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Designing PowerPoint Decks for the Smartphone

September 24, 2014 / Blog, PowerPoint, PowerPoint Design, Rick Enrico Blog, Tips & Tricks interactive presentations, mobile-viewing, online presentations, PowerPoint Design, smartphones

Millions of Americans are glued to their smartphones. According to data gathered by Statista Dossier, there are currently around 163 million smartphone users in the US. The numbers are also expected to rise to 220 million by 2018. This comes as no surprise, considering that industry giants like Apple and Samsung release innovative new designs almost every year. In fact, Apple just released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot of work to make sure that your PowerPoint decks are compatible for viewing on smartphones. All you have to do is follow these four basic rules:

1. Big and bold text

sample slide for smartphones 01
Matthew Smith / Note&Point

Even if the iPhone 6 Plus has a screen size of 5.5 inches, that’s still a lot less room than where you’d commonly show a PowerPoint deck.  Make sure that the font type and size that you use is extremely readable. Go for 30 points or higher. Stylized fonts should always be larger than your usual sans serif text. You don’t want the audience to squint just to read what you’re trying to say.

2. High-contrast colors

sample slide for smartphones 02
Idan Gazit / Note&Point

Another way to increase the readability of your PowerPoint designs is through high-contrast colors. Use either a dark background with light-colored text or vice versa. Similarly, avoid using colors that are too bright. Try for a more muted palette with only a few vibrant pops of color every so often.

3. Powerful images over bullet points and paragraphs

sample slide for smartphones 03
Stephen P. Anderson / Note&Point

Don’t overwhelm your target audience with too much text. Visualize your key points with powerful images instead. This will help keep your PowerPoint deck simple and straightforward. Don’t try to discuss too much concepts at one go. Explaining complicated concepts will require more sentences and paragraphs. If you feel like there’s something in your content that needs further explanation, simply link to other resources instead. You can also try to make a flowchart or an infographic using free online tools like Piktochart.

4. Simplicity

sample slide for smartphones 04
Stephen P. Anderson / Note&Point

Despite the need for visuals, it’s also important that you don’t complicate your PowerPoint designs. Remember, you don’t have much space to work with. Always be mindful of white space and maintain balance in your design. You can still add some animations and transitions, but keep them to a minimum. Aim for a seamless viewing experience. Having too many elements will cause your presentation to lag.

The Takeaway

Smartphone users love the flexibility and convenience it offers. From your phone, you have access to a host of information. If you want to settle a silly argument, you can simply ask Siri for the answer. If you want to keep your work on track, there are plenty of apps that help you organize your ideas and to-do-list.

Among the other things you can do on a smartphone is deliver and view a presentation. You can share your PowerPoint deck through SlideShare or Brainshark.

In the boardroom, you won’t have to set-up a laptop and projector. With interactive apps like SlideShark and SlideKlowd, you can share your presentation directly to your audience’s devices.



Smartphone Users in the US 2010-2019.” Statista. Accessed September 24, 2014.