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Slides For All Audiences

Tufte tells us that filling our slides with reading material is bad form. I try to keep this in mind when putting together talks (with varying degrees of success), and am reminded of it when I attend a conference. Usually there’s at least one presenter who has really compelling material, but terrible slides. The thing is, they’re probably great slides for certain audiences; namely, the audience not in the room. If you’re reading them after the fact, text heavy slides can give you the full picture, where arguably Lessig-style slides (on their own) can not.

Slideshare , an online site for publishing your slides, has a feature that’s new to me: “slidecasting”.

Slidecasting 101

Slidecasting involves taking an audio track and syncing it with your slides, giving you the best of both worlds. Right now it requires uploading an separate MP3 file and manually syncing it with your slides. Extra effort on the presenter’s part, but arguably worth it if you’re trying to reach the broadest possible audience with the greatest efficacy.

It’d be great if Slideshare supported some standard [“SMIL?” he asks with no real insight into the specification] that allowed you to upload the synchronization information without using their web-based tool. You can imagine an application or plugin that records during a presentation, noting timestamps for slide changes, and generates a set of files immediately suitable for upload.