Thursday, December 21, 2006

Maximizing Data Presentation

Suppose you have a set of data and you want to present it in an order that maximizes its positive impact, how do you go about it?

Is there a science to it?

Say you have five pieces of info:

5 - really impressive
4 - fairly impressive
3 - mildly impressive
2 - not very impressive at all
1 - bad, actually

If your data set is stars appearing in a movie, the rule seems to be a straight descending order: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The best presentation order when you are competing for the attention of a customer in a crowded market, perhaps? If you've only got a few seconds of their attention, better start with you most impressive piece of data?

Another obvious way is a straight ascending order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Build to a big finish.

Good if you've already got someone's attention and you're trying to build to a sale or have them leave your presentation with a positive opinion? Make sure the last thing they remember is your best peice of data, and your worst is already fading from their memory?

Another way is to mix up the good and bad data: 3, 1, 4, 2, 5.

Perhaps the best presentation order if you've got someone's attention but you need them to pay attention for a long time...sprinkle in the good data at regular intervals? Still, finish on a high note...

Wonder if this could be applied to blogs somehow?


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