When trying to communicate statistical information in a PowerPoint Presentation, it pays to pair down extraneous information that distracts from the main points you’re trying to present. In this “Before and After” example, the slide on the left has a very distracting series of vertical bars. It appears to be the type of chart that came directly out of Excel and no finessing was done to make the information more clear or “user friendly”. And what’s the meaning of that horizontal red line? Well, upon further examination, one can deduce that this is the average, but we shouldn’t expect our audience to have to work that hard when giving a PowerPoint presentation. The “after” example on the right, highlights the dollar amounts allocated to each school in a much simpler way. Because the actual dollar figure is called out, the length of the corresponding bars can be approximated. We don’t need a highly detailed chart here that plots out where each figure falls on the grid. The Average is clearly stated at the top of the bars,
in lieu of the red horizontal line, which is just confusing. And a little visual interest is added with the background image representing a typical student. I like to use background images a lot with statistics, but it’s important to keep in mind that the image needs to be simple. Superimposing statistical info on a photo that is highly detailed will just take the limelight away from what’s important, in this case, the dollar amounts.