Designers are clever folk and too often abused. I mean look at this from Critical Care Conference 2016. Imagine the time and effort and skill that has gone into this? It’s bright and dynamic and through the complexity some structure and function is emerging but importantly one can discern not an individual colour but many colours working together. It could be a metaphor for the multi-disciplinary team in effective Critical Care. And then some muppet puts their slide up beside it. Nightmare.
A plea, to conference organisers, to conference chair persons, to audiences and basically anyone who can influence this, branding is important, that we understand, but when the branding takes over and the whole thing looks like, well, like this, it isn’t working. We know which conference we are in, it was the same conference we were in when the presentation started and, unless death releases me, it is likely to the same conference when the presentation fails. The psychological principles are really quite simple: that is totally distracting. It’s not the fault of the designer, their brief was perfectly delivered. It’s not the fault of the presenter, they didn’t know what would be happening behind them, beside them and all over them. Can you actually see the speaker?
How could we make this better? The speaker needs adequate lighting so the audience can see and engage with them. There should be nothing directly behind them that causes any optical conflict. The presenters slides should be easily viewed and nothing should cause conflict in trying to view them. Then, before and after each presentation, as TV channels do, perhaps then remind audiences which designer’s nightmare they are stuck in.