Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Wisdom of Yoda?
Anyway, the point being made in this quote is that people tend to be afraid of blank space on a slide and need to fill it up with something. Or, as scientists with only fifteen minutes to convey our research to an audience, we are tempted to cram as much information as possible onto a single slide. This approach leads to a lot of clutter, which reduces audience comprehension and retention of the information.
Blank space, however, can be used very effectively to focus attention on a key point. Below is an example.
You can probably imagine the typical way such information would be presented--in a dense table or figure--and that the audience would have to struggle to sort out the key piece of information. By focusing in on that single important datapoint and extracting it from the background data noise helps the audience and at the same time makes the point in a much more memorable way.