Get more views with a well designed thumbnail image

February 27, 2012

When you upload a presentation or document to your SlideShare account, a thumbnail image of your first slide is generated — 120 x 90 pixels and 170 x 120 pixels. The height may vary if it's a document, video or an unusual presentation size, however the width remains constant (120px and 170px). The 120px thumbnail is the most commonly used across the SlideShare website.

Do you pay attention to the appearance of your opening slide’s thumbnail? Are the images visible? Is the text large enough for a viewer to read? Here are three thumbnails with 120 pixel width, just like viewers will see:

examples of font sizes on SlideShare thumbnail images
The first thumbnail uses 44 pt. font, the default font size of the ‘Revolution’ theme you see here. On a big projector screen, this font size appears legible to the audience. But look how it disappears in the first thumbnail image above. The second thumbnail image has a font size of 66 pt., and the third image is at the maximum 96 pt. If viewers are able to read the text in your thumbnail image, they will be more likely to click and watch your entire presentation.

Why is the readability of your thumbnail image important? Just look at all of the places that the thumbnail image of your opening slide appears on the SlideShare website:

A thumbnail image also appears when a presentation is:

  • Featured on the home page - including "Hot on" and "Spotlight" categories
  • Shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Listed in the "More" section of your presentation viewer
  • Embedded with the smallest size (340 x 284) in a blog or website

Put yourself in your viewers' shoes and look at this screenshot of thumbnail images. Which of them stand out, and which require that you squint to read?

Thumbnail images in the Featured section

Take a look at the thumbnail images of your own presentations. Maybe it's time to make them more readable and get more views!

Do you have a design tip or two to share with the SlideShare community? Let us know in the comments below.