Tuesday, July 20, 2004

PowerPoint is Evil...(?)

Having spoken about Edward Tufte in class today, I find it appropriate to do some blogging on an article that he wrote: PowerPoint is Evil. (Jon sent me the link) Let me just say that he does sound a little bit snobby in the article, but the man has a point. This was the part of the article that I found the most intriguing:
Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure.
This passage speaks to what we discussed in class today. In my opinion, it's not that the program is actually evil, it's that is makes it so easy for people to make something that is not compelling at all seem important to some people. PowerPoint gives people easy access to tools that will give material pizzazz... adding borders, shadows, and clip art doesn't help make the content interesting. Tufte suggests that if you think it helps then you're wrong.
I wouldn't say that PowerPoint is evil, but I will say that it gives many people the opportunity to quickly produce complete crap and pull it off just because up on the screen. In some ways it's a little too easy to make a shitty presentation. I don't think, however, that having people put the content on mat board would make much of a difference.


Blogger seth ross said...

Yes, exactly. Content that sucks will always suck, no matter how it is presented.

July 20, 2004 at 7:29 PM  

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