PowerPoint mortal

Las presentaciones PowerPoint son odiosas. Con facilidad te permiten confudir las listas con el pensamiento, y encima dan la impresión de poder condensar el conocimiento humano en una diapositiva. No sólo son aburridas, sino además, aportan pocos a lo que el conferenciante podría decir de viva voz o presentar redactado. Se podría usar bien, pero muy poca gente es capaz.

No es un problema en sí de PowerPoint, pero ese programa acrecienta esos defectos. Y encima, ahora todo se hace en PowerPoint. Incluso informes que deberían redactarse se muestran como una serie de listas con bolita. Como comenta este artículo, The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide, algunas personas opinan que el uso de PowerPoint podría tener importantes consecuencias:

Before the fatal end of the shuttle Columbia’s mission last January, with the craft still orbiting the earth, NASA engineers used a PowerPoint presentation to describe their investigation into whether a piece of foam that struck the shuttle’s wing during launching had caused serious damage. Edward Tufte, a Yale professor who is an influential expert on the presentation of visual information, published a critique of that presentation on the World Wide Web last March. A key slide, he said, was «a PowerPoint festival of bureaucratic hyper-rationalism.»

Among other problems, Mr. Tufte said, a crucial piece of information — that the chunk of foam was hundreds of times larger than anything that had ever been tested — was relegated to the last point on the slide, squeezed into insignificance on a frame that suggested damage to the wing was minor.

The independent board that investigated the Columbia disaster devoted an entire page of its final report last month to Mr. Tufte’s analysis. The board wrote that «it is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation.»

In fact, the board said: «During its investigation, the board was surprised to receive similar presentation slides from NASA officials in place of technical reports. The board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.»

El comentario de Edward Tufte se puede encontrar aquí. Tufte es autor, entre otros, del libro The cognitive style of Powerpoint.

[Estoy escuchando: «Raga Ahir Bhairav» de Rupak Kulkarni en el disco Classical Flute]

Categoría: Silva

Pedro Jorge Romero

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