Heuristic Evaluation for PowerPoint Slides

"Death by PowerPoint" is a phrase the military likes to use to describe those presentations that cause your eyes to dry out and the drool to start coming out of your mouth. Being a tech-oriented HCI person, I figured we could actually develop heuristics, and possibly even a tool, to help address this problem.

Here's my list of heuristics that, all of which I think could be built as a plug-in for PowerPoint:

  • Fonts too small (try to stick to at least 24 points)
  • Too many animations
  • Too many sub-bullets
  • Too much text on the slide
  • Unreadable color combinations
  • Too many lines in a bullet
  • Too many fonts on the slide
  • Ugly fonts


David said…
Several other problems to add to your list:

* Reliance on a standard Microsoft Template (e.g. Dad's Tie). Nothing gets older than seeing a template that has been used before (unless it is blank or maybe a color gradient)

* Use of bullet points. Lessig has a nice style of one point per page, this keeps audience interest longer I think than a list of bullet points

* spinning equations. I saw this once by a job candidate. Lord knows what he was thinking, but he didn't get the job.

-- dml (who uses Keynote now)

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