Case Study: How To ADHD’s Presentation That Helped College Students

Designing a presentation that reflects quirkiness, humor and personality.

The Client

Jessica McCabe is an energetic, always-smiling YouTube personality and public speaker who is best known for her YouTube channel ‘How To ADHD.’ With over 284,000 subscribers, she’s always looking for creative ways to give tips, tricks and insights for the ADHD brain.

The Problem

Jessica had a presentation to give to over 11,000 college students sarcastically entitled ‘How To Be Unsuccessful In College’. Her talk was focused on the strategies that college students can use to help manage some ADHD symptoms. She was pretty happy with the content, but needed a little help in designing her slides to reflect her brand, personality, and overall communication goals.

The Solution

A set of PowerPoint slides that is designed around three key themes: humor, quirkiness, and the HowToADHD brand persona.

wHAT WE DID

Storyboarding

Presentation Design


WHAT WE USED

Microsoft PowerPoint

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator


NOTE: The slides you're about to see were designed by Slide Cow Inc, in a co-creation process with the client. Because the client's presentation is available publicly, we'll be able to show you a few of the slides in full, with no text omitted.

The front cover of Jessica's presentation.

Touching Base

Funnily enough, it was actually Slide Cow’s CEO, Yousef “Yoyo” Abu Ghaidah, who reached out to Jessica first.

For context, it’s worth mentioning that Yoyo was diagnosed is ADHD himself. Some time ago, he even decided to write a blog post about how ADHD has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to running the Slide Cow agency.

He reached out to Jessica to see what she thought about his post, but after Jessica realized that Slide Cow’s a presentation design agency, she asked for a call to see if we could help.

The Call

Right off the bat, Yoyo and Jessica got talking about her upcoming speaking engagement.

She was invited to present her thoughts at a college. The topic was focused on how students can manage their ADHD symptoms while achieving their academic goals.

“There are going to be around 11,000 people in the room,” she remarked.

“Damn,” Yoyo replied. “Then we’re going to make you look REALLY good on stage.”

The Personality Assessment

During the call, it was clear that Jessica was going to be one of our favorite clients for two good reasons.

First, Jessica absolutely loves her community, even nicknaming them as “brains.” She kept bringing back her love for her community in every other sentence. This makes sense: her success is based on helping people with ADHD achieve their life goals all while making it clear that ADHD shouldn’t be termed as a disability, but rather, a different way of thinking.

Second, Jessica didn’t want to come off as a corporate, formal type of personality. She loves being real and speaking from the heart. She isn’t afraid to be vulnerable around the community she worked so hard to build.

Yoyo loved her personality so much that he made a note to embed that same personality in the design process.

HowToADHD's YouTube Channel. We took a look at how each thumbnail was crafted, and went for a similar look and feel.

The Content Assessment

Jessica stated that she was happy with the content for the most part, and was only looking for the design side of things.

But Yoyo knows that the best way to design a presentation is to design around its story.

So during the call, Yoyo did a deep-dive into the content and proceeded to ask questions, specifically requesting for some insight as to why certain messages were in place.

First off, he asked why Jessica was going to present a talk on how a student could be unsuccessful in college, rather than...you know...being successful.

Jessica’s reply was fantastic. She indicated that going into the negatives in a way that was funny and engaging would appeal to the audience more since they’re students, and thus, make the content relatable.

That’s a 10/10 answer in our books.

Yoyo then proceeded to assess the content on each slide to try and find an effective and illustrative angle the Slide Cow design team could use.

One of the best examples of this is when the two were discussing a slide that communicates the siutations where the human brain doesn’t perform optimally. Jessica thought it would be funny to display a 404 error of sorts, signalling that a brain’s “executive function is not found.”

Yoyo loved this. He realized that the 404 error is a technological gimmick that a group of college students are more than likely familiar with. We took it a step further and came up with some copy around it, too.

Before

After

I LOVE how much creative license you took while staying true to my goals. The 404 error screen cracked me up!

JESSICA McCABE

The Design Process

We could go on and on about what we did in the design process, but we think Yoyo did a pretty good job summing up the brief in an email he sent to the design team.

You can find the email below, word-for-word.

An Email From Yoyo To The Slide Cow Design Team

From: Yoyo from Slide Cow
To: Slide Cow Design Team
Subject: HowToADHD Presentation Redesign Project

Hey team,

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

So, we have a new project this week, and the client is a YouTube celebrity of sorts. Her name’s Jessica McCabe and she’s currently running the How To ADHD YouTube channel.

She has a talk coming up with a huge amount of college students (I was told it was like 11,000, and no, that’s not a typo). Her presentation focuses on how college students can manage ADHD symptoms while achieving their academic goals. I think the presentation is well structured, and the narrative is pretty good, so we’re going to make minimal changes to the content.

In short, this project is 95% design, 5% content amendments.

With the above in mind, the project’s design direction is pretty clear to me. We have to (and I mean have to) design around three key things:

First, The How To ADHD brand: Please go to her YouTube channel, website and Twitter page to have a feel of how she illustrates the brand. More importantly, assess her tone of voice and how she communicates to her community. We'll need this assessment to guide us with the design.

Second, A funny, quirky, personality: Do not go the typical and formal design route with this project. Let’s think out of the box and give a creative look and feel to the design process

And third, A slide-by-slide experience: To me, every slide has a different story to tell, and we have to redesign them to tell that story better. Try and keep the consistency to a minimum and go for something unique throughout.

Please have a first draft ready for me in four days. I’ll review it, and then we can build on it from there.

Cheers,

Yoyo

The Results

So, we had our brief from Yoyo, and knew exactly what we needed to.

We got to work and designed everything using a creative look-and-feel, all while maintaining How To ADHD’s brand persona.

How'd It Go?

We loved this project, but we were anxious to know just how well the talk went.

We sent an email, and within an hour, got a reply. We smiled so hard our cheeks hurt.

The talk absolutely crushed!!! It was amazing.

JESSICA McCABE

Oh, and we got one more email too.

Yeah. Jessica's a keeper for sure.

Ready to Talk?

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