The Story of the Ribbon

I was reading through commentary from people who attended last week’s MIX conference in Las Vegas. Running across Miguel de Icaza’s kind words reminded me that I hadn’t posted a follow-up about my MIX talk yet. Last week, I presented a session at MIX called “The Story of the Ribbon.” I talked a bit about…

50

The Spelling Check is Complete

Yesterday, I mentioned the new contextual spelling feature that is part of Office 2007. Writing the post reminded me of a story from years past… One of the things we’ve tried to do from time to time is reduce the number of modal alerts that pop up as part of working with Office. Most people…

49

You Windows 3.1 Lovers!

Earlier this week, I somewhat humorously referred to people who close windows on the left side as “Windows 3.1 lovers.” What did I mean by that? The now-ubiquitous close button in the upper-right hand corner of windows was only added to the operating system in Windows 95. Previously, as you can see in this picture of Word 6.0…

78

New Rectangles to the Rescue? (Why the UI, Part 4)

This is the fourth part in my eight-part series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 2007. Last time I discussed the UI mechanisms added to Office 2000 intended to reduce the perception of bloat: Adaptive Menus and Toolbar Rafting. I did…

112

Combating the Perception of Bloat (Why the UI, Part 3)

This is the third part in my eight-part series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 2007. Last time we started a walk down memory lane by taking a look at the first five major versions of Word for Windows. I ended…

31

Ye Olde Museum Of Office Past (Why the UI, Part 2)

This is the second part in my eight-part series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 2007. Today, I want to take you on a journey. A journey that starts back into the cold recesses of the mid-1980s, back into the days…

36

The Why of the New UI (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of entries in which I outline some of the reasons we decided to pursue a new user interface for Office 2007. Any discussion about the graphical user interface of computers today has to start all the way back at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the…

36

The Long Road to Contextual Tabs

Contextual Tabs are among the most important components of the Office 2007 user interface. They provide quick access to the contextual features which work with an object, much like context menus do. When you’re working on a table, we add the Table Tools to the set of features presented. When there’s no table present, the…

17

Which menu items get icons?

One of the mysteries of the menus-and-toolbars based UI of Office 97-2003 is “which menu items get icons?” If you look at the top-level menus of any of the Office programs, you’ll see that some items have icons and some don’t. As it was told to me by one of the designers who worked on…

23

The Feature Bob Invented

It was a cold winter afternoon early in 2004, and we were in the midst of doing some of the first usability tests with a working, clickable prototype of the Ribbon.  (Prior to that, most of our prototypes had been paper-based.) This particular prototype was put together in PowerPoint as a fairly inexpensive way to…

29