Design Tip of the Day


Advertisers know about glance media.

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You understand this principle very well, too.  Take a look at the slide below.  Give yourself three seconds to see, take in, and digest the material on the slide.

After three seconds, what can you recall about the slide?  If you’re like most human beings, you probably don’t remember much… maybe the first line along with the image of the typewriter.  This is because our dominant sense is sight; we’re visual creatures.  We remember pictures and faces; we don’t respond well to or remember text.  That’s not a bad thing!  Text isn’t that visually engaging or interesting if it’s presented in a bulleted list like the one above.  Remember: bullets kill!

The three second rule of glance media relates to the signal to noise ratio.  When a slide has high signal and low noise, an audience will be able to look at a slide and process the visual message in three seconds.  Advertisers know and apply this principle because they know that an effective message should be seen and digested in just a glance.  Simplicity is key.

Now that you know about the three second rule, take a look at the slide below.  Once again, repeat the exercise: give yourself only three seconds to digest the material on the slide.  After three seconds, what can you recall?

Image Credit

This time, the visual is crystal clear, and audiences easily and effortlessly understand the message in three seconds.  If you use the Monroe typewriter, you’ll be like Marilyn Monroe.  In fact, you can probably digest that message in just one second!

All slides should follow the three second rule.  It is possible, and it works for audiences everywhere.  People often protest this method because it is so much easier to type your entire speech on your slide in bullet point format, turn around during your speech with your back to the audience, and read your slideshow.  But, as with everything in life, shortcuts rarely lead to the most successful, effective results.  The easy route in visual presentation is the route that leads directly to boredom for audiences.

Why is glance media important when delivering a speech with a slideshow?  How can you incorporate the three second rule into your next visual presentation?


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