design, perspectives, updates

Power without Point?

Admittedly, Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful tool – while its essential nature of being a standalone desktop software has not changed over the last twenty years, over this long period, like a rolling stone gathering moss, PowerPoint has gone way beyond it’s original premise of providing business users an elegant and user-friendly way to communicate their thoughts, ideas and plans.

Unfortunately, most of these advancements are to wit, “Power without Point”! If you were to peel off each feature within PowerPoint and weigh its utility in terms of how this aspect enables presenters to tell a better story, more often than not, you will find that they detract from rather than enhance the presentation in terms of clarity or even from visual appeal.

For instance, Microsoft has added a lot of templates but they probably didn’t get the memo that these templates went out of style 20 years ago! It boggles the mind as to why a presenter would feel that typewriter sound accompanying an animation is something desirable!

The biggest culprit in all of this seems to pick off where their real-world counterparts left off – BULLETS! Like in the real world, bullets in presentations cause major damage! How? For one thing, it promotes sloth in presenters – take an off-the-shelf template slide with a title and 10-15 bullets and blindly pencil in dozens of items to fill up the slide giving the illusion of cogent content but in reality, bombarding poor audiences with dense slides that confound or bore them beyond redemption…

Therefore, for our upcoming Live Presentations application, we have chosen to competely take out the bullets feature! The idea is to prompt users to think about telling their stories in ways that resonate with audiences rather than fall into the old trap of using bullets as hooks to cover up other inadequecies.

Give it a spin – you might just find it to be strangely liberating!