An Annotated Bibliography on PowerPoint
Much of this debate came to a head when Edward Tufte, a leading expert on the design and presentation of visual information, went on the offensive to argue that PowerPoint was evil. His brief monograph on PowerPoint is available at his website, www.edwardtufte.com It is called The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.
Tufte is also responsible for a
devastating bit of criticism regarding the Columbia Space Shuttle
disaster. He argues that the slide from
a PowerPoint presentation made by engineers attempting to evaluate the likely
degree of damage from insulation foam on
Responses to Tufte and defenses of PowerPoint
An interview with Don Norman by Cliff Atkinson gets at some of the major problems professionals in graphic design have with Tufte’s arguments: http://sociablemedia.com/articles_norman.htm
A thoughtful piece by Glenda Morgan reviews many of the arguments on both sides:
Peter Norvig, the creator of the PowerPoint Gettysburg Address, has a very strong article in the British medical journal, Lancet. Entitled “PowerPoint: shot with its own bullets,” it can be found here: http://www.norvig.com/lancet.html
The folks at Presentations Magazine, a trade industry publication answer with a pretty loud NO when they ask “Does PowerPoint make you stupid?” See their in-depth answer: http://www.presentations.com/presentations/delivery/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000482464
A significant addition to the discussion was launched by Ian
Parker in an article for the New Yorker.
It is mirrored and posted at
Julia Keller published a thoughtful piece in the Chicago Tribune. It is mirrored at this site: http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/5004120.htm
Scores of blogs across the internet have take up the discussion, often lauding Tufte for his insights, or excoriating him for his lack of understanding about the technology. Simply Google “Powerpoint evil” and you are apt to get a fistful of entries ranging from thoughtful and informed to ranting and paranoid….I will let you make the decision about which are which!