SmartArt Graphics :3 Wrong Uses

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Avoid using SmartArt the wrong way. Learn the common pitfalls in using these Graphics and make your business presentations more effective.

When is it inappropriate to use SmartArt Graphics?

SmarArt is a wonderful tool for business presenters to visualize their ideas. However, the tool is not appropriate for all occasions. There are times when using this tool can reduce the effectiveness of your message. In this article, we will show you where most presenters falter while using it and how you can avoid those pitfalls.

Lets start with…

Wrong usage 1: Indicating locations

Take a look at the following slide:

Using SmartArt to indicate locations In the above slide, the presenter wanted to communicate the locations serviced by his company.

Though the slide looks cool and colorful, it does not help the audience to visualize the locations clearly. An effective alternative would be to use a Map to indicate the locations. See the alternative here:

Revised map graphics The message is clear and memorable.

So, the next time you want to list the locations, consider using a map instead of using a basic ‘list’.

Related: Are you visualizing the wrong idea?

Wrong usage 2: Showing elaborate process flows

There are some really useful layouts to show process flows in Smart Art. But, when you choose a wrong layout you may confuse your audience. Take a look at the following example:

Elaborate process flows See the same information presented as a flow chart:

Decision Flow Chart Though the example we took is fairly basic, a flow chart seems to explain the process flowbetter. The difference is even more stark when the process is long and complex.

So, the next time you want to depict your process flows,consider using simple flow chart symbols in PowerPoint instead of using a SmartArt layout. Or if you feel compelled to use tje tool, use ‘Organization Chart’ layout under ‘Hierarchy’ options. Replace the rectangular shapes with more appropriate flow chart symbols using ‘Change Shape’ option. (You can access ‘Change shape’ option by right clicking on a shape in SmartArt).

Related: More Stunning SmartArt Features

Wrong usage 3: Conveying numerical information

Take a look at the following slide:

SmartArt for Numbers Though the neat matrix layout makes the slide look ‘beautiful’, the message conveyed is wrong. The layout doesn’t visually convey the actual proportions contributed by different teams. Your audience may assume that all four teams contributed equally to the end cause.

See the alternative here:

 Yes. A good old graph conveys the message far more accurately than a ‘cool’ matrix layout.

So, the next time you want to convey numerical information in your business presentations, use a graph instead of a Smart Art layout.

Related: Make your presentations with data more insightful.

Inference about Using SmartArt Graphics:

SmartArt tools are not a universal solution for all your visualization needs. Choose your tools depending on the type of information you want to convey.

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Related: Creative Timeline Ideas

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