Sunday, September 12, 2010

About the Value of controlling Word Wrap in a Presentation

When you create a presentation you want to transport your message as good as possible. On the places where you use text for that purpose it is worth thinking of the graphical layout of your text.

Say you are have a presentation with the title "Pragmatic Testing of Legacy Applications". Depending on the font size this title may be too long to fit on a single line. Surely, your presentation software will wrap the text to fit to the space you have to devoted to the title of the presentation.

So, why care?

There are good chances that your title will be wrapped like this:

Fine. No?

If the text box for the title is smaller, the text may be wrapped like this:

Is fine as well, so why would you want to think more about that?

Let's see what the difference is.

To dive into that, you have to be aware of the three parts of the sentence "Pragmatic Testing of Legacy Applications":

  • The first part "Pragmatic Testing" is the main part. It's all about testing in a pragmatic way.

  • The third part "Legacy Applications" determines the specific emphasis of that talk. It's not about testing in well set up project, but about testing in some sub-optimal (or maybe completely ugly) context.

  • The second part, the little word "of" inbetween the two main parts does not really convey information one would not grasp without it. From what we are interested in, you may consider it as some necessary linguistic glue.

If you compare the visual appearance of the two alternative wrappings, you may get the impression that "of" detoriates that main part of the text it is sharing the line with. But what that also implies is much more important: it leaves the other main part unpolluted, giving it more focus:

Thus, the first version emphasises the pragmatic testing aspect of the title:

The second version on the other hand puts more focus on the fact that the talk is dealing with legacy application with some respect:

You don't care about that all? You think that's just all equal? Leave a comment and let's discuss it!

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