I've just come upon Dave Paradi's results of his PowerPoint Survey. You may know that I have some strong opinions about PowerPoint. Other more interesting and influencial people have even stronger opinions.
Dave's survey clinches it in case you've been living in a cave or have yet to be lectured by me personally:
- Do not read the slides to the audience. Chances are (about 100%) that the audience can read the slides faster than you can read them aloud to the audience. Know this, accept this, and stop reading slides. Slide are there as an outline. YOU are there to fill in the outline. If you have to look at your slides to keep on track, then you don't know your material. Remember the wisdom of Harry Pierson - 'Ruthless Competence'
- Not everyone has 20/10 vision. 8 point is NEVER appropriate for a slide. Think 14. Then think again and try 18. Get to know Lucida Console for code, it's yummy. I run it all the time now. And yes, I run it at 14 point all the time too! (Ask my friends, it's true!) :) And don't just get a magnifier, get good at using it. The audience will thank you again and again. On the real.
- Get the Queer Eye guys to help you with Color Schemes. You're a programmer, not an artist. Lose the black background (and the white one) and talk to a designer.
- PowerPoint is not Word, nor is it Visio. You should no more be using PowerPoint to write prose and full paragraphs than you should be using it as a UI prototyping tool.
- Know your Tool and know where your Slides Are. Hunting for hotkeys, toolbar buttons or a slide looks bad. Know how to use PowerPoint. I've seen people create funky hyperlinks and buttons to create PowerPoints that thought they were HyperCard. They jump forward, navigate back all with some arcane and sick sense of logic. Just number your slides. You can always type 12-ENTER to go to Slide 12. No need to confuse us (or more likely yourself) with tricks.
Whew! That felt good!