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How to Create Visual Impact from Research Findings

There is nothing worse than being faced with slide upon slide of text, bullet points and quotes. How are you meant separate the key takeaways from less than relevant points? When you pick up a research report, you don’t want to have to trawl through it all to understand the story. You want the key points to jump out.

Whilst PowerPoint does tend to be somewhat a staple of the research world, it unfortunately can lead you down a rather well-trodden and (dare I say it) boring path.

Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint has its place. But if you’re looking at trying to engage a difficult audience or one who has been bored to tears by slide decks in the past, there’s some great alternatives out there. These online tools can help create a bit more oomph in your research findings.

Infographics are a great way to highlight key take-outs in an interesting and engaging way. You only need a few minutes to have a look through them; something a time pressured client will thank you for. Whilst it’s tempting to put lots of information in an infographic, you really only want to include must know facts and figures. By keeping it to a maximum of one page, you have to make a conscious effort not to report everything.

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Our infographic explaining the importance of mobile research — click here to view the full image.

You do need to spend some time working out what you want to include and how to get it to fit best, which unfortunately does mean an infographic might take a little longer to put together than a traditional slide deck, but the overall impact is much better.

Not sure how to put together an infographic? No problem, Pitkochart (one of my favourite tools) has some great templates that you can use for creating single page summaries of findings. So you don’t even need to have creativity by the bucket-load to design something which will grab your clients’ attention.

Another useful online tool is Prezi. It takes a different approach to presenting findings but it’s great at bringing the story to life and allows you to give a totally unique and engaging presentation.

If you have the time to use Prezi when preparing for a debrief, it’s definitely worth trying. The online presentation builder helps you structure findings in a clear, ordered way whilst also giving your audience something interactive and fun to engage with.

The key to a successful Prezi is to sit down and work out exactly what you want the story and flow of your findings to be before designing anything. If you try and put it all together when building your presentation, you’re going making it a lot harder for yourself. Instead, spending time making the findings and transitions through Prezi seamless really is worth it. You’ll find that clients get that much more involved in the output.

If you are restricted and find yourself with no other alternative than PowerPoint, there are some quick and easy things that you can do to create impact in your findings.

A good starting point is revisiting how much information you have on each slide. If each slide is overloaded with facts, figures and quotes then the key information is never going to jump out in the way that it should. Throughout the reporting phase, you need to be asking yourself: ‘do I really need this?’ By doing so, you’ll only include the significant detail, allowing you to keep the slides clear and concise.

Less really is more.

It can be difficult to move away from your traditional style of reporting but with just a little creativity and thinking outside the box you can make your pop. As the popular saying goes — a picture tells a thousand words. Make the most of this.

Presenting qual findings in a visually impactful way can be a challenge, but word-clouds are a particularly useful tool which don’t take a lot of time to put together and are great for bringing out key themes. As the example below shows, your eye is naturally drawn into the visuals and the key message is clearly demonstrated.

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There’s nothing more impactful than a customer telling a boardroom full of stakeholders what it’s really like to be a customer.

If you have included vox-pops in your methodology, include short video clips into your findings. This brings the story to life for those involved, much more than reeling off quotes from respondents does. But be careful, don’t show too much video or it can have the opposite effect. DiaryMR is one of our research tools which allows respondents to upload videos as part of a task. Use it to help bring the customer to the heart of the business.

Most importantly, dare to move away from the norm. Explore other ways of presenting your findings. Make them visual, make them engaging!

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