Thursday, August 21, 2003
Edward R. Tufte has done some of the most original and compelling modern work on information visualization, and i strongly recommend his book Envisioning Information. But his rant entitled The Evil Truth About PowerPoint (courtesy of Wired News), though clever, isn't convincing. It's clearly pointless to put a few words on a slide and then read them to your audience: presentation outlines work best when they distill the bare essence, with an accompanying expansion and explanation. He presents a strawman comparing a table of information to multiple graphics, but i don't understand the relationship, or why powerpoint is to blame: certainly anybody can create bad graphics. It seems most of his complaint is about "powerpoint style", as though powerpoint itself imposed bad design. But that's more a characteristic of users than the tool in my experience.
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