What do you think of the Office 2007 "Ribbon" Menu?

Ribbon UI

  • Like It

    Votes: 8 53.3%
  • Don't Like It

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • Undecided

    Votes: 4 26.7%

  • Total voters
    15

Administrator

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I remember in the past, such as when Office 2003 came out, I hated the UI initially. Such as the new list bar (left navigation) system. Then I got acquainted with it and liked it. I'm not too sure about this new Ribbon UI system. As divelements posted in the Vendor Announcements forum today, it's probably one of the better implementations I've seen so far. However, I haven't actually used Office 2007 yet.

What are your opinions on this new ribbon UI system? Like it, hate it, undecided? Do you think our more computer challenged end-users are going to understand it? That is my main concern "change." The "elderly" out there that are just good enough on a computer to tackle the web much less e-mail, how are they going to handle the ribbon ui?

Share your opinions...and will you be implementing this in your future UI's?
 

TechGnome

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I haven't seen it yet, so I can't render a valid jugment..... but I'm getting slightly annoyed at the constant changing of interfaces for Office.... Granted some of it is for the better, but .... *sigh* .....

-tg
 

vis781

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I personally think they have over done here. The Ribbon control is way to over complicated, sure it's got loads of functionality and it looks good, but i don't think i could be bothered to play around with such a large control. Maybe i'm a bit old fashioned but i like me toolbars slimline and lightweight.
 

cjard

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I think the Ribbon is great. The cynic in me tells me that it's a tabstrip with context sensitive panel content. Woo. Nothing we havent had for, ooh, since Win95's Display Properties dialog :)

Bear in mind that we are programmers; technical people capable of looking at an interface of 1500 commands. Office is used by people who think very differently; people who still use the space bar to push text over to the right hand side of a page, because they just dont understand how to put tabs on the top ruler.

Yes the new Ribbon commands represent a limited subset and may not let you exploit the full power of the featureset, but the important point of note is that for ordinary users, it find and makes easy for them the features they had no idea how to find or use before, and its a good step towards what computer UIs need to be.. Having a bunch of menus and toolbars visible all the time with commands that are inapplicable is a waste of screen space and makes the core commands harder to find.

Improvement requires change, and given that Office 2007 comes 4 years after the last major update, i wouldnt say its mutating so fast as to be unworkable
 

vis781

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Ok, here it is in all it's complex glory. You are probably gonna need to create a whole new training scheme just to use it. It's fine for people who have confindence with the aspects of the computing world, but as Cjard has said there are people out there who use pc's but don't like them. I'm willing to say that it will work fine for office 2007 where you need all those different option. But in a averaged sized commercial application is all that really necessary? There is nothing new here, just a Menu Bar and a ToolBar combined into one great big fat heavyweight control.
 

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JuggaloBrotha

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i havent used it yet, i also havent used office 2007 but if it's like windows vista then we're all in for some very tripping screen effects

i was playing with windows vista the other day and the default installation of vista has it set up like some of the computer graphics in those futuristic (usually sci-fi) movies

i almost flipped out when i minimized firefox for the first time on vista... it was trippy
 

cjard

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Juggalo; Have you seen any modern Mac operating systems? I just wonder because I've never seen vista, but I've seen the newest MacOS and it was very nice.. I jsut wondered if MS were back to using mac as inspiration for GUI ideas.. like 20 years ago :)
 

JuggaloBrotha

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i used the Mac X (Mac 10) operating system and it was kind of trippy, but not trippy like vista is

i'm still looking forward to using an actual release version of vista when it goes public, it's still better than winXP is
 

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My prediction -the ribbon will die a short life

Well, after having survived the Windows Vista and Office 2007 experience and I am now using the RTM editions, I have more feedback and predictions on the Ribbon UI.

There is a lot of hussle and bussle buzzing around the component vendors about Microsoft's attempt to "protect" the Ribbon UI. Component vendors are posting disclaimers about you having to abide by Microsoft's restrictions regarding use of this UI, even though they replicated it with their components. Whatever! Is the pot calling the kettle black? Is Vista borrowing a heck of a lot from their good buddy MAC? My Vista computer sure makes me think it's a MAC now, is that a brand recognition fight waiting to happen? Hmmm - doubt Apple wants to fight the giant, we'll see!

Now, back to the Ribbon UI. Some believe Microsoft spent millions on usability testing, I'm not sure if there is proof to that pudding or just because it's Microsoft, they must have! Well, I spent a few hours today working in Excel and I was nearly lost trying to find features such as the "Replace" option - where is my Edit menu! I finally found that! Then I want to turn off Zero values, yep, used to be in Tools...Options, I had to resort to the help system - now that's a great test of usability! I found I had to click the "orb" (or Quick Access menu as they call it) then find out where the heck Advanced Options (on the bottom of the flyout menu) and then find the dang setting in there! Extremely frustrating. On my 19" seconary monitor, 1280x1024 resolution, I felt the ribbon was eating up too much screen real-estate! Much less my frustration with ClearType that actually makes me think I need an eye exam as everything looks a tad fuzzy now!

So, my prediction is the Ribbon UI will NOT succeed and will NOT be in the following version of Microsoft Office, umm, is that going to be 2011? There is a reason we've had menus and toolbars all these years, it is a successful, predictable, habit forming interface. To change one program drastically, I would not expect Adobe to follow, much less many other programs. Only time will tell the true fate of the Ribbon UI, but I'm guessing it's going to be a very noisy first year after Office System 2007 launches to the public.

The ease of development these days causes us to put too much cosmocity in our software. People want what does the task! They don't need 50 million options, they don't want to spend all day at the computer like we do, they want to run the app, do what they NEED to do, then close it and move on! If I, a developer, has to dig into the help file to find the option to disable zero value that's been in one place all these Excel years, the interface is a failure IMHO!
 

VBHuguenot

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Its a bloody nightmare. Documentation is so limited. It gives you an example of what they want you to develop with it, not what you can actual do with the darn thing. I will never touch a ribbon with a 10 foot pole.
 

JuggaloBrotha

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Now that I've used Windows Vista for a few weeks, I'm looking to replace it with XP again. XP w/ SP2 simply does a much better job than Vista. Also I'm sick and tired of Vista crashing whenever I print to an HP printer and the lack of logitech mouse support in Vista is appalling. Vista is almost worse than WinME.

As for Office 2007 and the 'Ribbon' it's helped me a little but all-in-all it's a giant pain in the ***. It took me 30 minutes in Excel to find the "Print Area" when is on the File menu in all previous versions. In Access, I still can't find the 'Totals' toggle button in the query builder. I double this ribbon crap will stick around past this version.
 

JohnH

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I have't tried Office 2007, but another application I use has changed to ribbon style menues. It took a few days to get used to it (very frequent use), but I like it, it livens up. While taking a little more space from the document area, it also has a more direct UI for the most used choices in context. This app don't have nearly as many menu choices as Office, so it doesn't get as intricate as I suspect Office menues has become (taken only from what I read). As for Office, once you figured out where they put it, doesn't it become easier by time?
 
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