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The 35,000-Foot Overview

In the past two chapters, we focused on designing slides that convey information clearly and effectively. You've absorbed many details about everything from font styles to graph labels. Now it's time to take a step back and return to one of the earlier concepts in this book: specifically, to flow.

Every communications medium has its own techniques for helping its audience remain oriented and follow the flow. Think about text, where the reader is the audience to the writer. In a book, a magazine, a newspaper, or a printed report, the designers and editors provide the reader with many tools to help track the writer's flow: the table of contents, the index, and the running heads along the top or bottom of the page. Even more important, the reader has the luxury of random access to the writer's material. The reader can navigate through the text independently by visiting and revisiting the table of contents or the index, and by flipping backward and forward as often as needed to follow the overall flow. Think of Russian novels, where all those multiple names and nicknames of the characters are listed up front. Think of plays where the Dramatis Personae, or cast of characters, precedes the first scene. Through long practice, readers are accustomed to steering through the structure of written texts on their own.


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