New Year, New Organization

It’s a new year!  Happy 2006!  I hope you were able to enjoy some time
off with family, friends, or maybe just catching up on some reading, video
games, woodworking, cooking, football…

If you’re back in the office for the first time today and finding it hard to
concentrate on "real work," may I mention that the
full video from my BayCHI
talk last month at PARC in Palo Alto is now online
.  It requires a
relatively recent version of
QuickTime to view on Windows (let me know if you find
another way to play .m4v files), but the quality is good and it contains my
slides, demos, and of course, embarrassing video of me canvassing the stage. 
If you don’t have time to watch the video, you could also
grab the audio podcast
or just the slides from the event to peruse at your leisure.

Thanks much to Steve Williams from BayCHI for working hard to get the slides,
audio podcast, and video of the talk posted so quickly.

In order to get us off to a good start in this new year, I worked on a
reorganization of the blog to make it easier for to find previously posted
articles on a particular subject.  With new people coming every day to read
for the first time, it can be hard to "get up to speed" just by browsing

In particular, I introduced a number of more descriptive categories and
re-categorized all of my previous posts into the new system.  To see the
new categories, look in the "Post Categories" section in the right-hand column (you
might need to click the triangle next to the title to expand the list.)

The All Office 12 UI Posts category is the most inclusive category. 
It contains all the information I post about Office 12, plain and simple,
omitting only the few non-Office 12 posts I make (such as giving out tips about
using current versions of Office.)

Contextual UI includes posts about context in interaction design,
including context menus, Contextual Tabs, and the MiniBar in Office 12.

Cool Office 12 Features will have the continuation of the series I
started last month of new features I think are cool in Office 12.

The Developer category will continue to contain information about add-ins
and programmability with regard to the new Office 12 user interface.  Much
more about this area is coming soon.

FAQ: This is where I’m going to put posts that answer questions people
frequently ask about the UI and also information to counter some of the popular
myths about Office 12.

Fonts: This is where posts about fonts and typography issues in the
Office 12 user interface will go; you can read several posts already about the
new document and UI fonts in Office 12.

The Galleries category contains tons of information about galleries, Live
Preview, Three-Stage Formatting, and all of the Results-Oriented Design concepts
in Office 12.

The History category contains any post with interesting historical
tidbits, including stories about previous versions of Office or other software. 
Basically anything I think has an historical perspective.

Keyboard is the place to look for information on keyboard-related issues
with the Office 12 user interface.

I don’t make many
Off-Topic Posts
, but occasionally I get the urge and
when I do, you’ll find them here.  I mostly use this category for one-off
messages (such as the one letting you know I would be On Hiatus for two

Ribbon is the place to learn all of the nitty gritty details about the
Ribbon–what it is, how it works, etc.

Tips and Tricks includes useful tidbits about using Office–interesting
features or explanations for how things work that might make your life a little

The UI Design Issues category contains general thoughts about designing
the user experience of software.  Usually, I tie it in to some specific
aspect of Office 12, but generally the ideas are more universal.

Usability is the place to read about the usability and research efforts
around validating the Office 12 user interface as well as usability slants on
interaction design.

Why the New UI? contains posts explaining why we thought it was the right
time to introduce a new user interface in Office 12.  This includes a lot
of historical and statistical background on the way Microsoft software and
Office in particular developed over time.

I hope the new categories will make it easier for you to find the article you’re
looking for on return visits to the blog.  Also note that each category has
a RSS feed associated with it–just click the "RSS" link next to any category to
subscribe to it.

I’ve also made a few minor improvements to the site, including (hopefully!) fixing the issue
many people were seeing with corrupt posts on pre-XP SP2 versions of Internet
Explorer.  If you’re still seeing problems, please
let me know.

Here’s to a fun and productive 2006!

Comments (8)

  1. Max Palmer says:


    Thanks for fixing thecomments probnem. Happy new year to all.


  2. For the BayCHI video, I’ve managed to play it with VLC Media Player which is a truly awesome piece of software. If you’ve never seen it before I recomend you find out about it, and all the cool things you can do with it.

  3. Steve Bentley says:

    Great post! Thanks for the organization work – you made that a very handy tool.

  4. Mike says:

    I second the recommendation for VLC Media Player.

    Just watched the vid, fantastic stuff just like the blog 😉

  5. ChrisC says:

    I got burned on this one yesterday (1/3/06)

    FYI: Macromedia Flash Player v8.0 is only MOSTLY compatible with previous versions of Flash

    Here’s an editied corporate warning I got today at a company I’m working at. (after installing it from BayCHI site yesterday and had two web apps stop working)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Do not install Macromedia Flash Player v8.0

    There is a future plan to upgrade to Macromedia Flash Player v8.0 for all [name] employees. A sampling of [app type] were tested where Macromedia Flash Player v8.0 was installed on workstations, and based on the results of that testing, an estimated percentage of 50% of [app1] and 33% of [app2] will not work properly if the new version is installed.

    Action Required

    Please do not install Macromedia Flash Player v8.0 to your computer as there is a high probability that ____ will not launch and operate as designed. The appropriate parties are investigating the resolution to this issue. As information becomes available, more details will be posted.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    (sent to the whole *$#@% division by my supervisor’s, manager’s, boss’s, boss’s admin)

    Who knew? [sigh] that’s the last time I answer yes to a Flash install.

    Hope this isn’t too late to help someone,

    -Chris C.


    Sorry about the [___] above; but as a contractor it is hard to tell sometimes what people think is ‘classified’ info.

    At a publically traded company I have found it is worse because if you ask someone they ask someone else, who asks the lawyers, who have to ask the ‘Sarb-Ox’ lawyers if there could be a reporting implication for this type of question… etc. [barf] 🙂

  6. Brad Corbin says:

    Great video. I had already downloaded and listened to the audio stream, but the most impressive thing about seeing you in action is the SPEED and EASE of creating great-looking documents.

    I am a big-time Word user, and I can attest that all the stuff you were doing with one click (title page, fancy page-number header, margin-anchored text-wrapping graphic, etc.) would usually take HOURS to make look right in Word. Just too hard to tweak all the little details to make it look right.

    Congrats on a great looking product so far. I’m looking forward to Beta 2, when I can finally get my hands on it myself.