One of the most vital tasks I participate in is consensus building on various elements of an application. It might be workflow related, look and feel of a view, etc.
My first boss was a sales person where I had the pleasure of being his demo boy. He presented while I bounced between PowerPoint and the application. (In fact, I believe this is where I learned alt-tab. J) I also participated in building the PowerPoint slides. The point here is that I learned PowerPoint early and it has been my primary means of customer facing consensus building for the past 15 years.
Last year, ProModel added Keith Knudsen to the staff. Keith is a very talented User Experience Designer. Keith brings a very different background that I continue to learn from. Recently he was leading a meeting where we were discussing a pretty complicated line of business workflow. Instead of a PowerPoint, Keith created a very large image where he could pan around the image and tell a non-linear story. It was basically a large flow diagram with mocked up screenshots and arrows going everywhere.
The customers we were presenting to were very engaged in the presentation. Asking the presenter to pan the image feels more socially acceptable than going back 3 slides. The business work flow did not lend itself very well to a linear presentation. While the discussion was happening, Keith also was hand drawing new arrows and edits on top of the diagram, which would have been less effective with 20 different slides.
I absolutely love when someone shows me a different way and gets me out of my box. For me, it was “In front of customer = PowerPoint”. I know I cringe at the thought of seeing another PowerPoint presentation. Since Keith’s meeting, I have begun incorporating the large image diagram into my customer presentations. The response has been positive. I generally do better the more informal feeling the meeting. Panning around an single image with a more engaged audience feels more informal than a PowerPoint file.
It would be easy to dismiss this as a “no biggie, this is just a storyboard” but in my experience over the last 15 years, I have never seen it done this way.
Screenshot of me panning through a LOB workflow design.