Microsoft UI design...

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Microsoft is learning from Apple, hiring more designers for Vista and their apps. Check out the Office 2007 screenshots:



http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archiv...09/547281.aspx



Now I dont understand the large ugly button on the topleft, but the top horizontal bar seems like a good design. The Pages "info requester" is always in the way of my design (1024 x 768).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    It's an improvement to Office XP. Thanks
  • Reply 2 of 46
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 525member
    I agree with the one comment made on that page - it's too much blue and there is very little distinction between different areas of the UI. The black version is much better.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    The top horizontal bar is called a 'ribbon', and it's got to be one of the worst UI throwbacks I've seen yet.



    It's not a toolbar - you only get one at a time, ala a tabbed interface.



    It's not a menu - it doesn't use descriptive terms to explain what things are, or do.



    So you lose all the discoverability of menus, and you lose the instant access of toolbars. Brilliant.



    You know what the reasoning behind this was? "Our users say that it's too hard to find things in menus."



    Now, what's wrong with this reason? It's too hard to find things in THEIR menus. So instead of doing the intelligent thing, and reorganizing their menus... they're getting rid of them completely.



    Yup, look closely, there's no menu bar at all in those screenshots. The claim is that you can revert to the old menus if you want to, but you either get the shitty old menus, or you get this new abomination. Lovely!



    Thank god I don't use Office.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    The 'Office' icon on the top left corner is the menu bar. You click on it, the menu opens.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Oh for god's sake, you're kidding.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    I hope this interface is a preview of things to come in Vista...that way people will for sure switch to OS X.



    edit: The Office icon, AFAICT, is just a 'File' menu.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Oh for god's sake, you're kidding.



    No, I'm not. One click, you get the menu.



  • Reply 8 of 46
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member




    Oh for god's sake... *THAT'S* it??



    So they basically ditched the entire menu system... except for one... which they left in for the hell of it... but it doesn't look like a menu...





    Man, they are *GOOD*.
  • Reply 9 of 46
    bergzbergz Posts: 1,045member
    I have 2 big problems with Word as is.



    1. I can't find anything in the menus. For example: Why is Autocorrect right in the Tools menu, but to turn off spelling and grammar checks I have to go Tools-->Spelling and Grammar-->Options. I don't see why these things are separate, and why the one is 200% easier to access than the other.



    2. The icons are totally counterintuitive. I don't know what those little fuckers are supposed to represent. I'm so glad that Vista is copying OS X's icons.



    This new solution seems to do nothing in terms of these two problems but aggravate them. Just look at how they 'group' buttons with similar functionalities. In one screenshot Paragraph and Text are separate "toolbars" but in another they bunched together in "Basic Text".



    BTW, I can't seem to find the last thread about this, Kickaha... Remember? I posted some Word icons that looked like Miró?



    --B
  • Reply 10 of 46
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    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.



    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. 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. 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.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    lustlust Posts: 83member
    Why are you guys complaining so much? If you don't like it, no one is going to force you to use it. Seriously, it doesn't look *that* bad. It needs some improvement, sure, but it'll still be useable. It will just take some time to get used to like all programs do. Anyone that actually uses the current version of Office should know where everything is and what it does so it doesn't really matter if it's in the "correct" menu or not because they will know where it is. It took me all of one week to get used to these "unorganized" menus and I'm only 15.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    The more they make word look like a web-service, the faster they will loose their business to other web-services.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    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.



    Quote:

    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.



    Quote:

    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. \



    Quote:

    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.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Lust

    ...

    It took me all of one week to get used to these "unorganized" menus and I'm only 15.




    Best Answer to this point. Well, the guys here argueing about

    that particular Office issue reveal the real flaw Office

    and therefor Microsoft has: you almost always have to learn (re-learn).

    And this is what you shouldn't have to do anymore regarding modern

    software - to learn. A modern GUI shouldn't distract an users

    workflow. Ribbons seem to me way too much distraction from the

    work i want to accomplish.

    Hopefully i can hide them entirely, like i do with any toolbar in

    Word. I just have my sole doc sheet visible.

    And hopefully i can accomplish everything by using keys either.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Lust

    Why are you guys complaining so much? If you don't like it, no one is going to force you to use it. Seriously, it doesn't look *that* bad. It needs some improvement, sure, but it'll still be useable. It will just take some time to get used to like all programs do. Anyone that actually uses the current version of Office should know where everything is and what it does so it doesn't really matter if it's in the "correct" menu or not because they will know where it is. It took me all of one week to get used to these "unorganized" menus and I'm only 15.



    I don't really think anyone knows how "good" or "bad" the new UI will be until it's deployed. However, people ARE forced to use specific versions of Office. Certain businesses require the same version of Office due to compatibility reasons. Some organizations accept documents in only certain formats so you have to stay up to date. Colleges usually run the latest version of Office on their lab computers and won't put anything else on it.



    When your time is more valuable, I think a lot of people don't want to (re)learn how to do things. They want to get the job done as quickly as possible because there are far more important things than learning the latest and greatest features of a program. Imagine if you're working and your boss requires you to fill out a nontrivial form for every task you've completed. And then the form keeps changing every so often. The new forms would slow down productivity significantly. That's why you have so many complaints.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Well, that and MS going around spouting "menus are haaaaaaard!" is just idiotic. But, a lot of clueless people will listen, and then make ignorant judgments about other UIs based on that. "Oh wow, your Mac still uses *menus*? Those are so haaaaaaard!"



    When in reality, MS is just screwing over the users again.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    gene cleangene clean Posts: 3,481member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Vox Barbara

    and therefor Microsoft has: you almost always have to learn (re-learn).





    Oh yeah, because with non-Microsoft software, no matter how many new menus and features and GUI changes - you know it, automagically!



    I dislike Microsoft's GUI work as much as any other sane, rational person, but give me a break.
  • Reply 18 of 46
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    The trick is to consolidate features and group them logically into menus. Both of these are things MS never figured how to do correctly. Apple isn't the best at doing that kind of thing either but they're leaps and bounds better than MS.



    The other trick is to keep things simple. When I see features like Word Art and shitty drawing tools in a word processor, I can't help but roll my eyes. It's TOO fucking MUCH.



    Apple knows when to seperate an app. This is exactly why we don't see something like Entourage or MSN Messenger from Apple. They're bloated software that try to do a zillions things that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.



    The same can be said about the Office suite. MS thought it would be a good idea to have shared libraries (drawing, web tools, stat tools) inside all their Office suite apps, but that just adds bloat.



    How many here actually use the drawing tools is Office on a regular basis? And how many here think these tools are good? I thought so (and if you answered yes to both questions, pack your bags and go to Hollywood because you've got a promising career in comedy.)



    Again, I'm not saying Apple is perfect...Apple is also adding junk that can better spun off to another app or a 'Font' and 'Color' type applet available to all apps...junk such as graph tools and graphics tools. But they've not reached the point MS has reached in bloatedness.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gene Clean

    Oh yeah, because with non-Microsoft software, no matter how many new menus and features and GUI changes - you know it, automagically!



    I dislike Microsoft's GUI work as much as any other sane, rational person, but give me a break.




    Not automatically, but almost so. Back in the nineties

    generally Apple software was designed to accomplish

    certain tasks in the simpliest and most intuitive way. If you "learned"

    one app you knew the other app yet.

    Okay Apple messed around with this simple Guide of

    usability. Time changed.

    Though, I didn't say other software companies than MS

    are king in UI development. But i keep standfast saying MS is

    king in messing up UI Guidelines. MS software

    almost always seems to me like bloated apps

    which claim to be boss in everything, but put

    the custumer in a mere loss. Everytime.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    The top horizontal bar is called a 'ribbon', and it's got to be one of the worst UI throwbacks I've seen yet.



    It's not a toolbar - you only get one at a time, ala a tabbed interface.



    It's not a menu - it doesn't use descriptive terms to explain what things are, or do.



    So you lose all the discoverability of menus, and you lose the instant access of toolbars. Brilliant.



    You know what the reasoning behind this was? "Our users say that it's too hard to find things in menus."



    Now, what's wrong with this reason? It's too hard to find things in THEIR menus. So instead of doing the intelligent thing, and reorganizing their menus... they're getting rid of them completely.



    Yup, look closely, there's no menu bar at all in those screenshots. The claim is that you can revert to the old menus if you want to, but you either get the shitty old menus, or you get this new abomination. Lovely!



    Thank god I don't use Office.




    No, it's offering the spacially minimized nature of a textual menu, while incorporating a visual/spacial element that has the power of toolbar to provide the user with quick information and visually identifiable functions, yet can easily be switched between modes of operation. The same thing is used in Dreamweaver, and it works great.



    And btw, who uses menus or toolbars anyways? Keyboard all the way, I don't care how they choose to dumb it down for those mouse-clickers.
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