Some Data on the Current Use of PowerPoint – Word Counts (2)

This post is an excerpt from “Visu­al Log­or­rhea – On the Preva­lence of Slideu­ments”. In order to get an impres­sion of the cur­rent use of Pow­er­Point for pre­sen­ta­tion design, 1.500 pre­sen­ta­tions found on the inter­net have been ana­lyzed. Read the full story here.

Word Counts

On an aver­age slide, there are x̄ = 30.8 words with a very high spread (s = 31.0) and a medi­an of Md = 24.

Though this seems to be a high num­ber of words per slide, it is far less than what Edward Tufte found (a Medi­an of Md = 40) – a dis­crepancy which almost sure­ly is relat­ed to the fact that Tufte lim­it­ed his analy­sis to “text-only slides”, where­as this analy­sis is based on a cor­pus of entire pre­sen­ta­tions.1 Lim­it­ing the sam­ple to slides of lay­out “Object” (see chap­ter “Slide Lay­outs” on p. 13) con­tain­ing exact­ly two shapes with text (a sub­set of the sam­ple which should almost match Tufte’s sam­ple cri­te­ria), the medi­an is Md = 35 (x̄ = 41.1, s= 30.5). Remem­ber­ing Tufte’s crit­ic on “[…] much lower rates of infor­ma­tion trans­mis­sion than the talk itself […]”, these even lower num­bers sup­port Tufte’s find­ings.​2

Some Data on the Current Use of PowerPoint - Word Counts

Only about a quar­ter (23.1%) of all slides honor Seth Godin’s advice not to have more than six words on a slide.3 Tak­ing into account that about 8% of all slides in the sam­ple are title slides (accord­ing to their slide lay­out, see below), we can clear­ly state that vir­tu­al­ly nobody fol­lows his rec­om­men­da­tion. Whether it is real­is­tic or not – it is ignored.

This post is an excerpt from “Visu­al Log­or­rhea – On the Preva­lence of Slideu­ments”. In order to get an impres­sion of the cur­rent use of Pow­er­Point for pre­sen­ta­tion design, 1.500 pre­sen­ta­tions found on the inter­net have been ana­lyzed. Read the full story here.

Foot­notes:

  1.  Tufte, Edward R., The Cog­ni­tive Style of Pow­er­Point: Pitch­ing Out Cor­rupts With­in (2nd ed. Cheshire, Con­necti­cut: Graph­ics Press LLC, 2006), 16. Tufte’s essay can be down­loaded from his eBook store at http://​www​.edwardtufte​.com/​t​u​fte/ebooks.
  2.  Ibid.
  3.  Godin, Seth, “Real­ly Bad Pow­er­point,” Jan­u­ary 29, 2007, http://​seth​godin​.type​pad​.com/​s​e​t​h​s​_​b​l​o​g​/​2​0​0​7​/​0​1​/​r​e​a​l​l​y​_​b​a​d​_powe.html (accessed Jan­u­ary 1, 2014).

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