Say It With Charts

The four main points of the work book for Say it With Charts, by Gene Zelazny are: 

  1. Simpler is better
  2. More is better
  3. Different is better
  4. Creativity is better

These are then illustrated with a number of examples. The main points I got from all the examples are: 

  • Think about the message you want to convey, and eliminate all material that distracts from that message.
  • It takes the same about of time to present five ideas on slide as it does to present five ideas on five slides.
  • Sometimes the solution can be as simple as switching the axes.
  • Sometimes just need to reduce the detail and highlight the most important element. Visualise the message not the mess.
  • Diagrams: Try to reflect the title in the design, for example the title includes “differences”, then use two boxes with the information and the world “vs.” between them.
  • Try to avoid having the user look back and forth, between different parts of the slide. Try use arrows or follow the natural left to right, top to down flow.
  • Waterfall charts: Best to show increases and decreases, can use bars shaped like arrows to show direction.
  • Simple is better: Reduce redundant labels where possible.
  • If the message is complex, then divide it into smaller thoughts and use a number of slides to get the story across.

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