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nom
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:41 am Post

Jaysen wrote:Recent trends in iOS seem to indicate a move from "serious professional" look/feel/function (comete with RIM) to a low tech consumer focus. In the words of my 19 year old daughiter, "iOS 7 looks like it was designed for a 12 year old girl, I'm embarrassed to use it".

If you haven't noticed apple don't make "gradual transitions" to new strategies. iOS 7 is the writing on the wall in my opinion. I'm still undecided if I'm sticking with them or going back to *nix.


I'm OK with iOS 7. Not my preferred look, but I'll get used to it. To be more precise, I'm growing to like the flat look, but am still adjusting to the colours. :roll:
I'm fine with the "low tech consumer focus" because that is actually most users. In my circles, I'm considered technically savvy, but I don't understand half of you say (less when you get technical). I know enough techno-geekery to know what I don't know (or at least that types of things I don't know). But my ageing parents can pick up an iPhone or iPad and use it. They both use Macs now and wouldn't go back. It seems to be a winning strategy for Apple.

I don't see that "low tech consumer focus" is incompatible with "serious professional". In fact, apart from technology professionals and animators, most of the professionals that I know couldn't care less about their technology other than "How I do send email?" and "Why can't I print?".
Note: I just sat through a conference program today watching professionals speak to poorly constructed Powerpoint slides where about half didn't even know how to make Powerpoint advance to the next slide (pressing spacebar is generally considered low technology). Only one person (one!) used animations to bring on bullet points one at a time. In contrast, one brought up the right click menu every slide, another clicked through to the end of their presentation and then restarted because they couldn't go back one slide. Another ended up presenting in edit view!! I'm perhaps a little jaded about professionals' technological capacity right now.
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Briar Kit
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:21 am Post

Reading Nom's post about PPT presentations caused me to feel a little queasy.

Is it wrong to admit that I also laughed?
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Jaysen
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:59 pm Post

Nom,

I believe we need to remember that "perspective alters definitions" (that was from some famous psycho in one of my course books but I can remember who or what book). In my world your professionals would have been lecturing to an empty room. Especially the one with animations. the "high tech" crowd isn't as impressed by bling as by function. Sure bling is nice, but we want dependable and predictable first.

Which is why 90% of my peers are OSX users. BDS core with all *nix function we expect. Most of us use terminal more than finder. We don't dual boot, we VM (alt OS not for games). We have multiple external drives stacked on our desk so rsync has unique backup locations. Sure we have windows laptops for office work, but they are only there for corporate email (no point in putting MS products on OSX).

Thing is we are all watching this trend, especially the pages debacle, and starting to look at going back to non-apple devices. the forward roadmap seems to be away from the folks that started telling mom and dad to buy Mac 15 years ago. If we leave the folks that "trust us" for the right compute environment are likely to go with us.

Not sure it matters to the corporate folks, but there it is.
Jaysen

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Foxtrot
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:02 pm Post

nom wrote:Note: I just sat through a conference program today watching professionals speak to poorly constructed Powerpoint slides where about half didn't even know how to make Powerpoint advance to the next slide (pressing spacebar is generally considered low technology). Only one person (one!) used animations to bring on bullet points one at a time. In contrast, one brought up the right click menu every slide, another clicked through to the end of their presentation and then restarted because they couldn't go back one slide. Another ended up presenting in edit view!! I'm perhaps a little jaded about professionals' technological capacity right now.


It is interesting what you say and certainly clears up some confusion in my mind.

In my work (financial) I often see presentations of similar quality to what you describe and similar ineptness in the presenters. There has always therefore been this disconnect between what I see in the real world and what I see similar, but perhaps more "creative", people doing in Microsoft or Adobe or Apple software/hardware adverts. I thought maybe it was just me. :roll:
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Jaysen
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:17 pm Post

Foxtrot wrote:
nom wrote:Note: I just sat through a conference program today watching professionals speak to poorly constructed Powerpoint slides where about half didn't even know how to make Powerpoint advance to the next slide (pressing spacebar is generally considered low technology). Only one person (one!) used animations to bring on bullet points one at a time. In contrast, one brought up the right click menu every slide, another clicked through to the end of their presentation and then restarted because they couldn't go back one slide. Another ended up presenting in edit view!! I'm perhaps a little jaded about professionals' technological capacity right now.


It is interesting what you say and certainly clears up some confusion in my mind.

In my work (financial) I often see presentations of similar quality to what you describe and similar ineptness in the presenters. There has always therefore been this disconnect between what I see in the real world and what I see similar, but perhaps more "creative", people doing in Microsoft or Adobe or Apple software/hardware adverts. I thought maybe it was just me. :roll:

Never confuse "the real world" with the dream world of paid presenters.

I have presented at several conferences. I'm a basic "black and white" presenter. Simple but clear PPT. When it was my turn to present, what was projected looked nothing like what I provided. The corporate marketing departments had paid specialists to "fix" my presentation. Too bad they didn't provide me notes as to when data would show up on the slides. Those transitions made the revealed data as much a surprise to me as it was to the audience. After a few runs we got in the groove and the presentations were much better than if I had used my boring slides.

And right about the time I started to get really good at it I was sent back to my corner of the basement never to present again. I still make all my slides in B&W with minimum branding and no transitions though. If I didn't I'd be the PPT b!tch for everyone here. Self preservation.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:53 pm Post

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.:.
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:39 pm Post

Yeah, but… The act of communication is not just about delivery, but also ensuring reception… (You may be able to tell I was once a teacher long, long ago in a grove of academe far, far away…)

Nowadays there's no excuse for boring an audience stupid. Having said that, I believe that Powerpoint (and Keynote) can be easily turned into weapons of mass delusion, designed to confuse rather than clarify. Isn't it the case that NASA's ignorance of the risks of the Challenger space-shuttle launch could be traced back to a down-slide bullet-point in a .ppt presentation that glossed the risks of frost rather than spelling them out?

One of my friends does very successfully use Powerpoint to illustrate important themes he wants to put across - often financial. But he illustrates his points almost entirely with slides of works of modern art, frequently abstract. Picasso and Dali fit his requirements well, but Paul Klee is the best. My friend is one of the most lauded lecturers I know, even in the graveyard slot (after lunch).

From which I conclude that bling matters, but needs to be used wisely.
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vic-k
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:32 pm Post

Paul Klee did one of Fluff, in one of her earlier lives:

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nom
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:48 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:Nom,

I believe we need to remember that "perspective alters definitions" (that was from some famous psycho in one of my course books but I can remember who or what book). In my world your professionals would have been lecturing to an empty room. Especially the one with animations. the "high tech" crowd isn't as impressed by bling as by function. Sure bling is nice, but we want dependable and predictable first.


I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing any more. Bling is not nice. Bling is ugly and distracting. As a psychologist and educator, I have a focus on good communication and this requires thought and planning (which is probably why it's so rare). Animation is not about whizzing things across the screen because one can, but at about revealing information only when it is needed so that it does not distract from the message being discussed. People cannot read text and listen to words at the same time because they literally use the same part of the brain. We can rapidly switch between them, but not process them in parallel. However, non-text stimuli (such as music or images) can be processed simultaneously with oral communication. This is why the master presenters use very few words, lots of images (photos or simple graphs, not chintzy MS clip art) and transitions or animations to add information to slides as they talk. If you want, I can track down some of the relevant research.
Note: much of the research on powerpoint effectiveness was done by an engineering faculty investigating how to improve the communication of technical data - this is definitely not about making slides pretty.

Jaysen wrote:Which is why 90% of my peers are OSX users. BDS core with all *nix function we expect. Most of us use terminal more than finder. We don't dual boot, we VM (alt OS not for games). We have multiple external drives stacked on our desk so rsync has unique backup locations. Sure we have windows laptops for office work, but they are only there for corporate email (no point in putting MS products on OSX).

Thing is we are all watching this trend, especially the pages debacle, and starting to look at going back to non-apple devices. the forward roadmap seems to be away from the folks that started telling mom and dad to buy Mac 15 years ago. If we leave the folks that "trust us" for the right compute environment are likely to go with us.

Not sure it matters to the corporate folks, but there it is.

I understood most of that (but do less than half. Terminal? Reminds me of DOS, I just want to do my work not relive the 80s).
Sadly I agree with most of your conclusions too (but I'm not yet ready to jump to another *nix based OS).

I'm hoping that the Pages (and Keynote) fiasco is "just" another example like Maps and Final Cut Pro, that it indicates poor software implementation strategy rather than a disregard for features and usability. However, given that Apple now have sustained form (dotMac, MobileMe, Maps, Final Cut Pro, Bento, iDVD, iMovie, and now iWorks) I'm less confident than I once was.
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nom
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:51 pm Post

P.S. Black on white can be excellent communication. Just keep the amount of text on a slide to a minimum (spread it across a few slides if necessary).
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:52 pm Post

AmberV wrote:Image


See? :)
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Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:00 pm Post

Briar Kit wrote:Reading Nom's post about PPT presentations caused me to feel a little queasy.

Is it wrong to admit that I also laughed?


Not wrong: I can smile now, but yesterday... :roll:

Mind you, the (new) theatre we were in appeared to be custom made for presentations by someone who had no idea what was required for effective communication, and there was no technical support present. The environment didn't support them much either.
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Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:56 am Post

The thing that a lot of people misunderstand (in my experience) is that the ppt / keynote slides are not your presentation. For anything you are putting on the screen ask yourself why you want it there.
If it's to remind you of what you are going to say... it belongs in your notes, not on a slide.
If it's words making points you want the audience to hear... it belongs in your voice, not on a slide.
If it's to save the audience writing notes... it belongs in a handout at the end, not on a slide.

You may glean from this that anything that you are expressing in words is unlikely to be needed on a slide.
Slides are for pictures, diagrams, formulae, tables of numbers... the sort of things that need to be seen to be appreciated. Anything else is a distraction to the audience.
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Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:34 am Post

pigfender wrote:The thing that a lot of people misunderstand (in my experience) is that the ppt / keynote slides are not your presentation. For anything you are putting on the screen ask yourself why you want it there.
If it's to remind you of what you are going to say... it belongs in your notes, not on a slide.
If it's words making points you want the audience to hear... it belongs in your voice, not on a slide.
If it's to save the audience writing notes... it belongs in a handout at the end, not on a slide.

You may glean from this that anything that you are expressing in words is unlikely to be needed on a slide.
Slides are for pictures, diagrams, formulae, tables of numbers... the sort of things that need to be seen to be appreciated. Anything else is a distraction to the audience.

As a former lecturer in Linguistics and translation, I would offer a different use case … though I’m perfectly happy for Nom to tell me I was wrong. Most, but not all, of the material I put on my slides was text, the actual text I was discussing … in translation lectures that included both the Chinese and the English translation under scrutiny. I also made available in advance of the lecture a PDF of the presentation — 3 slides per A4 sheet in portrait with background removed so that the slides remained readable but there was plenty of room at the side for them to take notes — which they could download and print.

For the slides themselves, I didn’t use black text on white, rather black text in a classic serif font, 24 point for a room for 30 students, on an off-white background to diminish the contrast slightly to be easier on the eyes. Bullet points were simple bullets; very simple animation used to bring in each new bullet. I used images and diagrams where possible and appropriate, brought in through a “dissolve”. The only “bling” I used was “Page turn” (Keynote) as a transition between slides ‘cos I liked it. And I controlled keynote using “Keynote Remote” on my iPhone, so I was part of the room, rather than having to stand behind a desk or lectern making a barrier between us.

So why stretches of text on my slides and PDFs for the students? Because my students needed to have that text and I didn’t want to have to keep pausing while they tried to take it down as dictation — and probably getting it wrong! — or having to repeat it. And I wanted them to be looking up and listening and observing what I was pointing to rather than head down all the time reading their printouts.

As for my colleagues: Chinese colleagues who used Powerpoint usually presented their slides from edit mode rather than presentation mode, but many in the humanities actually used Word, with all its ribbons etc., and just scrolled down through the file; I only experienced one foreign colleague’s presentation — she provided me with a copy as it was the first lecture in the Linguistics course for 3rd year undergraduates, the first and only time I taught it and the course books were unavailable — it was so full of pointless Microsoft bling and ghastly garish colours, different fonts in different sizes and colours, and unrelated clip-art, that the students burst out laughing as each new slide appeared!
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Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:19 am Post

I did once see a presentation where each slide transitioned with some exciting new, erm... transition. We had explosions, fireballs, ice storms, torn pages, melting...

The guy announced after the first transition that he'd been bored on the long flight over from the US.

It certainly broke the ice (b'dum dum chhhh), but for the life of me I cannot remember who the guy was, or what the presenation was about.
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