Toward a better understanding of PowerPoint deck design
The critical landscape surrounding PowerPoint is highly troubled. Empirical research is scarce, and commentators share little common ground and have taken highly divergent positions. Often arguments are unnuanced and flawed. This review essay identifies and discusses ten problems that have confused and hindered the study of PowerPoint. Among the problems are these: The lack of terminology for categorizing deck content; the need for a more sophisticated understanding of mediation (how PowerPoint “edits thought”) and the relationship between PowerPoint and organizational culture; the formulation of broad arguments based on a narrow set of presentation genres; the habit of regarding slides as standalone artifacts divorced from the presentation; and insufficient attention to context (the particular circumstances surrounding a presentation) including the personal style of the presenter. If we can achieve a healthier critical landscape, we will see better commentary, research studies, decks, and presentations.
Keywords: presentations, oral communication, speech communication, PowerPoint
Published online: 07 July 2006
Cited by 11 other publications
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