Even though video is easier to produce today than ever, it still scares off a lot of content managers. A clever and convenient alternative is the animated presentation.
Designing visually arresting electronic presentations is less complicated to master than producing good video content. And if you set out to design the presentation to simulate a video, you can achieve surprisingly effective results.
Here are some basic tips:
Create a storyboard
You will design your best electronic presentations if you start with a storyboard, just like video producers. The storyboard is a visual tool that forces you to show what you mean, not just type in a bunch of bullet points. Storyboards don't need to rise to a high art form. Stick figures and scribbles serve the purpose just as well of how to advance the story in your presentation. When you design the presentation, the storyboard will serve as a guide for what visuals and text you will need.
Think like a video producer
Most times you design a presentation to deliver yourself. But in this case, think like a producer and design a presentation that will be on its own. That means making sure your slides tell a story, not just list points. It also can mean adding a voice-over to move along the narrative. Because electronic presentations can handle rich-media, include audio and short video clips to your arsenal of potential storytelling techniques.
Design slides that are scenes
Presentation slides can linger for several minutes while someone talks, but that won't hold a viewer's attention in a video-like format. You need to design slides in the same way directors use cuts to sustain interest and surprise the eyes of viewers. This usually involves thinking of a slide as a short scene in the progression of a story as opposed to a key message with sub-points. How you design the scene determines the success of each slide.
Look around for great visual treasures
You probably have a lot more visual assets at hand than you realize. Don't overlook still photographs that can convey movement through how you animate a slide. Charts also can be effective, again using animation to zero in on a numerical punch line. Short video and audio clips can be inserted. And you can create illustrations. Dan Roam of "Back of the Napkin" fame has made a career out of telling complex stories with simple stick figures. Picture-editing tools have become more accessible that also allow you to create or modify images. The best advice is to be curious and look around for visual treasures.
Don't forget to insert some passion
Many presentations are passion-less, but good videos carry emotional cargo, representing storytelling at its best. Even a visual explanation in the form of an animated presentation can contain some light-hearted humor by empathizing with viewers on the difficulty of the task being illustrated. What's intriguing about animated presentations is the ability for a designer to create a story track that enables him or her to inject their passion directly into the visual script.