The Creative

The #Hashtag 101 Infographic: Basics, Best Practices, and an Adorable Hashbot!

April 17, 2014, Infographics

Hashtag Thumbnail

Social media today moves at a mind-blowing pace.  As soon as we feel like we’ve gotten the hang of one thing, something new flies onto the radar.  It’s tough to keep up with it all.  For example, it’s likely you’ve heard of hashtags.  Suddenly, they’ve become part of our everyday lives, but many of us don’t truly understand how to use them.

PPG designer, Aries Wan, realized that even though hashtags are everywhere, she was one of the people who didn’t know a lot about them.  That’s how she came up with the idea for April’s infographic, #Hashtag 101. Like a true PPG designer, instead of performing a simple Google Search about the subject, she opted for a more interesting approach.

“It’s like I woke up one day and there were hashtags everywhere,” she explains.  “Once I started researching the topic I was amazed at how influential they’ve become.  A hashtag can be a very powerful sharing tool.  So powerful, in fact, that if you don’t know what you’re doing it could hurt your business or reputation.”

Never fear!  In the #Hashtag 101 infographic, our adorable friend the hashbot has fun teaching exactly what you need to know about optimizing the usage of hashtags for your business.

ProPoint’s also getting in on the fun with our own hashtag.  Follow us on Twitter and share #pimpmypresentation.  Use our new hashtag to share the presentations that you find.  We’re sure you’ve seen some gems…and some doozies!

Shaunna Randolph – PPG Marketing Manager

Supporting Your Brand With Video: How-To Videos

April 15, 2014, Best Practices, Motion Graphics, Video

We’re moving right along with our web video series.  So far we’ve covered how video can help drive results, and we discussed the Brand Documentary Video.  Today, we move on to a video that may sound a bit more familiar, the How-To Video.

How-To Videos (sometimes called Walk-Through or Explainer Videos) show “how to” use a product or service. Video can be much sexier than a simple set of instructions, but let’s make sure we are using it wisely.

 Know Your Audience

Is your audience already excited about the product?  How-To Videos work best when an audience is curious and ready to learn.  If you’re still trying to convince them why they should care, a How-To Video may be getting ahead of yourself.  Follow the rest of this series to find a video that would be a better fit.

 Simple Explanation

A video can show in seconds what takes minutes to explain in words.  Focus on what’s essential to actually use your product.  How-To Videos work best when the product seems intuitive.  Don’t get mired in the details and try to explain all the features.  Start simple: state the goal, demonstrate how your product achieves that goal, and show the results.

 Seamless Design

Using screen capture software and a narration recorded with your iPhone can lead to a video that looks and sounds unprofessional.  But take a look at the above sample How-To Video to see how things can look when all the elements come together seamlessly.  A professional voiceover and creative composition go a long way.  Even the speed and movement of the mouse looks exactly right. Get a How-To Video that stands out from all the screen-casts on YouTube and you will make your company proud.

 Adam Kiser – PPG Designer

Charlie Tranen – PPG Strategic Accounts Lead

The Magic Touch: Microsoft Launches PowerPoint for Mobile

April 10, 2014, Mobile, PowerPoint Design, Presentation Delivery

PPT for Touchscreen imageLast week Microsoft previewed its new PowerPoint apps designed for mobile devices like iPad.  With an overall design similar to Windows 8, this newest version has several updated features, such as icons, that should translate to any device.

PPG has been around for 12 years, and we’ve seen quite a few versions of MS PowerPoint.  We even get a little ‘geeky’ about it.  Rachel Jones, a senior designer here at ProPoint even said, “I am super excited that we can design for an overall great user experience, and that the capabilities in the new version can cross multiple digital device-platforms.”

This new iteration designed for mobile devices provides presenters with an unprecedented level of flexibility when telling their story. Here are a few ways the new PowerPoint for mobile can improve presenting:

Epic Elevator Pitches

Use your mobile device to illustrate the key points of your pitch.  Don’t just tell the person sitting next to you on the plane that your idea is impactful.  Prove it.  Support your talking points with charts and illustrations created specifically for handheld devices.

Non-Linear Navigation – Choose Your Own Adventure!

The best part about presenting on a touchscreen device is it helps you position your story based on the current conversation.

Quick test: If you’re using your device correctly, every decision of where to tap next will be based on audience feedback.

Any time, Any place

It’s quite unlikely that you’ll use the mobile app for presenting to convention halls, or even conference rooms.  You can still make an impact at the convention, but with an audience of one or two, instead of one or two hundred.  As we see it, the real potential lies with how PowerPoint for mobile will change the standup meeting, or how you use breaks between sessions.

Possible Limitations of PowerPoint for Mobile

This PowerPoint app is still in its test phase, so we won’t fully know the details of the program until it launches.  Our account managers and designers are cautious in particular about the user experience in connection to creating charts and tables as well as editing slides.

For some, it will simply be easier to build the bulk of their presentations at a desktop.  PPG Account Manager, Lauren Blair explained, “One thing I’d note is the idea that tablets are primarily best suited for VIEWING and making last-minute edits to your completed presentations. Even with an improved touchscreen UI, I don’t foresee abandonment of the full version of the software for CREATING stellar presentations.”

Senior Designer Carlos Serrano agrees, “In terms of production, though portable and easy to set-up anywhere, editing certain content like tables with lots of cells, small type, and various components of charts and lines might be tedious to do. I would like to see how complex operations such as formatting elements and properties are done, since they require clicking-through a series of menus and tabs.”

For those of you who really want to dig deeper into the topic, Reddit hosted an “Ask Me Anything” with the Microsoft Office for iPad engineering team. (http://bit.ly/1kviK7D)  Explore the post for more information, sprinkled with Simpsons references!

Shaunna Randolph, Marketing Manager