Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Mar 2006 23:28 UTC, submitted by Jane Walker
Features, Office At CeBIT today, Microsoft unveiled an updated version of their 'ribbon' user interface, used in Office 2007. They even set up a special page for it. Jensen Harris of Microsoft explains more about it on his blog. On a related note, this article goes a little deeper into the OpenOffice.org vs. MS Office debate.
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Bad link
by wilburpan on Thu 9th Mar 2006 23:43 UTC
wilburpan
Member since:
2005-08-09

The link about the OO.o vs. MS Office article goes to Jensen Harris' blog.

I was really confused for a second.

Reply Score: 1

Nice
by FrankNBeans on Thu 9th Mar 2006 23:46 UTC
FrankNBeans
Member since:
2006-01-30

I like that interface a lot. It's like the WMP10 style, but better.

Reply Score: 1

Absolute Doo Doo
by Quoth_the_Raven on Thu 9th Mar 2006 23:53 UTC
Quoth_the_Raven
Member since:
2005-11-15

Well, it certainly doesn't look any less cluttered to me. On top of that, it's bound to be extremely confusing to those used to the current UI. Way to go MS. When are you folks going to hire a decent design team?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Absolute Doo Doo
by hyper on Fri 10th Mar 2006 09:14 UTC in reply to "Absolute Doo Doo"
hyper Member since:
2005-06-29

don't use it if you don't like it. meh...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Absolute Doo Doo
by matthew_i on Fri 10th Mar 2006 10:09 UTC in reply to "Absolute Doo Doo"
matthew_i Member since:
2005-07-14

Get off their backs. They are trying to innovate. Go use your [insert favorite DE here] and waste your time with comment's like this in [insert competing DE's IRC channel here].

Reply Score: 1

Office Button
by markpeak on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:01 UTC
markpeak
Member since:
2005-07-06

Seems ugly at first. But it is actually File menu in "Start" style pane.

Reply Score: 2

Long live to OO :D
by GStepper on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:09 UTC
GStepper
Member since:
2006-03-08

This is pure Microsoft design ......

They burn millions (billions ?) every year in R&D to create things like this.... lol

It will fit perfectly with Vista... but never on my computers !

Reply Score: 1

Amazes me
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:12 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

It always amazes me how people can judge entire products on the basis of a few screenshots.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Amazes me
by mlopes on Fri 10th Mar 2006 01:16 UTC in reply to "Amazes me"
mlopes Member since:
2005-07-18

I suppose people are judging the interface not the entire program. And it seems pretty fair to me.

I don't see anyone claiming that the application is slow or bloated or whatever. Simply put, people are criticizing the interface and screenshots fit that purpose almost perfectly.

Obviously, you can't infer about its usability. Nevertheless, you can try guessing what will be people's reactions to the changes. And I, for one, don't think they'll be good. I bet Microsoft will be releasing a SP1 with the option to revert to the old interface.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Amazes me
by historyb on Fri 10th Mar 2006 18:25 UTC in reply to "Amazes me"
historyb Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not just on a few screen shots, it's on how crappy MS stuff is in general.

Reply Score: 1

Good to see some UI innovation
by FreakyT on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:12 UTC
FreakyT
Member since:
2005-07-17

I personally like the new look, though I'll have to reserve judgement until the final version comes out. It's good to see that MS is finally innovating on the UI front, instead of just rehashing what's already been done.

I hope this interface works as well as it looks; I think it will, given MS's track record. (IMO, Office XP/2003 has the best UI of any office suite, at least in terms of finding what's needed.)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good to see some UI innovation
by GStepper on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:22 UTC in reply to "Good to see some UI innovation"
GStepper Member since:
2006-03-08

"IMO, Office XP/2003 has the best UI of any office suite, at least in terms of finding what's needed."

Did you ever tried/used "Office 2004" on Mac ?

To me it's the best version they ever released...

Reply Score: 1

jayson.knight
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm guessing no; if you had you'd be amazed at how much more intuitive the new interface is. I've been using the pre-releases for months now and it's absolutely dreadful having to use Office 2003 at work now.

MS spends a ton of money annually on usability, and they just get it. Of all the commercial consumer level products on the market now, Office is probably the most polished, refined, and mature that there is. A little pricey, but well worth it in the end.

I think it's also a good kick in the butt for some of the alternatives out there.

Reply Score: 2

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

The thing is, from a business perspective, you really don't have to use it to be a naysayer.

The problem is, that when using an office suit what takes the most time isn't the process of getting the characters, diagrams, spread sheet formulas to appear on the screen. What takes the most time is to figure out what to wright, draw or calculate... This time will not change regardless how good a new office suit is, and as we all know, in business time is money.

This means that you will get very little return of investment on an upgrade, even if the new version is very good. It will have about the same effect as putting up new curtains in the windows or put a flower on the table.

I'm sure that upgrading will make your employees somewhat more efficient, but not all that sure that it will make your business more effective.

I would think that most businesses would be much better off spending their money on e.g. more advertisment instead of upgrading their existing office suits.

Reply Score: 1

matthew_i Member since:
2005-07-14

Of all the commercial consumer level products on the market now, Office is probably the most polished, refined, and mature that there is.

Yeah, I would say office is one of Microsoft's best products. It is good to see they finally decided to spread some of that goodness to windows and IE (let's hope the deliver).

Spread the Microsoft love!

Reply Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, I would say office is one of Microsoft's best products. It is good to see they finally decided to spread some of that goodness to windows and IE (let's hope the deliver).

Spread the Microsoft love!


The thing I find funny too is this; the only people participating in the slagging match against Microsoft are so-called 'arm chair IT experts' - you know the ones at work, they do nothing all day, then jump out of the wood work, after reading a solitary magazine article claiming that all can be solved in the world by simply moving to Linux/OpenOffice.org.

For me, I'll reserve my judgement till I see Office 2007 running on Windows Vista; then atleast we'll be able to see two products, developed roughly in tandem, and whether the organisation has a single vision for both products besides the two merely co-existing in the same time and space - aka, better intergration between OS and office suite.

IE 7 looking good, and I think what made them get back onto the boat is this; their whole 'Live vision' and the realisation that if Firefox were to gain more market share, they would be in a world of trouble, unable to provide net services using their XAML and the likes over the internet - so yes, in some small way, competition has forced Microsoft to improve, which is a good thing.

But with that being said, Linux and UNIX desktops in general have a LONG way to go before I'm willing to load it onto my desktop - maybe 3 years ago, I would have been happy to load it on, and content with fiddling around with things, recompiling packages, tweaking the settings and the likes, but I've moved on, I'm an old fart (24), and I no longer see the 'thrill' in tweaking, I just want my damn computer to work as my time is now occupied with more pressing matters like university, boyfriends and the like.

Reply Score: 1

...
by suryad on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:32 UTC
suryad
Member since:
2005-07-09

I love this look. I love the look of Vista. I am looking forward to the new releases of Microsoft software.

Reply Score: 4

RE: ...Me too
by NeoX on Fri 10th Mar 2006 02:29 UTC in reply to "..."
NeoX Member since:
2006-02-19

I am with ya on this one. Personally I think it is exciting and cool when they mix things up a bit. It makes it fun again to learn some new tricks.

Reply Score: 1

Second article links to the wrong page
by Finalzone on Fri 10th Mar 2006 00:42 UTC
Finalzone
Member since:
2005-07-06

http://www.forbes.com/technology/2006/03/09/torvalds-linux-licensin... is about Linus' interview not little deeper into the OpenOffice.org vs. MS Office debate. Please correct it.

Reply Score: 1

Ugly
by octico on Fri 10th Mar 2006 01:38 UTC
octico
Member since:
2006-03-10

Really it's already starting to look like crayola colors again!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugly
by jayson.knight on Fri 10th Mar 2006 03:04 UTC in reply to "Ugly"
jayson.knight Member since:
2005-07-06

If you read Jensen's post, you'll see that it's themeable (there' a shot of the black theme at the bottom).

Reply Score: 1

It's good but..
by Nelson on Fri 10th Mar 2006 01:51 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Sorry if this is commong knowledge but didn't they say the Aero UI wasn't final? Maybe we're looking at the next Vista UI? I personally can see myself switching to classic mighty quick if this happens.

However I really like how Office is turning out, I think it will be too dramatic a change and I hate when they do this. People have taken classes on office and it seems Office 12 changes everything. Comments on this?

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's good but..
by cerbie on Fri 10th Mar 2006 02:03 UTC in reply to "It's good but.."
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

Those people who take classes on Office need to take classes on desktop computing, not specific applications. Learn the metaphors, learn the paradigms they have been molded into, and you can figure out just about anything.

It's the give a man a fish, teach him to fish thing. teaching a specific subset of knowledge, rather than the skills to divine that knowledge, is a flawed way to teach and learn.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It's good but..
by Nelson on Fri 10th Mar 2006 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE: It's good but.."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Fully agreed, sadly little is done to actually teach them why to use the things and what they pertain to. It seems more like "Here is this feature, here is how it looks whe n you use it: Cool huh?".

For example I'm currently taking an Office 2003 Class (As extremely boring as it is) and this is how things are done. This may not be the ideal way, but I doubt the teachers are exactly looking torwards the future. Else they wouldn't be teaching us Office 2003 which won't be used as widely as Office 12 in the future (Assuming it doesn't suck)

Reply Score: 1

Looks interesting
by cerbie on Fri 10th Mar 2006 01:58 UTC
cerbie
Member since:
2006-01-02

I can't decide whether I like it or not, but with OOo having done little so far in 2.0 (actually, I dislike the Stylist behavior, now), it will be interesting. One problem with such change is that it hasn't been done well before, so there is little to do except wait and try it out.

I think it will turn out better, though, simply because nothing has changed since about Office 97 that has truly been meaningful. Between this, Vista (it's primary host, I imagine), and KDE 4, 2007 will be an interesting year for desktop OSes.

Reply Score: 1

Looks good to me
by NeoX on Fri 10th Mar 2006 02:26 UTC
NeoX
Member since:
2006-02-19

I personally think it looks great. I like the contextual tabs and the new glossy look. It's got my vote.

Now performance is another issue. Hopefully it performs as good as it looks.

Reply Score: 2

Some of you really are drooling over this
by Gkyluig on Fri 10th Mar 2006 09:37 UTC
Gkyluig
Member since:
2006-03-10

Having maxed out its market share among non-drooling adults, Microsoft has finally decided to expand its customer base to include toddlers and the mildly retarded.

An insightful strategy--Microsoft knows most current computer users are basically happy with the copy of Office 2000 they pirated from the office or college, the rest pretending to be happy with OpenOffice. Few intelligent beings will be willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for new software with the same features under a logo transmogrified by the latest batch of art school dropouts.

Making that logo an Easter Egg concealing the essential features its current user base won’t be able to find upon first opening this version is an entirely new trick. Even better than hiding scattered menu items individually.

This is a big step backwards. Microsoft is returning us to a cruel world where every program has a proprietary UI, where similar tasks are accomplished in jarringly different ways and color schemes clash across the monitor. Office shouldn’t need SkinsTM, it should use the interface provided by the Operating System, as configured by the user. I don’t want to spend hours constructing a skin to make a Word window look like every other window on my desktop.

But I guess we’re not supposed to be using more than one application at a time. Nope, need something that “minimizes distraction.” Multitasking is so 1990’s: Meet the new Office 12 for the 1980’s! Seriously, this looks like something running on an Atari, which makes sense given Microsoft’s recent release of the Lynx 2.0, or as they call it in the East, “Origami.”

Still, some will be tricked into buying Office 12. And the rest of us, thanks to GalleriesTM, will be treated to a whole new generation of nearly identical presentations and résumés.

But it’s worth it, so long as Timmy coos and giggles as he types his first words. At this rate, it won’t be long before they add a little animated doggy or paperclip or something.

Reply Score: 3

andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

Had to mod that up, very funny, even though I actually like the new UI.

Reply Score: 1

At least
by Gkyluig on Fri 10th Mar 2006 09:54 UTC
Gkyluig
Member since:
2006-03-10

OpenOffice folks will be happy. Pretty soon OpenOffice will finally look more like Microsoft Office than even Microsoft Office itself.

Reply Score: 2

Feeling sorry for MS
by AmigaRobbo on Fri 10th Mar 2006 12:42 UTC
AmigaRobbo
Member since:
2005-11-15

In some ways they're dammed if they do, new interface on Office, Dammed if they don't, XP mark II design for Vista.

Almost makes you feel sorry for 'em...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Feeling sorry for MS
by Peragrin on Fri 10th Mar 2006 18:26 UTC in reply to "Feeling sorry for MS"
Peragrin Member since:
2006-01-05

That's my feeling on it. For once MSFT is really trying something new and MSFT is getting bashed for it.

I am leaving judgement for the day I actually use it. Of course that will probably be no earlier than 2010 as I don't use all the features found in MSFT Office 97, why would I need office 2007?

Reply Score: 2

Some color changes
by mOrPhie on Fri 10th Mar 2006 15:30 UTC
mOrPhie
Member since:
2006-01-02

It's not my color. I liked the colors of previous betas better. But hey, as if a change of color changes the complete product. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Neat Info
by Gunblade on Fri 10th Mar 2006 18:03 UTC
Gunblade
Member since:
2005-07-21

I like the interface change, just from the screenshot the only thing I don't like is the huge office logo up there on the left.

Just the change of how you look at font sizes/types is nice. Also what is with all this talk about clutter/confusion. It's the same god damn names as the other drop down menus almost, along with the icons. I am sure you can drag them out as toolbars too.

Some of you crtique it so much because it's MS. Uh hello? AbiWord, OOo have the same thing going! The tools/icons are at the top!

And then comes the crayola remarks! in windows xp, office 2003 changes it's colors to match what theme you have. If you have silver it's silver, if your on the old grey look like 2000 it's grey etc. even if you use visual styles it adapts, and trys to not contrast.

I look forward to getting my hands on '07. I am pretty sure though that I will want the new powerpoint. I bet the jump in what you can do with that app will have excelled incredibly.

Reply Score: 1

Inconsistency
by smoke on Fri 10th Mar 2006 21:25 UTC
smoke
Member since:
2005-07-08

I hate when companies start putting entirey different looks on different programs. This is after they had created systemwide themes. I accepted this for media players as like sure media players have custom controls that need their own resources but this isn't a media player!

I can't say though that Apple is any better in this regard as they have been doing this too but at least it seems that it is a bit easier to do something about it on the mac (themepark's templates and shapeshifter) whereas the theming software on windows doesn't let you change the resources in individual applications the same way.

Of course it's just my opinion and others might disagree with it but I don't care.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Inconsistency
by Gkyluig on Fri 10th Mar 2006 23:22 UTC in reply to "Inconsistency"
Gkyluig Member since:
2006-03-10

That's why people stopped using DOS. Both users and developers benefit when people can automatically relate to an interface for the first time because of a common layout and certain shared expectations of how a program will work. This foundation is generally provided by the operating system's GUI.

Sure, some developers put out software ignoring the Windows Interface Guidelines. And a lot of people just don't like using those programs, myself included.

I just hate it when Microsoft's flagship software product takes the lead in this regard.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Inconsistency
by kaiwai on Sat 11th Mar 2006 05:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Inconsistency"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Considering that the HIG is like the bible - open to a wide variety of interpretations, I don't see anything wrong with the direction Microsoft is taking - they said it over 3 years ago that they're going to be moving towards a more tasked based user interface - I don't know where you've been hiding, but even for a FreeBSD head like myself 3 years ago, I remember something that easy.

As for the new interface; Microsoft has said that there is NOTHING stopping ANYONE from wanting to adopt that sort of interface if they so wish - sure, a tweak here and there for application specifics, but from what it looks like, you could apply the user interface to a number of different scenarios, and still come out with a useable product.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Inconsistency
by thecwin on Sat 11th Mar 2006 21:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Inconsistency"
thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

But it's not just Office.. All the Vista-targetted apps from MS seem to be conflicting colours and all different layouts :S

Too bad since, I love consistency.. Wonder if Excel still has different close semantics to Word, where clicking the main "X" button would close all workbooks, not just the one being worked on.

Reply Score: 1

Well....
by Sakki on Sat 11th Mar 2006 10:17 UTC
Sakki
Member since:
2006-03-11

I think that It's funny how people seem to hate everything that Microsoft does, while overlooking every fatal error that opensource software makes.

Mr.Staffords article demonstrates this point very well. He seems to be annoyed with people that like to keep their existing MS-Office, rather than changing to Openoffice. Or as he puts it himself: "Stop whining and embrace change"

When it, however, comes to an updated version of MS-Office with an updated UI, that remark does no longer apply.

The fact is that MS-office is both faster and easier to use than OOo. (On my computer anyways). A few years ago I worked at a software company and had permission to a copy of Office 2000 on my own computer. The suite worked as it was supposed to and I never had any problems with it. However, when I left the company I had to uninstall Office from my computer. So, since I was not willing to pay for MS-officve, I installed openoffice instead. I have been using it since then. And I tell you: Not even the newest version of OOo comes anywhere close to the 2000 version of MS-Office. There are always problems with OOo.

So finally let me say that I like the new UI interface. It seems to be both easier (=faster) to use and is looks really great.

I have decided that it's time to leave OOo behind and buy a copy of MS-office. Even despite the fact that it will cost me $149 for the Student version.

Reply Score: 1