[VIDEO + BLOG] SLIDE MAKEOVER #3: How to clean up and organize complex information on your slides


[VIDEO + BLOG] SLIDE MAKEOVER #3: How to clean up and organize complex information on your slides


I recently asked my email list readers to submit their slides for a possible makeover. The deal was this: if I selected their slides for a makeover, they would get the revised PowerPoint or Keynote file back and I would publish it on my new YouTube Channel.

I had no idea what to expect from this request. Would people even be interested in that? What if I couldn't think of anything to do or improve? What if it's a topic that I don't even understand? So yeah, I was kind of anxious, but I did it anyway.

And I'm so glad I did.

People were interested and submitted some great slides for me to work with. Most are not on my topic, but that ended up being just fine. I still had design ideas to share.

In my first makeover, I show you how to improve your slides even if you're using visuals and minimal text. 

In my second makeover, I show you how to design slides even if they're only (or mostly) text. 

This is my final makeover of the series (for now), submitted by Dr. Jeannette Bohg. Her presentation is at the intersection of machine learning and robotics. Fascinating stuff!

Watch the Video


You'll definitely want to watch the video for this, because the changes I made are SUPER easy to implement, but they'll make a big impact on your slides. 

Video Notes and Screenshots

My last two slide makeovers were great examples of how a slide can be significantly transformed. But Jeannette's presentation is, overall, well-designed and includes effective use of animations. What I enjoyed about this makeover was that it gave me a chance to show you that you don't always need to drastically change your slides to improve them.

Even small tweaks can make a big impact. In this makeover, I wanted to focus on improvements that would have a big, but subtle impact: decluttering and organizing to reduce cognitive burden. These slides had the following: 

  • Template clutter 
  • Not a strong hierarchy
  • Messy models

Note. There was one slide I mentioned that did not do well on BATTS. Click this link to learn more about my Ban All That Text Scale (BATTS). 


Slide Makeover #1: Easy peasy decluttering

Here is the before and after for the slide: 


Right now, you might be like ... wait, that's it?

Well, yea. But isn't that good news? I hear from people constantly that they don't have enough time to improve their slide design. So if that's you, then this should actually make your day, because this is a strategy that involves minimal effort, while also having a big impact. Win-win, right?

And remember, what you don't see is that most of Jeannette's slides had lots of complex information in them. This clutter might not be a big deal for just one slide. But over time, slide after slide, that harmless template clutter starts to exhaust the audience's working memory. That's why it's so important to remove clutter! 

Slide Makeover #2: From messy to organized

Here is the before and after for this slide:


By using a few intentional design strategies, I organized the slide so that it will be easier for the audience to understand quickly. Side note: the new slide would also make a great image to share on social media! 

Download the Show Notes!


Thanks for reading!

with joy,
Dr. Echo Rivera