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Chapter 6 - Computer Concepts and Legal Applications

Graphic Presentations (Cont.)

Master slides and templates. One of the easiest and quickest ways to design a presentation is to use the prepackaged presentations that are part of most presentation programs. These prepackaged templates contain master slides, speaker notes, outlines, and handouts. They have the heading and bullet items already in place, and only require the insertion of applicable text. The color scheme chosen generally follows all of the rules for contrast, letter size, and so forth. In fact, some are tailored for different types of businesses or professions.

Slides. Slides are generally the building blocks of your presentation. A series of slides will form a presentation. The slides’ main points should support the speaker’s comments. Slides are not intended to reflect all the words of the presenter. As you create a visual, ask whether each visual supports the main theme of your case. Clip art, flow charts, and graphs can add significantly to the understanding and communication of your message.

Use comparisons, analogies, or examples for the trier of fact to better understand the message. Be succinct with the words on the slide. Use the following checklist on your slides:

  • Six by six rule - No more than six lines of type per slide and no more than six words per line;
  • You should be able to read a non-projected transparency or computer slide from 6 feet away. A 35-mm slide should be able to be read at arm’s length;
  • The smaller the group, the fewer the visuals;
  • There should only be one message per slide;
  • Seven items per slide - lines, blocks, clip art, etc.;
  • Complex material should be shown sequentially.

Font and Type Size. The choosing of the type is the most important part of your presentation because 60-80% of your presentation is in text. Legibility is the key. Remember that fonts are designed to carry a message, not to draw attention.

There are thousands of typefaces that come in variations such as bold, italic, and different sizes. Different types of emphasis can be obtained by using italics, bold, or different colored fonts. The Helvetica styles work the best since they are simple and clean. Use only one to two fonts per presentation. Be consistent in the use of fonts, sizes, and weights. The size of the font is referred to as points, with the greater the number the larger the font. The 16 to 18 point type is preferred, since it can generally be read from anywhere in the room.

Colors. Colors can add immediate interest and impact to your presentation. Studies have shown that colors in presentations can accelerate learning, retention, willingness to read, increase action, highlight information, and reflect favorably on the speaker. Colors must be used wisely.

Warm colors such as yellow, red, and orange portray intensity and movement. They symbolize fear, excitement, passion or speed. They advance toward the audience. They are good for lettering and to highlight, poor for backgrounds. They are also good for motivating an audience.

Cool colors, such as green and blue, are associated with water, meadows and harmony. They signify solidarity, dependability, security, calm, credibility and a conservative approach to information. Examples are Big Blue for IBM and blue uniforms for policemen. Green may be more effective with presentations requiring feedback. Blue is best used for backgrounds, since it retreats from the audience.

Black as a background is perceived as final. It is often used for emphasis when displaying financial data.

Backgrounds. If you are going to change a background color, it will assist the listener if you first use a color such as gray to neutralize the effect on the audience. · Graduated color backgrounds are pleasing and professional looking

Contrast. Contrast refers to the color of your background and the other lettering and objects on your slide. The best contrasts are colors that are complementary on the color wheel. For example, with a blue background choose yellow or orange lettering. It is important to create high contrast slides. Contrast of colors allows your message to be read at any distance. The contrast of the colors you choose may be more important then color itself. For example, yellow and white type against a blue background is easy to read.

Graphics and Clip Art. Graphics should add structure, emphasis, or organization and not merely decoration to your slides. They will distract from your message if not clearly linked to the subject. They can be very visually appealing

There are two primary formats for clip art.

  • Bit-mapped (raster) images are recorded pixel by pixel. Tiff and PCX are the most common bit-mapped formats. They can be imported into presentations. They cannot be enlarged nor shrunk without losing some of the resolution.
  • Vector images are composed of a set of computer instructions that redraws the pictures, depending upon what size you want. They can be enlarged or shrunken without losing detail. It cannot match the detail or realistic look of bitmap images. EPS, CGM and WMF are standardized vector formats.

See also, Chapter 8, Using Multimedia in Legal Proceedings, Charts and Graphs.

Medical Illustrations. A.D.A.M - the acronym stands for Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine stores intricate color illustrations of all organs and systems of the body. By a simple point and click method, one can explore how various parts of the body are linked together or create specialized illustrations. For example, one can paint onto any part of the body first, second or third degree burns. The program also contains detailed animation sequences showing how standard surgical operations proceed. The program was originally developed for medical instruction and is now is used in over half the medical schools in the country. The CD-ROM contains superbly rendered color images, animations of the human anatomy as well as common injuries, radiology and histology. Output can be to color printers, video, black and white, or saved in a file. A.D.A.M. Software, Inc. (www.adam.com) (800-755-2326).

Builds and Transitions. The term “builds” refers to presenting your information in stages to keep the audience’s attention. You should emphasize key points with color builds. Auto build is a slideshow feature that enables you to automatically create color builds. For example, you develop one bullet chart with four topics and then select “auto build” and the program converts it into four slides, each adding a topic in a bright color while the previous one fades to a less bright color. Dimming back the prior point ensures the factfinder will focus on your present point and it will control the eye movements of your audience.

Transitions are what the audience sees as you move from one slide to the next. Selections include dissolve, fade right, blinds, etc. A word of caution, be consistent with the same transition throughout the presentation. Otherwise, the audience will be distracted by the various transitions that are employed.

Output. After completing your slide presentation, how do you display it to your audience? There are numerous output media and the proper one depends on a number of factors. The output can be transferred to 35-mm slides, black and white overheads, color overheads, LCD projectors and monitors. See Section 8 for a detailed discussion of output options.

Other Slideshow features

  • Hyperlinks. Hyperlinks is one of the newest features that stress user interactivity. With hyper linking, you can move around in your usually sequential presentation, depending upon the needs of your audience. You can place a “button” on a slide so that you can easily branch to a different point if you need to. These buttons can link to other slides, audio clips, video portions, or charts and graphs. It is the same as the hyperlinking that one enjoys on the World Wide Web. Say for example, that you are presenting to a client and he wants to discuss the budget for litigation support in the middle of your presentation. One can easily click on a predefined button and go to the slides where this area is discussed.
  • Rehearsal feature. To determine how long your presentation will be to deliver, use the rehearsal feature. The times are appended to each slide so it will assist in knowing whether to cut down or lengthen time on a particular slide.
  • Publish to the Web. Most slideshow programs now permit you to publish your presentation to a web site. This may be especially appealing when potential clients visit your site. It provides them with information that you are an astute presenter.
  • Check your spelling. Have someone else check your spelling also.

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