Two Slides Enter an Alleyway – Only One Returns!Posted: January 27, 2012
One of the commenters asked for examples of what I thought were examples of (relatively) poor material design and (relatively) better design. I’m not trying to weasel out here by using (relatively). These things are relative. Both slides I’m going to show you have good and bad points. From my experience, one is less well-received than the other and I can list some reasons for it.
Both slides are from first year courses, one taught in 2006 and one taught in 2011. The first is Powerpoint, the second is Keynote. (All copyright and page number data has been removed.)
Here’s number 1, which is a ‘not so great’ example.
And here’s number 2, which is probably better:
So, what are the major differences? To me:
- Slide 1 is cramped and hard to read. Following the long yellow lines, despite the fiendishly good contrast, is difficult.
- Slide 2 is simple and pretty easy to read. To be honest, it’s also covering much less ground but its intention is clear. The little node structure, which graphically links this slide to all previous work on linked lists.
- Slide 1 is not a relaxing slide to look at – imagine that dominating a darkened lecture theatre.
- Slide 2 has clear separation between English and not-English, very easy on the eye.
Slide 1 is a multi-stage proof, an extended working piece that takes multiple slides. Slide 2 is a revision slide and summarises the core of a previous concept in one slide, allowing the lecturer to add information, question the class and embellish. The class will have read Slide 2 in a short time and then be able to concentrate. People will be starting at Slide 1 for some time, trying to follow the lines and work things out.
So there are, as promised, some examples for you. Do you agree with my assessment? There are many other things to say about both. What do you think?