I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the dominant program out there for creating and showing presentations: PowerPoint.
I love PowerPoint because it’s generally easy for anyone to create something for a presentation, and with a little bit of work, create something quite useful. It also is so prevalent in the U.S. that pretty much any place you plan to make a presentation, including courtrooms or a mediator’s office, will accommodate or provide a laptop that has PowerPoint installed. For busy attorneys on deadline who need to present their case at mediation or in court, this ease of use is key.
Now for the “hate” part: although improving, PowerPoint’s drawing functions, and its ability to handle multimedia (like videos and animated GIFs), remains awkward and confusing, which creates a barrier to incorporating graphics into slides. Many people use default templates which, in turn, leads to “Death by PowerPoint”—the type of presentation we’ve all seen that consists mainly of a PowerPoint with text in bullet points, and a presenter who does little more than read what is on the screen.
One of my all-time favorite examples of how PowerPoint can be misused as a presentation tool is the Gettysburg Address created by Peter Norvig in PowerPoint (click below to navigate through the whole presentation): (more…)