Many Indezine readers have heard about Edward Tufte, who is an American statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University. Tufte is famous for his not so charitable opinions about PowerPoint and other slideware programs. His essay, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint has been either well-received or much criticized.
One counter to Tufte’s thoughts is from Peter Coffee, who is Technology Editor at PC Magazine. In a recent post on eWeek, he states: “I part company with Tufte when he blames this kind of sloppiness on PowerPoint itself. He compares it to a drug with ‘frequent, serious side effects’ of inducing stupidity, wasting time and degrading ‘the quality and credibility of communication.’ He’s wrong. PowerPoint doesn’t corrupt; it concentrates. If you have something useful to say, it helps you say it in a more effective way; if youre ignorant or confused, PowerPoint makes it more obvious, but only to an audience that isnt in the same condition. Moreover, Id argue that its easier to be deliberately obscure, and to cover ones self against every possible outcome, in a document laden with footnotes and appendices than it is in a 40-word chart.”