In Defense of PowerPoint

Usability expert Don Norman has published his response to Edward Tufte’s The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. As I have said in a previous post, not everyone, myself included, agrees with the opinion Tufte entirely. Well, according to Norman,

I respectfully submit that all of this is nonsense. Pure nonsense, accompanied by poor understanding of speech making and of the difference between the requirements for a speech-giver, the speech-listener (the audience), and for the reader of a printed document. These are three different things. Tufte-and other critics-seem to think they are one and the same thing. Nonsense, I say, once again.

For those of us that use PowerPoint for teaching, I highly recommend reading both articles, but bear in mind that we have a arguably different purpose of using PowerPoint—teaching is not just giving a (good) talk in a lecture hall.

BTW, even if you don’t have a chance to read Tufte’s work (\$7), I still recommend you to read Norman’s article. It has sufficient context for you to understand the issue.

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