Tufte on Powerpoint

Edward R. Tufte - The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

Yes, I realise the irony of using bullet points to summarise this too. But some notes are better than no notes.

  • Presenters love PowerPoint, not audiences
  • PP is so low on information density that truths must be abbreviated to fit
  • Bullets can't show complex relationships, can only show ONE of these:
  • Sequence
  • Priority
  • Or simple set membership
<li>Tufte recommends sentences with subjects and verbs rather than bullets</li>
<li>Quote from Richard Feynman (re: NASSA and his role on commission investigating Challenger disaster in '86):</li>
Then we learned about "bullets" - little black circles in front of phrases that were supposed to summarise things. There was one after another of these goddamn bullets in our briefing books on slides
  • Thin content -> boring presentations -> adding PPPhluff
  • Greater detail means greater clarity and gives context
  • Branding on PP slides is insidious
  • "The way to make big improvements in a presentation is to get better content"
  • Avoid hierarchies of bullets
  • Never read from slides
  • Never use PP for paper reports
  • Instead of PP, use handouts of additional material that is dense in information