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It doesn't have to be PowerPoint

Presentation to ASC on alternatives to using PowerPoint to deliver research results
by

Tim Macer

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of It doesn't have to be PowerPoint

51% of research projects are delivered as PowerPoint documents*
*2009 Globalpark Market Research Software Survey from meaning ltd
That's up from 48% in 2006
Just how important is PowerPoint to survey research?
A question we asked:
What percentage of projects currently involves the following deliverables or distribution methods to the client?

PowerPoint
Word
Acrobat PDF
Printed tabs
Online static reports
Interactive analysis
MS Excel
Digital dashboards
Among larger research companies, it's already 57%
What’s the problem with PowerPoint?
The ubiquity of Powerpoint
We learned…
2009 Globalpark Market Research Software Survey from meaning ltd
If anything, I'm surprised it isn't more
What are the viable alternatives?
But what do we use PowerPoint for in market research?
Criteria
engaging
intelligent
easy to use
available now

Prezi
Instant Intelligence Reporting
Dapresy
Infotools Viewers
Q
InfoTrend for trackers
InfoSwitch for loyalty studies
Pizzazz in Research: Renewing the Rules of Engagement
Thursday 30th September 2010, Imperial College, London
ASC One-day conference September 2010
Creating engaging results
Loading PowerPoint…
We also asked what improvements users wished for most in the analysis and reporting software they used
PowerPoint again, but closely followed by web-browser analytical tools and dashboards
Q
These new tools all provide interactive visualisations with movement.
Debriefs
As the ‘deliverable’
As the report
It's a presentation tool that is no longer being used to prepare presentations
Presentations
Presenting charts
As a replacement for the report
Presenting results
Delivering bullet-point reports
Distributing results
Sending the presentation to people who don't attend the debrief
Gapminder
from Tim Macer
Some viable antidotes to PowerPoint
Instant Intelligence
Reporting

2. Build a crosstab: choose the variables
3. Pick a canned layout
4. Preview the cross-tab with the data you currently have
5. Now view it as a chart — but this chart doesn't do it for this question…
6. Try a different template until you are happy with the chart
7. Now get the software to save this as an editable Excel file
8. The charts are hooked to the data - through this is just snapshot of the current data while you are working to finesse your charts in Excel
10. Preview it to see what the end user will see it when published. The user now has drop-down menus to vary the variables and filters being viewed.
1. A dashboard microsite based on MR data — users can select reports, and do dashboardy things like choose different filters or variables
9 Next, you re-import the updated Excel workbook to use it as a template for creating all the reports with the variables and filters that you choose
12. IIR will publish to Excel, PowerPoint and even Xcelsius, as here.
11. Now you create the “reports” you want to view from the charts created. The folders and reports will form the tabs and dropdowns.
an expert system for lay users to analyse survey data using advanced multivariate methods
Rich metadata is used in the background to determine what kind of analysis is relevant as you select each question
Q
The ‘question’ here is set of related questions — Q understands how to display this as a grid of questions.

It will also use the metadata to determine what values or statistics are probably the most useful ones to display. Here it has automatically selected row percentages.
Q will examine the metadata of the questions being presented to decide what is the best significance test to apply.

When testing batches of table, it uses the false discovery rate (that is, rather than testing at the 0.05 level of significance, it examines the data to find a more appropriate level of significance)
Q's ‘smart tables’ feature lets you pick a question, then throw all the other variables at, and it will sort the resulting series of cross-tabs according to statistical significance
The user just selects the variable, but behind the scenes, Q chooses the best significane tests to use, for example
With the multiple response data, Wilk’s Lambda is used to test for statistical significance
With a ranking crossed with a categorical variable, a Likelihood Ratio test will be conducted
With a crosstab of two categorical variables, Pearson’s Chi Square Test of Independence is conducted.
There’s an easy tool for creating maps. Q looks at the metadata to determine what map to produce: here it is a correspondence map.
The map also lets the user edit it, such as to take out ‘none of these‘ or cross it by itself. It redraws the map and if necessary will use a different method too
Q understands time series and lets you re-calibrate your timelines — such as to make this monthly series into a weekly series
As months shift to weeks, Q intelligently handles missing periods
It also puts the series labels in a nice place!
motion charts first developed by Gapminder.org
ideal for animating time series data
could be applied to MR trackers
or any trend data
now freely available as a part of Google chart tools as 'Google Motion Charts'
This is Prezi
A great new tool for creating presentations
Web based - but can download an executable for Mac or PC
Non-linear, non hierarchical
Can incorporate graphics and Flash or MP4 movies very easily
Apply order to chaos by defining a path
Edward Tufte
James Parsons
Nick Southgate
Tufte, E. PowerPoint is Evil, Wired Magazine, 2003
Tufte Edward, 2003. Essay: “The cognitive style of PowerPoint.”
“Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure.”
Highly critical of PowerPoint’s weaknesses. Highlighed the fatal role a ‘PowerPoint culture’ played in allowing the Challenge Shuttle disaster to happen. Important knowledge was there, but was buried, filtered away and never reached senior management because PowerPoint had largely replaced the written report.
Specific criticisms:
sequential nature: thought and ideas are not linear
Low information content - typically 40 words per slide = a few seconds silent reading
False hierarchies: often the most important information is at the lowest level in the smallest writing
Parsons, J. 2004. “PowerPoint is not written in stone. Business communication and the lost art of storytelling.” Research Conference. MRS. London.
PowerPoint is a useful medium but market researchers must be aware of its dangers
It is a visual medium — landscape format, projected images—sits uneasily with facts and content
Ritualistic—a shared experience with certain expectations—but remove the deck and circulate in isolation, and the context is lost
Designed to be looked at, not read
“So this is common practice in some organisations…

“Documents written in a medium designed to be looked at for immediacy rather than
read for detail, by convention vulnerable to ambiguities, invested with a mythical
authority, written using mechanisms of abridgement and abbreviation over which
there is no convention or consensus, are passed as key documents to persons not
present at the meeting of their presentation.”
Southgate, N. 2006. “The cost of cliché charts: I never want to see again.” Research Conference, MRS, London.
“The cost of cliché is an insipid one. Cliché fills spaces but empties minds. It makes what research does seem predictable and commonplace. It drives out real insight in favour of platitudes. It treats fertile areas of enquiry with glibness. It strips meaning from the provocative.”
Critical of presentations and debriefs that rely heavily on cliché, on gratuitous illustration and on samey charts.
Structural problems

low information content per slide
sequential nature makes comparisons difficult
arbitary heirarchies
difficult and time-consuming to produce

Problems of misuse

clichéd, boring and just not engaging
widely used not to support an oral presentation but as a report substitute
hard for users to search and navigate
Conclusions
It really doesn't have to be PowerPoint every time
We need to stop abusing PowerPoint by using it as the principal deliverable: it is a presentation tool
To make results engaging, users need to be able to engage with them
Design matters
The new tools can add the missing components of depth and movement
Our responsibility as curators of content
Moves data presentation from a two-dimensional view to a multi-dimensional one
A true portal/dashboard tool for survey data that requries only conventional DP skills (and preferably, an eye for the visual too)
With appropriate authority users can drill down to view individual verbatim comments — ideal for voice of the customer or mystery shopping surveys
There is good support for time series data, with a built-in understanding of periods and smoothing, based on date alone
The flexible and customisable charting is not based on MS Office.
Drill-down actions can be defined that are approporiate to the content and what the user is likely to want to see in more detail
Dapresy is strong on stakeholder reporting, where the view of the data varies according to the user's role and responsibilities
Different data sources can easily be combined—case data and summarised data
Compact, dashboard style charts like this, with several different kinds of data and presentation are notoriously difficult to create or update in PowerPoint or Excel, but are built-in to this software.
A simple-to-use survey dashboard workflow which delivers dashboards and stakeholder reports in a variety of formats
There are numerous problems
Problems we face in research
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Tim Macer
meaning ltd
London, UK
http://www.meaning.uk.com
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