MS&E Senior Project
All Management Science & Engineering (MS&E) majors at Stanford are required to take a senior project course where we apply the problem-solving techniques and interdisciplinary learnings from our major to develop feasible solutions for a client company challenge.
At the end of the quarter, we deliver a formal business presentation to explain our project findings and pitch a final solution to both our classmates and representatives from our partner client company.
Presentation Layout & Design
Non-design aspects of the project (client meetings, data collection, cost analyses, etc.) were completed collaboratively alongside the rest of the team.
Designing for A Dual Audience
My group partnered with S2E Technologies, which specializes in building "smart" residential communities equipped with advanced sustainability solutions extending beyond solar panels and energy-efficiency. They needed our help developing a pricing model that would be able to quantify the intangible benefits of their innovative green technologies — how could they factor cleaner air or long-term health benefits into the fixed/per-unit pricing of their residential units? How might customers react to these costs and how much are they willing to pay for them?
To tackle this problem and develop a reliable pricing framework, we launched customer surveys, conducted cost-based-conjoint analyses across three market demographics, and developed a regression model for analyzing new future markets. But, the design-related challenge was presenting all this to an audience of:
(1) company representatives who had a clear understanding of the problem space, (2) professors and direct mentors who could easily grasp our project solution, and (3) fellow classmates who had very little to no relevant knowledge altogether.
As the delegated designer for our team, I kept this in mind from early on and guided the organization and flow of our presentation to account for the varying audiences and our strict 10-minute time limit. I also emphasized the importance of effective and pleasing design in building credibility, communicating complex ideas, and establishing a favorable impression from the very first slide.
Throughout this process, some of my key design considerations were:
Because our project deals with sustainability, I chose a bright shade of green as our accent color to evoke images of nature and eco-friendliness. This was paired with a simple black and white palette to keep our presentation simple, formal, and sharp. I also integrated white space throughout many of our slides to direct more focus towards our verbal explanations and prevent any complex or visually-overwhelming slides.
To accommodate the audience's varying levels of familiarity with our project topic, I started by making our introductory slides as visually-intuitive as possible. For example, I used checklists, flowcharts, and icons to indicate parts of a whole or to highlight our problem and solution statements. Spacing and typography were then applied strategically to build organizational structure into our denser closing slides where we were required to detail our comprehensive results.
The Final Product
The actual content of these slides may be difficult to understand since they were designed to complement our verbal presentation. However, my design choices and the overall aesthetic of the slides should still be visible even without proper context! (Note: some sensitive information has been blurred for privacy!)