Jensen Harris, of the Microsoft Office User Experience Team, has posted a recording (and PowerPoint) of his awesome presentation at MIX. He tells the story of the Office UI development from version 1.0 to 2007. It’s a compelling explanation of why Microsoft ditched Menus & Toolbars for the task based “Fluent interface” with it’s Ribbon, Contextual Tabs, the Mini Toolbar, and Galleries.
Given the impact of this change I recommend it to anyone deploying, training or even just using Office 2007 (or other Fluent based applications). Dealing with, or selling, change is much easier when you can answer the inevitable “Why?” questions with facts rather than speculation!
Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog : The Story of the Ribbon
Last week, I presented a session at MIX called "The Story of the Ribbon." I talked a bit about the general design process we used to come up with the Office 2007 user interface, to iterate on it, and to evaluate it. As part of the discussion, I showed for the first time some of the early prototypes we worked on (and abandoned or refined) along the way…
Living with the Office Ribbon:
I use Office 2007 at home and found the Fluent UI a dramatic change, for the better. “Ribbon Shock” has worn off and I prefer it to toolbars, especially combined with the Galleries and live formatting preview (seen in Jensen’s video).Unfortunately, I’m able to do a direct comparison every day as still use Office 2003 at work. Once you get past the “where is it” stage I find the ribbon generally supports a more logical work-flow. There is one “feature” of toolbars I’ll never miss. I usually have 2 rows of toolbars in 2003 except when the applications spontaneously start up like this
With the Ribbon, with no toolbars, at least there is no random toolbar scramble.
Other Ribbon related posts: