I have found so much tragedy in being an Instructional Designer that I must offer up a lament. I have learned many things from ID and one of them is that anyone with access to a software program thinks they are an accomplished Instructional Designer capable of creating the most scintillating pieces of instruction know to mortal man. Part of my current assignment involves coming along behind a Communications major and applying ID principles to some of the resources she’s created. On the other hand, I have found that I am now the kind of person who worries about kerning. No, seriously. I’m starting to care about it. The D in my ID moniker has taken on a life of its own.
So when I see things like this: http://14434396.r.lightningbase-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/blended-learning-infographic.jpg marketed under the rubric of an “infographic,” my heart despairs. The visual conveys information. It also contains graphic elements. It also exists as a single piece. I suppose it therefore fits an entirely arbitrary definition of “infographic.” However, there is NOTHING about this so-called infographic’s content that supports it’s design. In other words, this could have just as easily been a series of slides in a PowerPoint presentation (and in all honesty, that’s probably where it was conceived). To that end, I believe it is time for Ed Tufte to come out with a new phrase: “Death By Infographic.”
So, with this thought in mind, here are Presley’s Principles for Pitch-Perfect Presentations
- Form Follows Function. Using our example, what is the function of this “infographic”? I believe its function is to serve as an advertisement to generate interest in blended learning. Does the form of this infographic achieve its purpose? I’ll let you decide.
- Outcome Overrules Output. It doesn’t matter how cool you think something is, does it achieve its purpose? For instance, I really like the Geico commercials. I’ve even subscribed to their YouTube channel so I get the latest updates on their new commercials. Their OUTPUT is outstanding. But do I buy Geico insurance? No. Am I likely to? Probably not. Their outcome in terms of me personally isn’t achieving their objectives. Do the pieces that we develop achieve outcomes or are they merely superior output (for which some of us can bill handsomely)? Remember, this need not be an either/or choice.
- Always Alliterate Unless… This is the principle that one should be intentionally disruptive. What is the most interesting character in the following string: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoOOOOO Was it the 4th O from the left? I’m sure Lajuana would say it is because that’s just the kind of person she is. The point is, we create interest when we present something slightly unexpected, slightly off-kilter, slightly out of the norm. What could be more boring than a view of a wall of apartment windows? But when we do something just a little different, we get this: http://imgur.com/gallery/P2ei3 I used to be a perfectionist until I discovered that the imperfections are what creates interest. Case in point – I probably would not really have paid any attention to the referenced infographic if it had not been so outrageously imperfect. So I guess it paid off for them in the end. In other words, don’t pay attention to anything I just wrote.