SmartArt graphics can be very effective and yet they can be overused or misused and therefore backfire instead of enhance your presentation.
Examples of good uses of SmartArt Graphics
This SmartArt Graphic (Continuous Block Process) clearly illustrates the sequential nature of these funding rounds:
The following SmartArt Graphic (Upward Arrow), which we use in our collaboration technologies workshops, shows the spectrum of purposes that one can have for one's blog. The upward arrow depicts the increased value that blog authors can get from their blog as they start to move beyond publishing information into engaging and motivation their audiences:
Example of not so good uses of SmartArt Graphics
This SmartArt Graphic here is ambiguous. It is not clear what the relationship is between People, Technology, and Process. The pyramid can be interpreted differently by different people. This will cause the viewer to have to think and make assumptions. As Steve Krug puts it in his book Don't Make Me Think, this will distract and confuse the user.
What do you think of this SmartArt Graphic?
Do you have examples of SmartArt Graphics (or charts/visuals) that are well done and some that are not? E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will collect them and publish the results in a future article.