Every year, SlideShare shares the “zeitgeist” of the uploaded presentations for the previous year. Most of the information is just interesting, but there are sometimes gems that can help you create better slides for your presentations. This is what I’m taking away from the 2011 Zeitgeist presentation.
You want to keep each slide focused on a very small point, which means you may need more slides. The average number of slides in the most popular presentations on SlideShare last year was 65. But each of these slides was sparse in verbiage, averaging about 32 words per slide.
This supports what I’ve been saying all along: slides should be simple and point out only the most salient point that you are covering. They should not be a crutch that holds all your content. They should augment what you’re saying, not belabor it.
Another interesting note is that popular slides tended to use sans serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica and Gillsans. Although serif fonts are more readable in small formats such as webpages and books, sans serif fonts are more readable (and clean looking) when presented in large formats or when the text is sparse.