Tom Chapel's Fab Five Reboot 

Scott Chaplowe David Fetterman Gail Barrington Tom Chapel Michael Quinn Patton

My focus with Tom Chapel's Reboot was on working within the limitations of an organizational template. Tom says he already veers outside of that template designated by the CDC, and has had the use of his modified slides grandfathered, but many of us are in that position of having an organizational template foisted upon us. What can we do, while still working within those constraints?




Even if Arial is the font we are forced to use, we can still add some variety and emphasis to the slides by varying the font’s weight. We can bold – or, in Arial’s case, use Arial Black – on keywords. I also adjusted the font size to make it better fit available space, though I kept it large enough for easy reading. Since Tom’s slides, in this particular case, are used for a webinar, let’s include a photo of him on the front. Even if he was reusing these slides in an in-person workshop, this would be up in the room as people filter in and find their seats, helping them identify which of the others is the speaker in advance. I took what is typically mandated (i.e., no choices in font, background, colors) and tweaked what aspects of them I could to make a cleaner slide that better represents Tom and the CDC.





The Framework for Program Evaluation had been a graphic pasted in from another source. It was stretched too wide and it included a redundant figure label, too. So I simply redrew the figure. The circles were intended to show a system but circles can be hard to integrate with text. Besides, the arrows already showed the circularity between the elements in the framework. I moved the arrows onto the circle and put them inside the textboxes so the text can be a bit larger. Also, as with the other slides, I animated the framework elements to appear as Tom introduces them.




The logic model didn’t need much work – just a color scheme that matched his template, using dark boxes here to make the white text better contrast. And I aligned A LOT. I aligned the text boxes so they were all the same width and the same distance apart from one another. I aligned the arrows so they touched with boxes without overlapping. I assumed here that the arrows were the less important part of the model (not always the case in evaluation) so they are lighter, and now without the outline that previously gave them a lot of perhaps undue focus.




The graph had a lot going on. I simplified the data display by taking out the gray background, lightening the grid lines, and using direct labeling rather than a legend. Then I used colors from his template so the graph blends in better. Still, there’s so much happening in this slide. So I used the chart animation features so that Tom can isolate each part of the study as he shows its findings, first showing the title and axis, then each data series one-at-a-time, then the Type I sites label, then all Type II sites (I actually had a white rectangle on top of the lower half of the graph, which I animated to Disappear on a click), then finally showing his main takeaway point. Sure, it’s still a lot of information. But by breaking it down and showing one piece at a time, we build the full slide slowly and keep from overwhelming the audience.




In the final slide, I got rid of the clip art and used a real photograph. It isn’t my favorite photo but again, this project includes zero funds to purchase better options. This is what I could find for free in a relatively small amount of time. I turned the photograph so the subjects face the slide’s text, rather than away. I regrouped some of the text that seemed more like a heading or title. Then I animated the text that had been bulleted, again to make it appear as Tom is discussing it. One final tip: see how the word Presentations goes over the picture? That’s mostly okay, since that area of the picture is a light color. Except that in one area, a black item in the photo goes up the wall, interfering with the text. So I added a white rectangle between the text and the picture and I made the white 50% transparent. You can still easily see the picture through it, but now the text holds up better and the black item in the photo (whatever it is) looks less obtrusive.

Tom’s slides also tend to include a great deal of information. They are jam-packed with content. While it is always a good strategy to remove as much text as possible, in slides like these you just can’t remove it all. Much of it is critical. One strategy for handling those dense slides is to reveal one thing at a time. Thus, much of Tom’s revision relies heavily on animation. Just the Appear animation – nothing fancy or fading.

This post is part of the Fab Five Reboot, a project led by Stephanie Evergreen to redesign five slides from five of AEA’s eStudy workshop presenters. Visit the eStudy workshop page to learn more about our current lineup and for registration details.




More from Friends of p2i

p2i on aea365

Ann Emery

Sheila B.Robinson

Stephanie Evergreen

Stephanie's p2i podcast on Adventures in Evaluation


Email Sheila Robinson with any questions or comments you may have.