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Be kind to attendees eyes

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In this post I want to cover how you can be kind to attendees eyes when presenting. Because I think it is an important thing to be aware of.

I wanted to cover this because even though people have covered various aspects about this over the years, I have still seen people do some interesting things in 2023. Such as show lines of code which are difficult for the audience to see.

Doing this is something I have been aware of for some time now. Even more so after completing an MVP challenge back in 2021.

In fact, anybody who has attended a presentation of mine over the last couple of years will vouch for the fact that I often check with the audience that they can view the screen okay.

Which is why I want to make sure people realize that even though you can see what you are working on clearly, the experience is different for your audience.

By the end of this post, you will have some important tips to make the viewing of your session better for attendees. Along the way I share plenty of links.

One key point I need to highlight before I go any further is that this is mostly based on the Windows operating system. However, some of this also applies to other operating systems as well.

Zooming in for an entire application

There are two aspects to zooming in I want to cover in this post. First one I want to cover zooming in for an entire application.

Because you need to be aware that even though one resolution is fine for you to work on at home whilst close to the screen, the experience can be very different for those watching you present this on another screen.

For example, below is an initial view of a database project for a Microsoft Fabric Data Warehouse in Azure Data Studio.

Database projects without zoom
Database projects without zoom

Now, for me to work on at home this is great. However, if I were to show this in front of an audience either in-person or online they might struggle they might struggle.

One very quick way to resolve this is to press CTRL and + to zoom in. As you can see below, doing this a couple of times can make a big difference to the viewing experience.

Database projects with zoom to be kind to attendees eyes
Database project with zoom

Of course, this functionality does not exist in all applications. Which means that you must either look to customize your existing applications to show appear larger or seek alternatives.

For example, you can look to change fonts, colors, and themes in Visual Studio.

Alternatively, you can use the below table for alternative and existing applications that support the method of pressing CTRL and +/- to zoom in and out.

FunctionalityAlternative option
Complex code demosVisual Studio Code
Navigate through multiple SQL Server/SQL Pool databasesAzure Data Studio
Navigate through multiple Microsoft Fabric Data WarehousesAzure Data Studio
Run individual PowerShell commandsWindows Terminal
Show a PowerShell scriptVisual Studio Code
Show T-SQL TextAzure Data Studio
Show plain textNow natively supported in Notepad
Work with Database ProjectsAzure Data Studio
Zoom in and out of a websiteSupported in most web browsers
Table to show some alternative and existing options

Targeted zooming in to help attendees eyes

Second aspect I want to cover is when you want to perform targeted zooming in for attendees.

For example, when I am showing Lakehouse Editor within Microsoft Fabric, I do not want to press CTRL and + multiple times before the SQL analytics endpoint is visible.

Instead, I use the popular ZoomIt application to zoom into it.

Viewing the SQL analytics endpoint using ZoomIt
Viewing the SQL analytics endpoint using ZoomIt

ZoomIt is great in scenarios like this one.

One approach you can use is to inform the audience that they do not need to squint because you will zoom in on the more important parts.

Dark mode is great, apart from when it is not

I know that dark mode and dark backgrounds for presentations are becoming increasingly popular for personal use. Which is great as I know it can help people be more productive.

However, I have seen issues caused when using dark themes during presentations as well. Especially when presenting lines of code.

As somebody at Microsoft once explained, there can be issues due to contrast.

My advice on this is to go through the Microsoft guide to make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities. Either that or revert to a light background for everything when presenting to an audience.

Final words about being kind to attendees eyes

I hope this post about how to be kind to attendees eyes has given some of you food for thought.

Especially those who are looking to present to others in 2024.

Of course, if you have any comments or queries about this post feel free to reach out to me.

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