Bloated design is contagious


A recent bout with PowerPoint reminded me why I dislike Microsoft’s ubiquitous presentation software: the files it creates are absurdly large. For every image that you import, the file size seems to increase by two or three times the size of the original image. I’m guessing PowerPoint converts the images to an uncompressed format like BMP, causing the size to balloon.

Granted, this is probably old news to anyone who uses the software regularly. So I’ll get right to the point: I think the bloated approach that led to PowerPoint’s user interface also contributed to its bloated output files. While the visible user interface in a program rarely shares any code with the invisible processes that create the output files from that program, they will often reflect the same design priorities. Create a bloated interface, and more often than not, other things start to mushroom as well.