions. Giving your audience strong headlines can also help the audience. Some of your audience may be uncomfortable reading data (no matter how well presented) and the assistance a headline gives removes stress. However, promoting confirmation bias can also inhibit dialogue. You can encourage the audience to become passive. You can even deceive the audience into believing false conclusions. Don’t use headlines for evil © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 102. Recap: 5 Key Principles © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 103. AGENDA Why Presenting Data in PowerPoint matters 5 Principles of Good Slide Design Slide Dissection Reflection About © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 104. This section puts things into practice • We capture some real world slides in the wild and then dissect them • These concrete examples demonstrate how doing many small things right (or wrong) alters the impact of a slide © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 105. This slide is functional but could use basic improvements to aid clarity Axis has excess units: it is in millions but should be in billions Headline is too passive / cryptic 3D effect adds nothing and makes graphs harder to read © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 106. This Zero2IPO chart makes several basic errors Axis has excess units: it is in millions but should be in billions This is a two It’s also not There are axis graph but clear what effectively two is unclear currency this chart titles, which data is, as the repeating series goes on currency themselves which axis. information is This can be listed in the worked out by legend looking at the legend but this is easily missed Bar totals have unnecessary extra digits, going to 2 decimal places Overlapping data series makes it hard to read individual totals. If all of this information is actually important, the author should place this data on to two separate graphs © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 107. This bubble chart loses impact because the axes are unclear and the headline is passive Passive headline Rotated axis is Circle colour gradients hard to make overlapping objects read easier to see X-Axis label is hard to find © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 108. The below chart is ineffective and contains area-lies Size difference between pie-charts is misleading The radius of the right hand pie chart is 32% greater than the left This makes the area 74% greater However, the value of expenses/revenue = only 59% greater The area of the right hand chart overstates the difference by 15% points The slide repeats colours in each of the pie-charts but they have different meanings – confusing the reader Pie charts are ineffective – using stacked bar charts would be superior © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 109. This chart shows proportions within a category well but misses comparison across categories At a glance, the reader see almost as much dark purple as light purples. This leads to the conclusion that there are almost as many VC-backed listings as there are non-VC backed listings. However, when we look at the values in the charts we see this is not the case: Mainland China is by far the single biggest market and is predominantly non- VC backed The marimekko chart overleaf would have been superior in illustrating this data © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 110. This chart displays the same information as a marimekko, allowing the size of Mainland China to stand out Choice of Listing Market: VC-backed Vs. Non-VC-backed Total: 1,604 217 121 121 15 2,078 100%- VC backed 75%- 50%- Non VC backed 25%- 0%- Mainland China Hong Kong S’pore US Other © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 111. There are many features working together to ensure this bar chart is readable at a glance Axis label is clear, with Chart has no “black units ($) and “Billions” frame” to distract rather than 9 zeros attention content Title in bold & centred on the chart Bars have values clearly marked aiding interpretation Gridlines assist the eye in reading the height of bar. Gridlines All bars have solid are faintly visible and shape outlines in a unobtrusive. NB: dark colour to increase Using gridlines & bar background contrast totals is “overkill” Axis units are double Years are clearly Coloured background digits: E.g “20” not marked without is faint and does not “20,000,000,000” excess detail (“2006” lower contrast with Vs. “2006.01”) main data items © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 112. This line chart is clearly readable and high contrast with minimal distraction Heading in bold & Chart has no “black Axis label is clear centred on the chart frame” to distract attention content Legend marks two series; with top-most Series data is shown series in graph at using strongly listed at the top of the differentiated colours legend Gridlines assist the eye in reading the height of bar. Gridlines are faintly visible and Chart has no “black unobtrusive frame” to distract attention content Axis units are Coloured background Date periods are appropriate: “100” not is faint and does not clearly market with no “100.00” lower contrast with excess data (“Jul- main data items 2011” Vs. “01-Jul- 2011”) © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 113. A complex and unusual area chart, but clearly labelled to be intelligible to subject matter experts Chart uses 3D to display additional data (rather than an embellishment on a 2D slide) Gridlines aid reading of height Axis label is clear Gradated colour scheme gives a perception of depth Axis uses appropriate increments: “0.5%” rather than the default “0.1%”; Axis labels are listed keeping detail at different heights to under control avoid overlap © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 114. 3D may be used legitimately if it allows you to display additional information (and is not just decoration) Chart uses 3D to display additional data (rather than an embellishment on a 2D Gridlines aid reading slide) of height Axis label is clear Meaning of negative numbers clearly explained Axis label is clear, with distance from labels to aid easy reading © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 115. AGENDA Why Presenting Data in PowerPoint matters 5 Principles of Good Slide Design Slide Dissection Reflection About © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 116. Some final thoughts For better or for worse, PowerPoint is a critical tool in most businesses. Most people under-estimate its importance. You are judged on the work you present, not the work you do. Therefore, always take time to deliver high quality slides. Humans are generally weak at understanding data. Visualisations exploit the brain’s natural hardware, making it easier for your audience to understand and remember your data. Good slide design works by exploiting human physiology and psychology. Use colour to communicate meaning. Use height and area consistently. Remove unnecessary detail to optimise contrast. Use strong headlines to control your audience’s perception. There are pressures to make all PowerPoint presentations into “sales pitches”: brief, linear, simple and unchallenging for the audience. Often, this is the easiest path to “get to yes” and persuade people to agree with us. However, remember that at times creating understanding and encouraging dialogue is the more important objective. This is especially true when presenting on issues around risk. If critical matters are at stake, have the courage to ignore prevailing conventional wisdom and to be as complex, wordy and detailed as you deem necessary. © 2012 Matt Hunter 1
  • 117. AGENDA Why Presenting Data in PowerPoint matters 5 Principles of Good Slide Design Slide Dissection Reflection About © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 118. Email: ProfessionalEnquiries@Gmail.com LinkedIn: http://cn.linkedin.com/in/digitaldirector DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY © 2012 Matt Hunter
  • 119. DIGITAL ◊ PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ◊ STRATEGY Email: ProfessionalEnquiries@Gmail.com LinkedIn: http://cn.linkedin.com/in/digitaldirector © 2012 Matt Hunter