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​.edwardtuf​te​.com/​t​u​fte/ebooks.
  2.  Ibid.
  3.  Godin, Seth, „Real­ly Bad Power­point,” Janu­ary 29, 2007, http://​seth​go​din​.typepad​.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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