Inside Deep Thought (Why the UI, Part 6)

This is the sixth part in my weekly series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 12.  You can read the last installments here: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5. Microsoft is tracking your every move! Soon after…

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Happy Pretend Halloween

I attended college for the first time when I was three years old.  The College of Wooster Nursery School, that is. One of the best features of nursery school was that they went to great lengths not to leave anyone out of activities.  Probably the most fun regular event was the celebration of birthdays, involving…

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Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To

You’ve written an add-in to Microsoft Word. It creates an entry point at the bottom of the Tools menu. “Crikey!  There is no Tools menu.  Call Sgt. Pepper immediately!” We know there are thousands of add-ins, macros, and other projects that extend Office or use it to host UI.  Exactly none of these were written…

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It All Adds Up

Microsoft Office is more than a suite of applications.  It’s also an important development platform. A change as big as the new Office 12 user interface has implications for developers.  There are thousands of publicly available add-ins written to take advantage of Office.  Many companies have also written their own suite of internal add-ins which…

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Usability Redux

Answering some of the questions asked about our recent usability efforts… Q: Can you tell us how many usability engineers are involved in all those activities? A: Yes. Q: How do you like the eye-tracking stuff? A: It’s certainly interesting, and no doubt the “heat maps” look impressive.  What we’re going to be focusing on…

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Tipping the Scale (Why the UI, Part 5)

This is the fifth part in my weekly series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 12.  You can read the last installments here: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4. Over the last month, we’ve taken a trip through Ye…

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More Than Just the Two-Way Mirror

I’ve revealed in the past how many of the Office 12 UI decisions we make are influenced by what we learn in collaboration with our usability and research team. Personally, I find usability tests scary.  You have an idea, discuss it with others, work it into a prototype and get excited about it.  You want…

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Mommy, I Made a Microsoft!

My earliest memory of Microsoft: I was 4 years old in the fall of 1980 when my dad brought home the first computer either of us had likely ever seen in person: a TRS-80 Color Computer I, brought home straight from Radio Shack.  Loaded up with 4K of RAM, my father was ready to enter…

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A Disappearing Act

Yesterday, I discussed the way the Ribbon scales to different window sizes.  I’ve also mentioned that you can collapse the Ribbon by double-clicking the selected tab or by pressing Ctrl+F1.  One piece of the design I haven’t yet written about but you might have noticed if you watched yesterday’s movie is what happens to Office…

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Scaling Up, Scaling Down

A question that has been asked a lot is: “How does the Ribbon scale down?” Anytime you see the Ribbon demoed live, you’ll see it at 1024×768 resolution.  Why?  Simply because that’s the native resolution of most projectors.  If you saw my presentation at PDC, you know that even 1024×768 can be fuzzy on a…

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