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Fix Design Annoyances for Great PowerPoint Presentations

Alienating your audience is a terrible way to get through a presentation. As a presenter, you want to effectively communicate your message without annoying anyone.

In one of his “Annoying PowerPoint” surveys, David Paradi presented seven of the most annoying presentation mistakes involving content, delivery, and design.

Let’s discuss four of these bad habits and why they stop you from making great PowerPoint presentations.

1. Small Text

50.6% of participants said they disliked small, hard-to-read text.

Your content may be great, but small text might hinder you from conveying your message. Imagine if somebody wrote you a note with extremely tiny text — would you even go through the effort of finding a tool to read it?

You’d most likely just throw the note away. Make your slides noticeable to your audience.

Presentations are not white papers. Text shouldn’t be shrunk down just to fit more content into each slide. Consider the eyesight of your audience when choosing a font size, preferably one that they can view from a comfortable distance.

2. Full-Length Sentences

If you were asked to read a slide full of run-on sentences, would you actually bother looking at it? The survey showed that 48.4% of respondents thought this was one of the biggest annoyances.

Compared to single words or phrases, people need more time to read complete sentences. Make it easier for them by using bullet points and keywords in your slides.

3. Overly Complex Diagrams

Every presenter has resorted to diagrams and charts to explain a process or concept at least once in their lives.

However, overly complex visual guides may actually make it more difficult for audiences to comprehend your point. According to the survey, 30.8% of participants hate hard-to-understand graphics.

Using diagrams isn’t a sin, but break them into sections so your thoughts aren’t cluttered in one place. Visuals can bring life to your message. However, if used improperly, it can confuse audiences. Stick to simple figures when communicating complex ideas.

4. Poor Color Choice

Inconsistently using color throughout your deck can cause eye fatigue. 25.8% of respondents cited poor color choice as one of the common pitfalls in a slide’s design.

Choosing the right colors for your PowerPoint design is a must. Be extra careful when experimenting with color combinations.

People have different perspectives towards different palettes. When in doubt, use a dark color on a light background, or vice versa. Don’t use colors that are too similar to each other, as these are hard to distinguish, especially when projected.


Put a stop to bad presentation habits and optimize your deck. All it takes is a little extra care when designing your slides. Make sure your text is big enough to read from a distance.

Use shorter phrases or single words instead of full sentences so that it’s easier for people to remember your message. Don’t overcomplicate things with complex diagrams.

Catch your audience’s interest and stay on top of the presentation game by improving the design elements of your PowerPoint slide.



Latest Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results.” Think Outside the Slide. Accessed April 22, 2015.
The Art of Graphs and Charts.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2014. Accessed April 22, 2015.


Featured Image: “You Suck at PowerPoint!” by Jesse Desjardins on SlideShare

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