Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Story of the Ribbon

Microsoft’s Jensen Harris presents a session about the design process for Office 2007’s user interface(via Jesper).

3 Comments

anonymous coward

I'm a bit surprised by the slides. Here's the guru of UI design at Microsoft and he's not able to realize that his slides are incorrectly designed: when I look at the "prototype" slides, I can't help myself from wondering which labels is the title. My attention is focused on the big/bold "prototype" label and I have to force myself to look at the top of the slide to figure out which prototype will be highlighted.

If he thinks that people read from bottom to top and from thin to bold, I don't get how he landed at this position at Microsoft.

The jump from Word for Windows version 2 to 6 was nicely overlooked - and the rest seemed like a list of initiatives designed to annoy the power user - the office assistant, intellimenus.... i place the ribbon in the same boat, except you can't turn the bloody thing off.

The "list of initiatives designed to annoy the power user" annoyed *everyone* equally. They were well-intended but didn't really work - and never got taken out of the product, save for toning down the assistant! And toolbars and menus didn't scale. In the face of this and of the overwhelming number of feature requests asking for stuff that's *already in there*, there's something to be said for starting over.

I don't get around Ribbon really well yet, but I can make an educated guess, I can add entire Ribbon groups to the custom toolbar, I won't lose vertical space as I select images or charts and the UI won't keep shifting left and right. You can't turn the bloody thing off for the simple reason that it's not some sort of annoying filter over the rest of the UI (including the previous filters), it IS the new UI.

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