A major component of the work around improving the Office 12 user interface is
rethinking feature organization.
explained in past posts, there are many reasons why commands ended up in
certain menus and toolbars–not all of them logical. Most of the decisions
made sense in isolation, but over two decades, the overall model hasn’t hung
together very well.
One of the myths I hear from Office enthusiasts a lot when we sit down to chat
is “but the current UI is already organized totally logically.”
It seems to me that in this case, familiarity might be clouding rational judgment.
Not that I underestimate or undervalue the importance of familiarity. The
fact that some people can master even the most complex tools shows that any lack
of user-friendliness can be made up by sheer time and experience. No
question about it.
In fact, this is why we have taken so seriously the task of reorganizing Office.
We only did so after many years when it became clear that the benefits of doing
hugely outweighed the advantages of familiarity with the current system, however
But, at the same time, let’s not romanticize the “idealness” of the current
Office menu structure either. It may feel familiar to experts, but that
doesn’t mean it’s the best system for helping people find functionality in
Just as a simple example, here’s a fun Monday quiz for all you Word gurus out
What do the following Word 2003 features have in
- Find out the current number of words in the document
- Use voice recognition to control Office
- Create a Document Workspace
- Print envelopes
- Open the Visual Basic editor to write macros
- Hyphenate the text in your document
- Merge the contents of multiple documents
- Start a video conference using NetMeeting
- Tweak your AutoCorrect settings