Originally posted by Towel
[B]I shrink from disagreeing with Kickaha, but I don't think the ribbon is an inherently terrible idea. It's essentially graphical menus. You only see one menu at a time, after all, and you can discover the options here by clicking through the tabs - just as easily as clicking through the menu headers. You might even argue it's more discoverable, since with inspired icon design you can take in all the options under a menu at a glace.
Key word there is 'inspired'. A couple of keywords in a menu item is direct info. An icon has to be interpreted, and then that translation to concept remembered. I still say text menus are better for discoverability. *shrug*
Toolbars and such have a place for fast access and efficiency, but they suck for discoverability. The ribbons are just glorified (and hamstrung) toolbars.
The problem I see is that Office's menus got utterly unusable because there were way, way too many items in them, with zero attempt at rational organization.
BINGO. It had nothing to do with menus per se, it was just that they didn't know what the heck to do with them. Now they're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
MS tried to deal with the clutter by "expandable" menus, which was the single worst innovation in the history of menus. With ribbons, the problem is worse: graphics take up much more space and don't lend themselves to submenus. I don't see how MS will provide the same content - there just isn't room. And if there's not room in the graphical menu, where will the left-out options go? There's no place else to put them.
Exactly. As a *supplement* to menus, toolbars are spiffy. I use them, and appreciate them. But MS is trying to replace both toolbars and menus with these new ribbons, and I see nothing but pain for the user. But then, their customer base is used to that, so the poor bastards won't know the difference.
This is where discovery goes out the window. If a function isn't on the default ribbon, the user will have to wade through screen after screen of ribbon-customizing configuration menus to find it. Good luck.
Edit: Actually, we all know how MS will handle it. They won't. There will still be no attempt at rational organization, and they will address the space issue by leaving out the most useful functions and cramming the rest in by using cryptic 8x8 icons that you have to mouse-over-and-wait to decipher. And thus, a potentially useful idea (one not that different from Apple's inspector) will become another hideous lesson in UI disasters.
Ayup, that's my prediction. And you're right, it's not *that* different from the Inspector - except that Apple leaves the menus where they are, and gives them honest to god organization that makes sense. Different tools and UI widgets for different reasons. MS doesn't seem to get that.