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Guidelines for Preparing Electronic Slides and Still Images

Suggestions for Preparation
A key aspect of your SIGGRAPH 2001 presentation is your electronic slide show. The audience will base its evaluation of you and your subject matter partly on the appearance of your images. An attractive, legible, and organized presentation will reflect positively on the content, and therefore on you. With a little effort, it's easy to create visuals that will enhance your presentation and hold your audience's attention. The following are some basic guidelines designed to assist you in your preparation.

Find out how much time is allowed for your presentation. Plan your talk and the number of slides to allow for a relaxed pace. One slide per one to three minutes is a good rule of thumb. Plan what you would change if the presentation had to be shortened or lengthened. Practice your talk before the conference. Time yourself. Force yourself to slow down a little. A rushed presentation will create more stress for you and won't be as compelling. There will be a staffed and equipped rehearsal room in the Convention Center at SIGGRAPH 2001 to help you with your final preparations.

SIGGRAPH presentation rooms are typically large, and your presentation must be legible from the back row. If you can step back six feet away from your computer's monitor and easily read your slide, your text is large enough. To achieve this, a good rule of thumb is to limit each slide to 8 lines of text or less, and limit each line of text to 30 characters or less. Type should be large, no smaller that 28 points, with generous line spacing. Use key words; the text on your slides should be simple and quick to read. You want the audience to pay attention to your presentation, not struggle to read your slides. Good, clear fonts to use are Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, and Times Roman. Clearly label charts and graphs. Label axes and include legends. The smallest text on the screen should have the highest contrast. (White text against a black background or light colored text with a black drop shadow or a dark background.) Incorporate only the essential elements of a diagram; simplify whenever possible. While it is tempting to leave in detail for the sake of accuracy, too much can reduce readability and obscure the real point you are trying to make. Consider breaking up complex diagrams into sections, one section per slide, so that each section can be made larger and therefore more legible.

Avoid the use of ALL CAPITAL letters. Words written in ALL CAPS are harder to read and take up more space on the screen. Use bold face and Italics for emphasis, or use a bright color such as yellow text when normal body text is white. Underlined text is not recommended.

Color and Contrast
Make good use of color and contrast. Dark backgrounds tend to be easier to view, especially with light text and graphics. Good background color choices are black, blue, maroon, or gradient dark colors. Good text colors are white or yellow. If you use a light background, use black or very dark text and graphics. Light backgrounds were practically impossible for electronic presentations before the evolution of the current projector technology.

Maintain consistency throughout your slides. Using the same background color, text size, text color, and uniform fonts throughout all the slides make it easier for the audience to follow the flow of your ideas.