When Presentation Eclipses Story

futurelab default header

by: David Armano

Is it possible for design to be too good?  At last weeks Design Research conference, Tania Aldous of Whirlpool gave a stunning presentation called " Winning the Hearts and Minds of Consumers".  I cannot overstate how visually magnificent her presentation was.

I felt like a novice as I sat there drooling over the amazing graphics and motion design.  The presentation was a non-stop visual dream come true.  The entire thing was professionally crafted—impeccable and brilliant.  The display of information was tasteful and well executed.  I'm not exaggerating—it was that good.

Only one problem.  I can't remember what the heck her presentation was about.

I don't mean this in a snarky way at all.  Tania was very articulate and gave good voiceover to her "slides".  I was so darn distracted and engrossed by the effectiveness of her visual presentation that it was hard for me to focus on what she was saying.  I am not alone—the designer next to me was also enthralled and I think somewhat distracted.  We kept chatting back and forth on how the presentation was done. What software did they use?  Was it professionally designed?  It had to be.  There was no other explanation. 

So it got me thinking.  Can a presentation be so well designed that it actually detracts from the story?  I'm really wrestling with this one.  I couldn't find one thing wrong with that presentation.  It was absolutely smart, attractive and effectively communicated information in an elegant fashion.  Maybe that was the problem.  The presentation layer was perfect.  Too perfect.  There were no signs of imperfection.  Nothing that said  "a human being touched this".

I'm going to have to think about this one some more.  It's really messing with my head.

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/09/when-presentati.html