PRESENTATIONS / APRIL 2003 23
w hat exactly is a product-
Simply put, it visually por-
trays the development process of a
product from concept to release —
with all types of research, tests and
prototypes somewhere in the middle.
Most of these terms — concept,
prototype, launch — are classified as
tasks. Each task has to be represented
within a timeline. Not surprisingly,
many tasks can be repetitive, consecu-
tive or simultaneous in nature. Beyond
the perspective of a task point of
view, real-world considerations also
need to be taken into account for
product development. Time schedules
and the grouping of responsibilities
are all prone to continual change. A
slide based on such a product-devel-
opment timeline has to have qualities
that make it easy to evolve, edit and
expand at any moment.
For designers, the basic timeline
visual can be classified as an “info-
graphic.” And while creating an effec-
tive timeline for a presentation can be
daunting, it is not impossible.
For this article, we’ll walk through
the steps of creating a product-devel-
opment timeline for Comitu Inc., a fic-
tional pharmaceutical company plan-
ning the development and launch of
and select Fill Effects.
In the Fill Effects dialog box,
choose the Gradient tab and opt for a
two-color fill. Choose your colors (our
sample has chrome yellow with sap
green) and select a diagonal shading
style (see EXAMPLE
). Click OK
when you are satisfied.
From within the Format
AutoShapes window, return to the
Colors and Lines tab, and from the
Lines submenu, click the Color drop-
down menu. Choose the No Line
option for the outlines and click OK.
Just below the time bar and perpen-
dicular to it, create four dashed lines
its new drug, SunZome. (To follow the
techniques explained here, you can
download the sample PowerPoint pre-
sentation from www.powerpointed.
com/files/timeline.zip. You will need
an unzipping utility such as WinZip or
Stuffit to extract the archive file.)