Having considered the limitations, now’s the time to start planning the slideshow (see Figure 2). The goal here is to create a series of slides that users can navigate through while following whatever it is you’re trying to get across. When put this way, it should be obvious that the argument or explanation is the key thing to crystalize first, and the slides themselves are merely a means to an end. Spend some time with a pad and pencil outlining what it is you want your slides to get across and how each slide will follow on from the one that preceded it.
A metaphor often used in teaching is the idea that a lesson or lecture is like a bridge, and that bridge needs to be built stepwise from one riverbankwhat the student knowsto the other riverbankwhat they need to know. For our purposes, each of the steps that build that bridge can be compared to a single slide in the slideshow. Thinking in this way is doubly important when presenting slideshows online because you won’t be there to vocally explain what’s going on or to handle questions raised by the audience.
Decide how many slides you’re going to put online. The first slide will be the title slide, and the last slide the summary or conclusion. All the slides in between need to be stepping-stone slides bridging the gap between the first and last slides. When presenting slides in person, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 1 minute per slide, simply because it takes that long to explain a worthwhile fact or argument. An online slideshow is different because the viewer will decide how long to stay with one slide before moving on to the next. Even so, it’s worth considering how long someone will spend viewing your slides. Slideshows used as sales pitches, for example, will need to be brief and to the point, but slideshows used for staff training can be a bit less hurried.
Figure 2 Microsoft Word’s Notepad is a useful tool for drafting slideshow plans.