Norman calls Tufte’s PPT Criticisms “Nonsense”

For those of you who keep up with such things, usability expert Don Norman just published an essay titled In Defense of PowerPoint, in which he aims squarely at the criticisms of PowerPoint by information design guru Edward Tufte. In a word, Norman calls Tufte’s critique:

"Nonsense…"

People occasionally ask me what I think of the PowerPoint-bashing that has been going on the past couple of years. Boxbox_1 On the one hand, it’s a good thing that we are identifying that our current approach does create serious problems that we need to address.  But on the other, I side with the growing number of people who realize there’s a problem and simply want to move forward toward a solution.

But before moving on, I can’t resist identifying the three things that are consistently missing from any serious analysis of our current approach to PowerPoint:

  1. There is no defensible reason why we do what we do today. If we came up with a better approach, we’d dump the old one in a New York minute.
  2. Researchers have been studying the use of multimedia in presentations for 13 years, yet most discussions about PowerPoint take place in a vacuum as if it never happened.
  3. Although many people blame presenters for bad PowerPoint, it’s not their fault if their culture forces them to do things that way.

OK, I’m glad I got that out of my system. Next slide, please.

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