Powerpoints are boring: Elog.io solves the problem

Posted by Mathias Klang on July 25, 2014
Photo by Flickr user russel davies, via photopin

Photo by Flickr user russel davies, via photopin

Powerpoints are really horrible. At best they are still dull and the worst ones could suck the will to live out of anyone. You know the type. A white slide covered in more bullet points than a SWAT team’s armory. The tedium of listening to someone reading the text is only marginally better than a pounding toothache or a summer migraine (pick your own poison).

So what to do if you are a presenter? I give plenty of talks and I really want my slides to do two things: 1) I want them to mildly entertain and increase the general well being among the audience, and 2) I want them to remind me to stay on track in the message I am building – all this, naturally, without alienating or sedating the audience.

My technique is to use LOTS of images; each slide is a new – and striking – image, while at the same time keeping the text to a minimum. No more than 6 words on a slide. Less if possible. The image can complement the message, or not; if it doesn’t, at least the image entertains and helps the audience stay alert to my message.

Finding images could have been a problem but thanks to Flickr and Creative Commons licenses there are millions to choose from. The challenge is picking the right image for the right slide – but I see this as an artistic choice.

Since all the images I use are published under Creative Commons licenses, I need to give credit where credit is due. I write the name of the photographer, photo, license and repository. This may not sound like much, but when I use 60 images in one presentation, this is a challenge.

As part of the process, I save images I like so I can use them in future presentations. This means I have a folder on my laptop with over 1300 saved images, each of them marked with the photographer and licensing information. See: this is getting a bit more complex, annoying and time consuming.

So what I want is a tool that does all this work for me. I want it to remember where the pictures are from, who took them, what licenses are used and more basic stuff like that. I would also love if the tool could also remember additional information such as where the image was taken, when it was used in presentations and online, and basically anything else of relevance now and in the future.

At first glance this seems overwhelming. But the same can be said of many of the tools in our life. The Elog.io web service with tool applications is far in the lead for cracking this problem. I can take an image from Flickr and paste it into a document – magically all the licensing information just appears. Problem solving at its best.

photo credit: russelldavies via photopin cc