fitting big ideas on small screens

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With business presentations being made in virtual meeting rooms, a whole new design aspect needs to be considered: the size of the screen…

PowerPoint presentations would conventionally be projected on a large screen in a real conference room, with light and sound adjusted to optimize viewing.

In other words, everyone in the meeting would view the same presentation in the same way.

Now, with presentations being streamed into a multiplicity of WFH spaces, via a variety of gadgets, you have no way of knowing, leave alone controlling how the recipients will see your presentation.

Therefore, while continuing to “think big” in terms of ideas, you will have to starting “designing small” – i.e. keeping the small screen of the smartphone in mind when envisioning and executing those slides.

This doesn’t mean a sized-down version of a conventional design – it means:

a) looking at what some of the principles of small-screen design are


b) learning to apply and adapt them for small screen ppt presentations. 

To get you started in this direction, we’d like to share 2 very valuable points from a short and sharp piece on ‘mobile-first’ product design:

  1. Simplicity – which is a mantra for every effective slide presentation, as we’ve stressed often on our blog: see this post on cutting clutter
  2. Legibility – which relates to choices of font, another crucial element – see the pull-out below:

Try avoiding Designer and Script fonts, as they can often be illegible (even more on smaller screens). Instead, cling to Serif and Sans Serif.

Below are some of my personal favorites –

  • SF Pro Display (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Inter (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Playfair Display (Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Charter (Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Open Sans (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Gilroy (Sans Serif) — Paid (Buy)

Font size is also very critical, especially while tending towards smaller screens. We wouldn’t want users to pinch and zoom every second to plow through a page. Apple, in its Human Interface Guidelines, recommends a minimum ‘Body Text’ size of 17pt, while Google’s Material Design suggests it should be 16pt.

To help you get a whole new perspective on how design works on small screens, we’ll be back with more resources that walk you through this brand new brave new world where small needs to be – more than beautiful – powerful, in just the right way. Meanwhile, you can read the article we’ve quoted from, in entirety here