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While these backgrounds look attractive when you look at the slides in isolation or with dummy content, they look quite unprofessional when you put your content on them.
Most slide backgrounds are designed assuming that you’ll include only text content in them.
You may want to add a rectangular bar at the bottom or on the sides – to include some essential details about the slide numbers or section title.  But, as far as possible, keep the main body of the slide a a clean white. When you use a complex background you need to keep tweaking the color palette for every design element on the slide to make it look harmonious with the background.
We used the same diagram (from our 301 Mega PowerPoint diagram Templates pack) in both the slides.
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So, while selecting a slide background keep in mind the various visual elements that will be includedin your slides later. Illustrator has fantastic tools available for creating small print designs such as business cards. The design we’ll be building is of traditional business card proportions, making use of both sides of the card.
Fill out a head of hair with lots more small dense strokes, head hairs will require longer strokes, whereas facial hair can be made up of lots of tiny lines or specks.
Drag out guides and align them with the black outline of the cards (Press CMD+R to toggle rulers on).
Select the remaining guides and open up the Move window once again, this time enter -5mm in the fields. Draw a white rectangle across the first card, covering the whole template within the red bleed line. Paste the linework character into the business card document and change the stroke colours to 100% Cyan.
Continue adding textual elements to the design, but at a smaller type size and set in Cyan. Select all the elements used in the front side of the card and drag them over to the rear while holding the ALT key. Change the white background rectangle to Cyan, then create another grid swatch but this time use 30% Cyan as the stroke colour. Stretch the rectangle behind your name to fill the full width of the card and change the fill colour to white.
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I like this tutorial, i like the idea how you can share youre creativity on a business card. Download free editable timeline templates for PowerPoint presentations with awesome schedule presentation slide designs, timelines with milestones and descriptions to make awesome timelines in PowerPoint. Free Milestone Shapes & Timeline for PowerPoint is a timeline design for PowerPoint that uses milestones and traffic cone shapes to represent a timeline with challenges or hurdles. Very creative timeline design and value chain chart for Value Chain Analysis presentations that you can download for Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Free Simple Timeline Template for PowerPoint is a timeline design for presentations with three years. Stones Timeline Template for PowerPoint is a simple but original timeline design for PowerPoint presentations featuring stone illustrations. Exploring ways to help visualize data is one of the most interesting things for any presenter.
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The BSC template for PowerPoint contains four different slides with a nice diagram including Marketing, Logistics, Production and Planning elements and a central object Combined Strategy. You can use this free corporate strategy template for PowerPoint for corporate presentations or to define other strategies like internet marketing strategies and or small business marketing strategy.
Here are some examples of sub optimal dashboards, sub optimal in my mind from a actionable perspective. I wanted to point the above out purely because of a common feature of 80% of Web Analytics Dashboards, in excel with a billion tabs to look through.
Recommendation #1 was to move to a Critical Few philosophy for Executive reporting: Only report the three or five (at most!) metrics that define success for the whole business. This quadrant is to satiate Executive curiosity that you know what you are doing, it will be glossed over (and that's good!). The second quadrant (Key Trends & Insights) is to add value by interpreting the trends and adding context.
This quadrant is the one that Executives will read a lot initially, over time they will gain confidence in you, they will love that you share context (hello Ninja!), over time they will gloss over it (a good thing).
This is the killer quadrant, if nothing else drives action this will, knowing exactly how much money was lost, how many customers were pissed, how much opportunity was wasted.
You fix the human problems, you address the flaws in the system today and you actually become much smarter about the whole business (thanks to q3 and q4).
Over time you'll gain a lot more trust from your Executives and all the crappy dashboards can die and be replaced with one that looks like this one. Now you are asking your Executives to simply layer their own judgment on the recommendations and help the company take action. I have been a quiet reader of your site for a while now, and I want to let you know how much I appreciate your blog.
Dashboard design is a pet subject of mine and I simply don’t think we the vendors (and that goes for basic Web Analytics- but as well for more mature Business Intelligence vendors) has been able to truly create an environment where one can create highly communicative and by that highly effective Dashboards.
The HOW part is where your “Action Dashboard” comes into play and if I may be so rude as to comment on some of your choices.
From a strategic point of view I actually disagree on your point: “Who needs to see the numbers? And in hand with that; I would personally deviate from the high use of “text” (especially when talking about trends) – as it decreases the opportunity to scan the dashboard. I'm looking forward to going back through some of my semi-Ninja work to apply another level of de-squirreling! Number 2 seems to be the trick in an org of any decent size, assuming you are not able to decree this with an iron fist.
One thing I have noticed in my experience is the belief (by some) that a single dashboard can be a panacea to all their reporting. Almost to the point of losing them as a client, I changed tactics and gave her a call, using plain language and telling her what I thought she should do instead of overwhelming her with data and thinking that she'd prefer to make her own informed decision. Dashboards, to me, have always been about what who is looking at them wants to see straightaway, not what I think they want to see. Separating them between the three different areas (Key Trends, Impact, and Actions) means that your reader might not always understand which items go together through each box (some could even overlap). Wouldn't it make more sense to put an issue in each of the three boxes in order of priority and address it with their own Key Trends, Impact, and Actions? But once that happens it is all about recommending actions and the Executive applying their business judgment and wisdom on what happens when. Andrew: A great suggestion, I think prioritizing will certainly be helpful for our executives and we should strive to do that. Great point about big companies hiring Analysis Ninjas and then making them into glorified Reporting Squirrels. As such the biggest challenge is often to reduce the number of KPIs and to provide “thicker” interpretations. Having said that, however, I think we should also avoid the opposite mistake of throwing away too much information.
In your dashboard, for example, one could have shown the total cart abandonment rate in the upper left quadrant and then used the remaining three to provide some explanations.
The idea would be to build a single display which shows not only how well the check-out process is performing, but also why this might be the case.
The problem that I see with it being insight heavy, is how often is that going to change over time?


I think that the reason that so many organizations build autmated data only dashboards is that it is easier than building the dashboard that you propose.
Typically my experience is that drill downs are an excuse for not actually putting in enough time to dig for the insights and providing answers.
Of course each case is a little unique but I hope the ability to provide drill downs is not a excuse for not doing the hard work up front. Would anybody be able to shed light on what sort of computer application allows the user to produce web widgets like the ones shown at the website above. My company is in the process of revamping our website and I feel that widgets in the style of imamuseum.org would be perfect. As a novice to these models I found both your original post and several of the responses both interesting and thought-provoking. The longer the time period the more optimal the Action Dashboard is – you can truly do real analysis and fill out quadrants three and four. It is also more optimal for serious metrics (the ones I call Critical Few in the blog post). Or, you can create a dashboard that is more tactically oriented, but one that has Insights, Actions, Business Impact built in.
The metrics owner is usually someone on the business side (the person who gets fired if the performance is bad). Another question, what elements of trinity is the best to show at the management and the marketeer? Making some changes to the presentation of my analytics dashboard will definitely save me work by concentrating on a few metrics that important to communicate well.
I'm interested how you get the dashboard looking so good with dials etc, is this a google gadget or an analytics package ? A tornado is a powerful, twisting windstorm (now that really does sound like Dad, doesn’t it). A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in your area. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls. If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.
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Check out Bible Blender for bible study blended with science, history, technology, and your analysis. If you want to use the same image on a fancy background using ‘Set Transparent Color’ option you get a very messy result.
It not only wastes your time, but also gives a poorer result compared to a plain white background. But, in the second option, the attention of the audience is diluted by the strong color of the background.
As far as possible, keep the body of the slide completely white, so it does not affect the look and feel of your critical visual elements.
Our sister site has some stunning PowerPoint templates that add strength to your content like these….
Follow this walkthrough on how to create a fun business card design complete with illustrated character. Change the Fidelity to 1px and the Smoothness to 12px, toggle off the Fill new pencil strokes and Keep selected options, but turn on Edit selected paths.
If your line strays, the Edit selected paths option set earlier will allow you to redraw segments of the path to correct specific areas without having to start the path again. Move the illustration off to one side and review the linework for any misaligned intersections or gaps.
The business cards I’m used to designing come in at 88x55mm, but sizes can vary across different print firms, and of course will be created in the imperial metric system in the USA.
Select the bottom horizontal guide and the two left hand vertical guides then hit Enter to open the Move window. Copy and paste this rectangle, then fill the duplicate with the previously created pattern swatch. The illustration may extend beyond the margin guides, but keep the head within the black outline as this is the final card size once cropped. Run the right edge all the way to the bleed outline, and line the overall dimensions up with the background grid pattern. I’m using some general profile links, but you might want to add the usual contact details often found on business cards. Align everything up to the outer bleed line then delete the character, the background grid and contact details.
Drag out one extra guide to identify the centre of the card, then use this guide to align up the text centrally. We have the subtle grid background providing a base to the design, the hand-drawn character and the all important contact details.
The two artboards from Adobe Illustrator have been used to generate two pages in the PDF document, leaving just this one file to email over to your printer of choice.
Personally I’d create the illustration in Illustrator and then go on to Indesign to create the Business Card. I like the playful, stylish design and am really happy to know that there are printer settings when saving as a pdf. You can use this simple timeline template to represent a timeline using PowerPoint 2010 and 2013.
You can download this free timeline and milestones in PowerPoint to create creative timeline slide designs for your presentations. You can combine this template with Porter’s Value Chain template for Microsoft PowerPoint that we have published earlier (see free Porter Value Chain PowerPoint template). You can use this timeline PPT template to make project planning and management PowerPoint presentations with creative timeline designs.
Here is a free PowerPoint template with an original line chart template that you can download to make awesome. You can download this free business timeline template for PowerPoint presentations containing two unique slide designs with timelines.
This free template for PowerPoint contains a vertical process flow with different steps that you can download to decorate your slides with a detailed process description about your business processes.
You can easily edit the timeline design and prepare presentations for IT firms, consultancy and management PowerPoint presentations as well as other timelines for presentations on legal services, lawyers and more.
This free Scrum PPT template can be used to describe the Scrum Process to a development team or create development seminars and Hackatons using Scrum methodologies. We are an independent website offering free presentation solutions and free PowerPoint backgrounds for presentations.
The slide design contains a nice diagram template created with a custom circular diagram including two way arrows in PowerPoint with small tables and a central shape. You can also download free Marketing PowerPoint templates and corporate strategy PowerPoint templates for presentations on strategy.
All the above efforts are well intentioned, took lots of honest work and probably took months to put together.
This is a fatal flaw because most dashboards are highly aggregated views of any KPI and are missing all the nuance and analysis (that only you as Ms. Going out to collect enough tribal knowledge to actually know what is going on to then make recommendations from the data is not something that we do, nor are we encouraged by our Executives or our organization structures. That leads non-Practitioners to make the common mistakes like creating the above three dashboards. It takes effort to get there, it will take all your charms (though no violation of any HR intimacy policies), and it will take some time.
Kill all the ancillary metrics that were nice to know (and my kill I mean let lower levels worry about it).
Ideally segmented (as is the case here, cart abandonment is illustrated for four key customer segments).


It says there that some things are up or down (in english :), and it also warns which data might be bad etc. I feel it is the key thing missing from any dashboard, they are normally missing the kick in the rear end and this quadrant delivers it. The WHAT part is of course very much industry specific and almost certainly company and department specific (e.g. They pay you and I to deliver actionable insights.” – and that both from executive and also operational dashboards. In others, we got into discussions of serving up the data through a portal, and then using portlets for that context, which isn't a bad idea, and would make your 4-quadrant framework deliverable. It reminded me of an article I wrote a couple of years ago on the subject of overlays and dashboards.
To unlearn the art of seduction by way of graphical dashboards is analogous to re-learing a swim stroke all over again (the right way).
Execs just want action and impact where as an operations manager might want to validate more of the numbers with other data at their disposal.
This in part has led to many a crammy looking dashboard with tons of data -with the dashboard ending up looking more like a whiteboard. This will allow them to incorporate the information in a way that is actionable and also acceptable to the readers. It will take quite some time for a Executive to have enough trust to not want to see the trends.
I am sure one day as you have trust in your Ninjas (after they evolve from Squirrels) then you would be in the came camp Dennis! But I'll consider writing one that focuses specifically on the nuance you have suggested.
I totally agree that the world is full of dashboards, which include too many unrelated KPIs, turning them into complex data displays rather than actionable information. One way of doing so would be to break down the total abandonment rate to your four key customer segments. You illustrate all your ideas with relevant graphics and show that you are not talking off your backside.
Several of these crappy dashboards are available on the company Intranets and very few coworkers know where to find them or how to use them. What I like hear is that you've basically taken 3 slides and combined them with the metric chart to create one all inclusive slide.
The balance between data and information drives the quality of knowledge offered by the dashboard. So the report writer will take the easy way out, create a wiz bang flash driven excel backend infinite drill down dashboard. To get an idea of how the museum displays this data, I took a look at the source html code. I know that Apple allows you to with Dashcode, but I'm interested in learning about others that produce similar results. Often, the end-result is unclear or unspoken and this alone can result in wasted effort and misdirected steps. The big important KPI's that might not change daily but nonetheless measure health, well being and success of the business (and those you would not want to know daily, that is not how it works! The liquid inside the jar will form a vortex or funnel that looks and acts just like a real tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. For side-splitting humor, check out Funny Grins' huge cache of funny jokes, zany videos, and outrageous pictures..
At mortal journey, check out the footprints of our past - interesting stories and news about past and current trends and fads. We’ll start by creating our sketchy figure from a profile shot with hand-drawn linework, then lay out the design with background pattern and textual information in a print ready template with margins and bleed areas. The use of single inks for each colour (C for Cyan and K for black from the CMYK model) will ensure a crisp end print. Enter the dimensions according to your chosen printer in the width and height options, and the bleed amount below.
These guides are in place to identify a 5mm safe margin around the edge of the business card. On the rear the colour scheme is reversed, and the centre rectangle continued to house a nice, fun message.
In the PDF options, select the appropriate printer’s marks in the Marks and Bleeds section. I suggested it in an article on Smashing Mag recently and the InDesign crowd rioted in the comments. The first slide can be used to represent an horizontal timeline, while the second layout is great to describe the timeline milestones in a separate slide.
So you speed up and overtake them and in the process you sneak a glance at them (yes you are married but looking is still ok :), and you are hugely disappointed. We dutifully cram as many of them on to a A4 size paper in 3 size font and send it along with a magnifying glass.
It can have two other colors, yellow for don't fire anyone yet but get ready and green for send someone a big hug and a box of chocolates. It will require human contact with others, it will require conversations, it will mean identifying solutions collaboratively.
I as a manager MUST see the numbers as I posses more knowledge about the business strategy, potential reasoning behind metric fluctuation, actual action opportunities etc.. The consumers of the data are happier with less-than-real-time-but-with-contextual-analysis-and-recommendations than they were with the near-real-time-access-to-just-the-charts-and-graphs. It holds true for many a consulting firms and agencies out there and the notion of seperating the weed from the chaff in your post is noteworthy. As a business user, i'd comment you can give more than the key metrics in the top quadrant. The problem is that the Decision Maker will need increasingly ever more context the more they drill down, context that they won't have. Or if the weekly dashboard shows that something is not going well, and then use it to zoom in on the problem? In as much think of its optimal use as monthly, or if you are really really good at finding insights then twice a month. They whirl around the center of the storm at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (and that’s faster than Dad running to the bathroom during a commercial break). This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
You can choose any other light color to break the monotony in the look and feel of your slides. Clear out the default fill colour and set a black stroke at 1pt then trace an initial outline around the character. Here I’m using the fantastic League Gothic in white to reverse out of the cyan rectangle.
Trim and Registration marks are often the most important, with Color Bars and Page Information sometimes being left to be added by the printers themselves. The problem is that to achieve your “Action Dashboard” that you need to have an analyst who can add that degree of value and often they are tied up spending all their time producing crappy dashboards! Even if you make the data simple and actionable, execs often don't have a benchmark or a clear understanding that conversion rate is much more critical than traffic, for example.
You can for example allow some metrics to be drilled down to next level to give better visibility.
This also allows for a more creative approach and the mining of less obvious but better-formed action choices. It will also mean that monthly meetings will move from bitch fests to deciding who does what. Others may strike the surface of the earth, withdraw into the dark clouds above, and then dip down and strike the earth again. In this science experiment, we are going to recreate a tornado – within the safety of your own home!



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