Re: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint
On Dec 15, 2003, at 9:46 AM, Jonathan Robie wrote: > > > What is the "cognitive style" of writing documents in XML vs. > PowerPoint, Word, or FrameMaker? Do the tools we use to write affect > the way we think? I'll bite. I think the "cognitive style of PowerPoint" is more driven by the necessity of presenting information in a small number of discrete slides, each of which is constrained to have no more information than can fit in a 1024 x 768 pixel space with the words no smaller than 18 pt font and a strong convention to use simple graphics rather than words to illustrate something. One can write slides in hand-authored HTML, or SVG or Flash or Apple Keynote, and you still have the problems that Tufte notes. Just as dyed-in-the-wool FORTRAN programmers can write FORTRAN in any language, experienced PowerPoint Rangers can write .PPT in any format. "Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure" http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.html So, a forty word slide with smarmy, incoherent graphics written with HTML+JPEG or SVG or some other open format is just as bad as the same slide in PPT. True, PowerPoint and its ilk encourage that by making it easy to write cutesy slides rather than thoughtful analyses, but that's Microsoft giving its customers what the sales/marketing consultants of a generation ago said they should want.
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