A number of examples include:
Every organisation is different and your experiences may be different, but I thought I would take this opportunity to share a number of tips and tricks for making awesome presentations and infographics that I have picked up...
1. Consider your audience
The most important thing to consider is your audience. Talk to them. Ask them what they want.
A presentation or infographic should turn raw data into useful information, by organising information for your audiences.
In Coventry City Council, our performance reporting arrangements involve three levels of reporting, from high-level summary scorecards to detailed report cards, and a directory of reports across the organisation.
2. Responsive design
Design should be responsive to the medium.
Spend time re-creating and redesigning your work for different forms of media to make best use of their strengths, for instance, paper, websites, interactive, mobiles, print, presentation slides, animations, videos.
3. Use the software packages that you have
It's not about software - it's about audience, intent and purpose.
Word, Excel and PowerPoint are not the best packages in the world, but they are surprisingly powerful. In times of austerity, PowerPoint can be used as a free graphic design and page layout package (replacing software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign); and an animation package. There are also open-source software that is free and entirely legal to use as well. Use them!
4. Draw your own charts
The default charts in Microsoft Office are terrible. Many of the fancy performance management packages also produce awful charts that look superficially good but are actually rather awful.
Think of your audiences, draw your own charts and measure them to ensure that they are factual / evidence-based.
5. Choose a limited colour palette
Consider how colours can be used to bring out your data. Websites can help you choose colours that go well together. In Coventry, we have made things very colourful - but each colour represents something. For documents that are designed for print, we have also ensured that they also work well in black and white. It is also important to ensure that documents are accessible to your audiences.
6. Iterative development – test things out!
Nobody will always get it right. Test ideas out with your colleagues and audiences to gain continuous evaluation and feedback. Get them to come up with their own ideas to ensure people understand what you are trying to convey. Use the web – and build on ideas from other people.
Si Chun Lam, January 2014
Links updated 25/11/2014 to reflect new Coventry City Council website.