How to avoid death by PowerPoint: invest in design

Image of the post author Kadence International

Death by PowerPoint is still a killer. The solution? Invest in design

Design is the silver bullet for research. Make your findings interesting, simple and easy to understand and the world will take notice. If it intuitively makes sense your findings will spread like wildfire. If not, it’ll die on the screen.

Recently there’s been a hive of innovation in research: online; mobile; social… the list goes on. But this list is all just different methods of collecting information. What has been more resistant to change is how we present that information.

If research wants to have more impact with decision makers, we need to be more palatable for them. This means translating the findings into something they can intuitively understand. The problem is it is easiest to present people with the same representations used by the research: graphs and numbers. This is not the way it ought to be. We need to present decision makers with information in the format most appropriate to their needs and to the decisions they need to make. What is wrong with a lot of presentations today is their design, which requires people to behave in research-centred ways, picking apart data and numbers, ways for which many people are not well suited. What we find, then, is that the form of representation makes a dramatic difference in the ease of understanding the research.

Get regular insights

Keep up to date with the latest insights from our research as well as all our company news in our free monthly newsletter.

There are two tasks for any audience – finding the relevant information and deciding upon the desired action. The design of the research presentation can either help or hinder this process. We believe we must work harder to make sure the design of the presentation does not get in the way; as if designed inappropriately we are at risk of losing the audience and not giving them the opportunity to find the information and make the most appropriate business decisions.

To combat this, we will argue there are three major changes researchers need to undertake:

  1. Get better at PowerPointToo often the presentation is a data dump of raw findings from the methodology. Little thought goes into how a novice should understand it. Teams need to be taught design theory and trained in how to maximise the potential of PowerPoint. For example, learning about Gestalt psychology will help researchers know how to space, design and layout results.
  2. Go beyond PowerPointWe need to loosen our grip on PowerPoint and embrace other forms of information delivery. A lot of times a deck of slides isn’t the most appropriate format. Why not put together a video debrief of your findings that brings the information to life? Why not create a bookmark with the top 5 takeaways for your stakeholders? Why not mock up an example advert that best reflects what consumers would most respond to?
  3. Hire a designerWe believe having an in-house designer is now as essential as having an in-house data analyst. Not only do designers bring a skill set and design experience that they can leverage, they also are unshackled by years of research training and so bring fresh eyes and perspectives to research, making the output they create at once more relatable and accessible for any audience.

We believe that taking on even just one of these changes will greatly enhance the impact and relevance of research to senior decision makers

Free Report

Uncover the latest trends in online shopping

Digitization has reset the online shopping game board. Today, the most successful retailers have adopted technology at warp speeds. With breakthrough technology complementing every step of the retail process, where are we headed?

Download the report
Free Report

Unlock the latest beverage industry trends and insights

Our comprehensive trend report on the global beverage industry takes a deep dive into what consumers want and how leading brands are responding to major shifts in consumption habits worldwide.

Download the report
Free Report

What is powering the next-gen of fitness and med-tech?

Tech is becoming part of our everyday lives including wellness and medicine. Our in-depth report examines the top technology trends in the health, fitness, and medical industries.

Download the report
Free Report

How the face of the beauty industry is being reshaped worldwide

The beauty and personal care market is growing at a rapid pace globally. Learn what is fueling this growth and the secrets of leading brands worldwide in this comprehensive report.

Download the report
Free Report

Discover the habits and preferences of Gen Z worldwide.

Gen Z is the largest global consumer group. Learn about their habits and preferences, from digital fluency to eco-consciousness, in this comprehensive guide with case studies from around the world.

Download the report
Free Report

Trends Reshaping the Asian Consumer every Brand should know.

Asian consumers are expected to make up half of the world’s consumption in the next decade. Not only are Asia’s consumer markets growing rapidly – they are diversifying. Download our report to learn key trends.

Download the report