Designing Slides for Viewing on a Mobile Device

December 19, 2011 | Justin Hill
Designing Slides for Viewing on a Mobile Device

While I was visiting my parents over the Thanksgiving holiday, my not-so-computer savvy dad once again opened Pandora’s box and asked me what exactly it is that I do for work. Saying, “I’m a Multimedia Project Manager, Dad,” left him only more confused. So while we were sitting there watching football, I decided to take out my iPhone and show him a few examples of Brainshark video presentations, hoping this would help him understand (it didn’t). What it did do was make me realize that so much of the content we create for the web is not optimized for the mobile device. And the problem with that is that the difference between web content and mobile content is negligible these days…if it’s on the web, there’s a darn good chance someone is going to view it on a mobile device.

The Incredible Shrinking Screen

Of course, if your audience is viewing content on the go, they are doing so on a tiny screen, and this presents problems. It’s one thing to show your PowerPoint presentation on an eight foot screen in front of a live audience; it’s entirely different to show it on demand over an eight centimeter screen to someone sitting in an airport bar.

Don’t Get Fancy

Many times when creating a presentation, we try to spice it up, adding animations and layers of images and text, fancy graphics, etc. But when we design a presentation for a mobile device, less really can be more. Keep the slides simple and don’t include too much content. Your narrative will support what you have on the screen and will deliver your message with impact; your slides just need to keep the viewer captivated. The image can be simple, and when viewing on a mobile device, avoiding slide clutter is important - it’s ok to have more slides, with less content per slide. Let’s take a quick look at a presentation that delivers a strong message using limited, yet impactful slide imagery:

View presentation in a separate window.

“There are Dark Shadows on Earth, but its Lights are Stronger in the Contrast” – Charles Dickens

Another key element in making your mobile video presentation captivating is the effective use of the contrast design element. You want to use a color pattern that will allow text and imagery to stand out from the background and animate your graphics with distinct borders or drop shadows. Let’s view some other presentation examples that do exactly that:

View presentation in a separate window.

More video content is being consumed every day on mobile devices around the globe, and when building for your audience, you have to consider that more than one person out there is going to view your presentation from a mobile device. Following these quick tips can help you create media that will make an impact with an audience on the go.

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