In “Beautiful Evidence”, Edward Tuft strongly dislikes Powerpoint due to its power of detraction. When information is needed to be given over in a succinct manner, businesses usually utilize Powerpoints. Tuft points out that Powerpoints actually detract from the necessary information for multiple reasons. One reason is that information that should be linked together can end up being on different powerpoint slides. Another problem is that Powerpoints “promote a cognitive style that disrupts and trivializes evidence” (Tuft, 184). The different flourishes and tools that make up Powerpoint (Tuft calls them “Powerpoint Phluff”) create a mental block and thereby not allowing the necessary information to be absorbed. I completely agree.
Just like Steve Krug, I believe that Edward Tuft is trying to simplify things all while increasing the absorption of the message. With its fun animations, bullets, and most importantly, slides, Powerpoint dilutes the intended message and actually distracts the viewer. We discussed in class regarding online articles vs. print, how sometimes the old way is the best way. This applies to Powerpoints just as much. Imagine being handed a printout of a Powerpoint presentation; ten pages of squares with bullets and words filling it. Where is the necessary information, what is the correct layout, am i reading it properly? It would be much simpler reading sentences than trying to decipher “computer code” as Tuft puts it (Tuft, 170).
This all melts down to “what tools/ideas should historians employ to better represent their data”? We now know that Powerpoints are not very good at presenting information and are therefore ruled out. I personally believe that the best tools to use currently are visual. Interactive websites, videos, pictures, and even charts can help better give over the intended message to its audience. These tools/ideas challenge the brain to accept the information in a different way than we are used to and therefore creates a more “memorable” experience.