A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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PowerPoint Is Evil

Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that promised to make us beautiful but didn't. Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: It induced stupidity, turned everyone into bores, wasted time, and degraded the quality and credibility of communication. These side effects would rightly lead to a worldwide product recall. Yet slideware--computer programs for presentations--is everywhere.

Tufte, Edward. Wired (2003). Articles>Presentations>Multimedia>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint is Not the Problem

What does one of the world's leading authorities on usability say about PowerPoint? As cofounder of the Neilsen Norman Group and author of the classic The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman is a strong advocate of user-centered design and simplicity. Surprisingly, Norman disagrees with PowerPoint's most vocal critic, information design guru Edward Tufte.

Norman, Donald A. Sociable Media (2004). Articles>Presentations


PowerPoint Makes You Dumb

PowerPoint is the world's most popular tool for presenting information. There are 400 million copies in circulation, and almost no corporate decision takes place without it. But what if PowerPoint is actually making us stupider?

Thompson, Clive. New York Times, The (2003). Articles>Presentations>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint


Powerpoint PDF Bloating   (PDF)

When I convert my PowerPoint presentations to PDF, why do they become so huge? How can I get around this?

PDFzone (2004). Articles>Presentations>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint Presentations: A Speaker's Guide   (PDF)

Vinton Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet, reportedly parodied the well-known quote about the cost of attaining power, observing that if power corrupts, 'PowerPointcorrupts absolutely.' Pointed though Cerf’s statement is, it places far too much blame on the software. After all, speakers must take some responsibility for their presentations. As in any other form of communication, you must decide what you’re going to say and how you plan to say it. But once that’s done, you need to use all the skills at your disposal to make the chosen medium work for you.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Intercom (2004). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint Presentations: Tips To Avoid Last Minute Surprises

The PowerPoint tips featured here are not about creating better or more effective presentations, instead they help you avoid any last minute surprises that may crop up when an eager audience is waiting to see your slide show.

Agarwal, Amit. Digital Inspiration (2007). Articles>Presentations>Advice


PowerPoint Should Be Banned. This PowerPoint Presentation Explains Why

As PowerPoint conquered the world, critics have piled on. And justifiably so. Its slides are oversimplified, and bullet points omit the complexities of nearly any issue. The slides are designed to skip the learning process, which — when it works — involves dialogue, eye-to-eye contact and discussions. Of course PowerPoint has merits — it can help businesses with their sales pitches or let teachers introduce technology into the classroom. But instead of being used as a means for a dynamic engagement, it has become a poor substitute for longer, well-thought-out briefings and technical reports. It has become a crutch. We should ban it.

Park, Katrin. Washington Post, The (2015). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint Tutorial

PowerPoint is a complete presentation graphics package. It gives you everything you need to produce a professional-looking presentation. PowerPoint offers word processing, outlining, drawing, graphing, and presentation management tools- all designed to be easy to use and learn. This presentaton gives you a quick overview of what you can do in PowerPoint.

University of Rhode Island. Design>Software>Presentations>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint Tutorial: Adding Sound to a PowerPoint Show

There are many sites where you can download or buy MIDI or Audio files on the web. Many of these sites offer illegal sound clips. Finding sound clips on the Web is very easy--simply do a search for sound clips, and you'll be directed to many different web pages. Just be sure that you can legally use these sound clips before putting them on your site.

Presenters University (2001). Articles>Presentations>Methods>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint Tutorial: Microsoft PowerPoint 2003

This PowerPoint tutorial is just what you need to get up to speed using PowerPoint to create engaging and effective presentations. Whether you're creating a presentation for an informal gathering, a school or classroom assignment, or one for your business partners or associates, PowerPoint is a powerful tool that will help get the job done. Each PowerPoint tutorial features text and screen shots, and some include narrated multimedia tutorials in Flash.

Guides and Tutorials (2006). Articles>Documentation>Presentations>Microsoft PowerPoint


PowerPoint-Based Lectures in Business Education: an Empirical Investigation of Student-Perceived Novelty and Effectiveness   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The use of PowerPoint (PPT)-based lectures in business classes is prevalent, yet it remains empirically understudied in business education research. The authors investigate whether students in the contemporary business classroom view PPT as a novel stimulus and whether these perceptions of novelty are related to students' self-assessment of learning. Results indicate that the degree of novelty that undergraduate business students associate with PPT-based teaching significantly relates to their perceptions of PPT's impact on cognitive learning and classroom interaction. Students' views of PPT as a novel stimulus are also associated with their perception of specific constructive and dysfunctional classroom behaviors and attitudes. The authors discuss their findings and offer implications for instructors and researchers in business education.

Burke, Lisa A. and Karen E. James. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Education>Presentations>Microsoft PowerPoint


Practice and Feedback in Technical Tutorials   (PDF)

To be effective, technical tutorials need to offer learners the opportunity to put information into action and to assess their performance through well designed practice sessions. Research findings on practice modules suggest the appropriate levels of difficulty, structure of practice sessions, and optimal forms of feedback.

Krull, Robert. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Documentation>Documentation


Preparing and Delivering Oral Presentations

This series of 28 slides provides instruction on preparing and delivering oral presentations. The first portion of the lesson focuses on classic principles of accessibility, understandability, and design. Later in the PowerPoint, significant attention is given to issues of delivery and audience response. Photographic examples of stance, gesture, and expression emphasize how excellence in oral presentation depends upon numerous, interlocking parts: visual, verbal, emotional, and physical.

conneXions (2008). Presentations>Research>Presentations>Usability


Preparing for Screencasting

Advice on how to get started giving screencasts, why you might want to do it and how to establish your recording studio. Then we move into planning the capture of your screencast and a few tips on using some presentation tools.

Rush, Jeff. ShowMeDo (2009). Presentations>Multimedia>Video>Screencasting


Preparing Outstanding Presentations: Effective Visuals

Good visuals can strengthen your presentation tremendously - but unfortunately, they're rare. Here are their four key attributes: few, big, simple, and (occasionally) memorable. How many visuals per minute? People often ask me how many visuals they should use per minute of speech. I think they hope I will say expansively, 'As many as you like!' Instead, I tell them the opposite: 'Use no more than you really need.' The key is this: Use a visual only if it has a clear purpose.

Reimold, Cheryl. IEEE PCS (2000). Presentations>Advice


Preparing Outstanding Presentations: The Summary

In this series, I have described a universal presentation structure consisting of introduction, body, and summary. Parts 3 and 4 discussed the introduction and the body in detail. This time, we'll see how to close the presentation with an effective summary.

Reimold, Cheryl. IEEE PCS (2000). Presentations>Advice


Preparing Outstanding Presentations: Understanding Your Audience

A presentation is a great chance to further your career. The reason is simple: most presentations are ill conceived and poorly delivered. So, if you can become one of the few who do it right, you'll stand out like a shining beacon in a dark wasteland. People will pick you for key projects because they can count on you to sell the work at presentation time. In this series, we look at the principles that enable you to prepare outstanding, career-boosting presentations.

Reimold, Cheryl. IEEE PCS (2000). Presentations>Advice


Preparing Presentation Slides

This tutorial presents a brief overview of the process for preparing presentation slides, introduces you to important design principles to consider as you prepare your slides, and helps you analyze the design of sample presentation slides.

Battalio, John T. Bedford-St. Martin's (2007). Articles>Presentations>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint


Preparing Students and Employees for Global Technical Communication   (PDF)

American businesses that fail overseas most frequently do so because of “an inability to understand and adapt to foreign ways of thinking and acting” (Ferraro). While educators must prepare students for the global marketplace, so too must corporations train employees currently in the workforce to help them deal with the challenges of doing business internationally. This paper presents a university course and a corporate training program that introduce the key issues of building effective global teams to students and employees respectively.

Flammia, Madelyn, Colin B. Kemp and Barbara Greene. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Education>International


Preparing Text for Online Display   (PDF)

It would be difficult to find a credible source that argues against the position that (all other things being equal) the best online documentation results when you develop text explicitly for the online medium. And not just the online medium but more precisely for a particular display program and hardware environment. However, for one of any number of reasons, the development of text for online display may have to be the product of an automated process on text that was either developed originally for some paper-based document publication program or from text that contains generic markup (such as SGML). Regardless of how the text itself is generated, there remain several aspects to designing an online display that must be considered by all information developers.

Schwartz, David M. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Web Design


Preparing Text for Translation: One Translator's Perspective, Reliable Translations

Provide a glossary of terms specific to your product and/or industry. Consider other languages' space requirements and writing conventions (e.g., right‐to‐left). Provide context, especially for translating interfaces only. Provide original (Word, Excel, ...) documents rather than PDFs.

Jungwirth, Barbara. STC Proceedings (2009). Presentations>Language>Localization>Technical Translation


Preparing World-Ready Information Products   (PDF)

This post-conference seminar offers a 360-degree view of how to develop information products for the world. We use case studies, exercises, and lots of lively discussion to give you a crash course in preparing world-ready information products. Participants leave with a copy of the slides, an exercise booklet, an extensive bibliography that includes print, Web, and Internet references, a list of professional associations, tools information, plus lots of great ideas. Participants are encouraged share specific problems and to bring samples of translated materials, style guides, translation checklists, and so on, for display and perusing during the seminar.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Information Design


Preparing Writers for a Global Role in Technical Communication through Metacognition, Transfer, and Learning to Learn   (PDF)

We have added so many visual and electronic aspects to our courses that there is little time for the basic skill of technical communication—clear writing that communicates a specific message to a specific audience for a specific purpose. Because we cannot provide instruction in all skills and strategies students need for all jobs now and in the future, we should focus on the basic concepts required for writing any document in any medium. We must help students learn to transfer the skills and strategies for one communication project to the next; we must help them learn to learn.

Boiarsky, Carolyn. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Writing>International


Presentaciones Conceptuales

Las presentaciones tienden a ser más visuales y menos textuales. Convertir cada concepto en una imagen es el reto y, a la vez, la solución.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2003). (Spanish) Presentations>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric>Technical Illustration



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