A look into the future of presentation design
Over the years, we’ve seen trends come and go, from aesthetic updates to the rise of virtual presentations, and each one has left an impact on the way people present. While we still adhere to the basic principles of presentation design, we’re seeing brands evolve their look to match the times, and presenters adjust their approach to welcome more people and reach broader audiences.
So this year, we polled our resident presentation design and storytelling experts for some (almost certainly) accurate predictions about the trends in presentation design for 2023.
Accessible design is all about making sure every member of your audience can engage with your content. Microsoft has offered an Accessibility Checker tool in PowerPoint for years, but in our experience many users either ignored this tool or didn’t even know it existed. But as brands become more invested in equity and inclusion, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of requests for presentation design to follow accessibility guidelines.
We think this is a positive changes for many reasons. First, it’s the right way to design. Considering accessibility isn’t just a nice to have, it’s an essential way to ensure you are showing respect for and attention to your audience.
But it’s also likely to improve the quality of communications in many presentations. Many of the accessibility best practices that people are beginning to adopt will make it easier to communicate key ideas to every member of an audience.
As more and more emphasis is placed on accessibility, and more tools like PowerPoint’s built-in Accessibility Checker are used, the trend in slides will start to move towards accessibility best practices as a baseline.
From virtual to hybrid
Virtual presentations are here to stay. But hybrid and in-person presentations are making a comeback. As we transition out of a fully-remote work world and into a hybrid approach, we’ll see a return to the bold, visual style of keynote presentations and the return of motion, as we no longer need to worry about screen share lag.
But the switch back to in-person and hybrid presentations is about more than just visual flash. With a speaker at the center of attention again, presenters will relearn how to trim down the content on their slides to keep audiences engaged and focused. And as culture at large becomes increasingly visual (think TikTok, memes, or reaction clips), we’ll see less emphasis on slides packed with content, and more reliance on powerful visuals that support a presenter’s story.
Video and animation
The return to in-person presentations and the rise of visual culture are at the heart of a growing use of video and animation in presentations. Animation and video have always been a part of PowerPoint, but as people’s expectations around visual content change, you can expect presenters to adapt to this preference and give audiences what they want.
And that’s not just a capitulation, it’s a demonstration of a key principle of communication: know your audience.
If you step into a sales meeting with a slide full of bullet points, while your audience wants to see reaction GIFs and infographics, you’re going to struggle from the start.
Infographics & data visualization
If you’re sensing a pattern, you’re already ahead of the trends. As we noted above, a meta-trend for 2023 and beyond is a shift towards a more visual approach to content.
The place we are likely to see the greatest growth in the use of visuals is infographics and data visualization. There are two key reasons we’re predicting this: the growth of visual culture and the use of visual language, and the explosion of data being collected by companies. Visual culture speaks to the growth of video, social, and other primarily visual mediums. Visual language refers to how we use memes, emojis, reaction clips and similar tools to stand in for traditional communication.
Data is the heart of many business strategies. As more and more businesses collect, analyze, and apply data to their work, the need to neatly and clearly package and report on that data will increase as well. We anticipate more charts, graphs, and custom infographics finding their way into presentations for years to come.
As those trends grow, they drive a more visual approach to language as a whole. That means that wherever presenters can represent content visually, they will. That means more infographics, more data viz to capture the tremendous amounts of data companies work with, and more photography/video in presentations.
AI generated content
No list of tech-related predictions is complete without referencing AI at least once. While the explosion of AI has been predicted for years, it’s only in the last 12 months that we’ve seen AI-generated art and copy become more mainstream. Putting aside the ethical considerations for another discussion, the ability of AI to create useful content for business is improving, and as more people experiment and the technology matures, it will increasingly become a part of the way people build presentations.
If you are unsure, try it for yourself. Fire up ChatGPT and ask it to help you build a presentation about a topic of your choice. You can ask broadly, or you can supply some key details, but either way you’ll likely get something that at least works as a thought starter. And that’s just the beginning, given how new this technology still is.
Are our presentation design predictions correct? Maybe. But even if bigger trends emerge, these are certain to play a role in the evolution of presentation design.
Keep an eye on our blog or LinkedIn to see more about the way presentations change this year, and check back next January to see if we got it right, or if our crystal ball needs a little more polishing.
Looking for more information about presentation design and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.