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Presenter Resources

Registration and Day-of Resources

Presenters, exhibitors, and performers access resources for registration, session type preparation, and more will become available here as the date approaches.

General Resources for Presentation Design

How-To Session: Poster & Oral Presentation
The Office of Undergraduate Research is hosting two How To presentations on Poster & Oral Presentation for student presenters. These opportunities will provide student with helpful tips on how to design and present their research in oral and poster presentation formats. See session details below.

UW Design Help Desk @ the Research Commons

  • The Design Help Desk offers free advice for members of the UW community who are seeking to improve their visuals for presentation and publication. Bring any visual work related to your research and receive help from a designer on staff.

Information for Each Presentation Type

Carefully read through the guidelines and tips provided below for each type of Symposium presentation. This information will help presenters prepare for the event and know what to expect on the day of.

Presentation Types

Poster Presentation

Your poster:

  • Should be 32″ tall by 40″ wide.
  • Should be ready to display and attach to the foam board backing and on the easels we provide.
  • Visit this link for examples of student research posters. Please note this may require you login with your UW NetID and password.

*Please note the Office of Undergraduate Research will provide foam board for mounting posters. You do not need to pay for mounting, you may clip or tack your poster to the provided foam board on Symposium Day.

Submit your printing request at least a week early in order to guarantee your poster is ready on the day of the Symposium. Wait times are longer leading up to Symposium.

The best on-campus options (and usually the most cost-effective) for large-format poster printing are:

Additional locations near campus include:

We recommend requesting a proof of your poster prior to printing the full-sized version if available.

Your poster

  1. Using large, sans serif, bold fonts and simply designed visuals on plain backgrounds will benefit members of your audience who may have visual impairments, and/or reading-related learning disabilities.
  2. Font size recommendations: 85-100 pt for title, 45-60 pt for author/institution, 36-45 pt for section headings, 24-36 pt for body text. Try not to go below 24 pt except for references and acknowledgements.
  3. Be consistent with your layout and organization scheme.
  4. Include white space for contrast, and highlight sections with borders and/or colored headings.
  5. Make paragraphs short, have spaces between paragraphs and titles, and use bulleted lists.
  6. Left-align your paragraphs to make them easier to read.
  7. Include titles/captions with your figures, pictures, and charts.
  8. Spell out acronyms and avoid or define jargon and idioms.
  9. Summarize major points, give background and contextual information, display key terms and concepts visually.
  10. If you are talking about your visuals (charts, graphs, maps, images), describe the content and the relevance to your talk for those who may not be able to see it clearly. 
  11. Use high contrast color and/or black and white combinations that can be distinguished by those who are colorblind. Avoid color combinations that are more likely to be difficult for people who are colorblind, such as red and green.  You can test your poster with the Color Contrast Analyzer and Color Blindness Simulator.
  12. Avoid making color the only way to convey information – you can also use 2-D texture such as hashmarks, dots, etc.
  13. Include a small QR code or tiny URL to link to more information about your research, if that is appropriate.

Your talk

  1. When giving your presentation in front of your poster, look at your audience as much as possible rather than facing your poster.
  2. Give examples of your research that would be familiar to an audience who is not well-versed in your topic.
  3. Speak clearly and slowly; this is especially helpful for people for whom English is not their first language, or for sign language interpreters.
  4. Describe the essential content of visual materials, but avoid reading text word-for-word unless it is a quotation.

More resources:

UW DO-IT Universal Design

Designing Effective Research Posters

UW Logos

Oral Presentation

Your presentation:

  • Should be ten minutes in length. This limit is strictly enforced. You will have an additional two minutes for Q&A.
  • Should be tailored to an educated, non-field expert audience.
  • May be accompanied by a visual slide show (e.g., PowerPoint) and/or handout for the audience.
  • May include a live demonstration, performance, and/or audience participation.

Please practice and time your presentation prior to the day of the Symposium.

In each Mary Gates Hall classroom, the following will be available:

  • A computer
  • Data projector
  • Chalk/whiteboards
  • Laser pointers

Each computer has the following resources available:

  • Windows 10
  • Microsoft Office (Includes: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, Access, etc)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • VLC Video player for video files

If you think you will have additional special requirements, email ASAP for approval.

You may NOT use your own laptop.

If you plan to use PowerPoint, keep in mind the following:

  • You will NOT have access to “Presenter View.” Any material in the Notes section of PowerPoint should be printed out ahead of time.
  • The classroom computers run the newest version of Microsoft Office, including PowerPoint. If you are using an older version of Office, you will be fine.
  • Save a second copy of your presentation as a PDF file. PDF files are far less likely to encounter compatibility issues. You can always view your slides in full screen within Adobe Reader (View –> Full Screen Mode). (Note that this will remove any slide transitions or effects.)
  • Mac Users! If you created your PowerPoint on a Mac computer, make sure to test it on a PC before the day of the presentation. If you use videos or audio files, you may have to convert the files to make it readable on a PC. There will not be Mac adapters available.
  • Check your pictures, video and audio that are embedded into your slide show. Please be sure that they are embedded in and not linked. Linking video/audio media to the PowerPoint does not copy them into the presentation and only links to the existing file on your computer. They will show up as black boxes or broken links on other computers. The easiest way to check if the file has been properly imported is to check the file size of your PowerPoint presentation after you save. If the file size is larger by the amount of the file you imported then it is properly inserted and will work on other computers.

We recommend you use AT LEAST two of the following methods to save and make your presentation accessible for the day of the Symposium. We strongly recommend that you save a back-up of your presentation on a USB drive and another version on either on a cloud backup service or email.

  • USB flashdrive
    Save a copy of your presentation to a flashdrive. Use a standard size USB flashdrive.
  • Cloud backup
    Upload your presentation to a cloud service like DropboxGoogle Drive, OneDrive, etc.
  • Email
    Email yourself a copy and download it to the desktop on the day of the event.

Your slides: 

  1. Using large, sans serif, bold fonts and simply designed visuals on plain backgrounds will benefit members of your audience who may have visual impairments, and/or reading-related learning disabilities.
  2. Limiting the amount of text on each slide will help with readability and comprehension, use bullet points and not full sentences when able. Your slides should be a helpful visual aid in your presentation but not the main focus. 
  3. Use high contrast color and/or black and white combinations that can be distinguished by those who are colorblind. Avoid color combinations that are more likely to be difficult for people who are colorblind, such as red and green.  You can test your slide show with the Color Contrast Analyzer and Color Blindness Simulator.
  4. Be consistent with your layout and organization schemes.
  5. Spell out acronyms and avoid or define jargon and idioms.

Your presentation: 

  1. Practice, practice, practice with a timer and preferably an audience (just one person is fine) using your slides. Practice until you can comfortably do the presentation in the 10 minutes allotted. 
  2. When giving your presentation do not read directly off your slides unless where necessary. When speaking, look up and directly at the audience as much as you can.
  3. Direct quotes and the title of your presentation/research should always be read aloud.
  4. Speak clearly and avoid speaking too fast. This is particularly helpful for individuals whose primary language is not the one in which you are speaking.
  5. Limit the number of slides you will be presenting so that you are able to spend ample time on each one. 4-6 slides including a title slide is recommended. 

If there is interpretation being used in the Q&A: 

  1. Always speak directly to the person asking the question, not the person doing the interpretation. 
  2. Use shorter sentences and pause after 2-3 sentences to allow interpretation to stay well paced with the conversation. 
  3. If interpretation is into a non-English language (non ASL interpretation) avoid using English specific idioms, phrases or colloquial expressions that will be difficult to interpret.

More resources: 

UW DO-IT Universal Design

Performing Arts Presentation

Students will deliver a 10-minute presentation that typically includes a performance component. The presentation may include a PowerPoint component discussing the research process that went into creating the performance. Performances can include music, theater, dance, etc.

Those delivering PowerPoint presentations should download their slides onto the provided laptop. You may not use your own laptop. We strongly recommend that if you have slides to accompany the presentation, you save them on a USB drive and save another back-up version online or in your email. Juliet McMains and additional tech staff and volunteers will be in the room to help you.

Performing arts presenters can specify needs during the confirmation stage of the application process (e.g. a dance or drama space, a multimedia player, and/or a piano). Presenters are welcome to bring supplementary materials/handouts to their session to give to the audience.

Visual Arts and Design Presentation

Presentations for this session must be art forms created as part of the research process. These may include paintings, drawings, printing, sculpture, architectural models, digital arts, experimental media, jewelry, textiles, photography/film, mixed media, and more.

Exhibitors are required to present on the day of Symposium. Submissions in this category will be displayed for two weeks beginning on Symposium day, if the format allows.

All artwork will be on display. Office of Undergraduate Research Staff will review your artwork descriptions for content and space availability. Participants of the showcase agree to the following:

  • Participants must be on-site for installation and are responsible for securing the artwork. The library cannot provide any method to secure equipment/artwork. You may secure all equipment related to your installation using cable locks, zip ties, and/or other appropriate methods.
  • Participants are responsible for de-installation as scheduled with libraries staff.
  • Labels and “Do not touch” signs will be provided for artwork by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Research Commons staff. Labels will include artwork title, artist name(s) and major(s), mentor name(s), media, and relevant artist statement.