Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th May 2010 15:41 UTC
Microsoft The Microsoft empire is built upon two pillars: the Windows operating system, and Microsoft Office. Windows 7 made its way unto the scene last year, and now it's time to work on the other pillar. Today, Microsoft officially launched Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Regular customers will be able to purchase the new versions next month, starting at 119 USD.
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Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

If you read the (extremely long) blog posts of the team that designed the Ribbon interface, they say that the one of their main reasons to move to design a different UI was to have only one place for each function.

The rationale was that if each command is in 10 different places there is no definitive place to look if you're trying to find one. For example in Word 2003 if you didn't remember where something was you had to look at the open toolbars, then look through 3+ nested levels of menus, then look at the side-panels, then look at some other kind of side-panels but with different name and then bring up all the hidden toolbars.

With ribbon there is only one place to look for commands. If it's not there then it simply isn't anyware.

He also said that the old UI was holding them back. They wanted to add more stuff to Word and they either had to hide them under 3 levels of menus or invent some confusing new UI widget to contain them (like the two different kind of side-panels). With the Ribbon they can simply add another tab of controls, or if the change doesn't warrant adding a tab, they can put it on a context sensitive one.

I know that a modal interface is a bad interface most times, but when a program becomes so complex maybe it's not so bad. For novice users 90% of what they do is in the main tab and for the remaining 10% they would probably have to search the UI to find what they wanted. For experienced users a good portion of what they do is also on the main tab and for the rest they probably know the shortcut.

So, you may like the Ribbon UI or not, but if you think about it, having an option for the classic UI would be contrary to their design goals.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

So instead of endless menu tree's, we're stuck with the potentially endless scrolling ribbon to accommodate more buttons/widgets/what-have-you that I might want to drop on my ribbon? "Where's that button?" Oh yeah, I have to scroll 4 inches to the right off the screen for it.

The ribbon is like working in your cubicle with all the drawers to your desk and filing cabinets open, but yet you can't close.

I'm not saying we should go back in time to that POS Wordperfect 5.1, but come on!? I would like to get out of Office 2003 where I work. Mainly because we can then export SAP data and not have to worry about row limits in Excel. Unfortunately though, I now have to plan a 6 month long detailed project to roll out a stupid f'ing Office package to a global set of users, in order to minimize impact to the business.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

So instead of endless menu tree's, we're stuck with the potentially endless scrolling ribbon to accommodate more buttons/widgets/what-have-you that I might want to drop on my ribbon?

A UI that has to perform an 'endless' number of functions has to categorize them somehow, be it an 'endless' menu tree, an 'endless' number of tabs or an 'endless' number of whatever else you can think. The difference is that the old UI could not scale any more, so they had to invent a new one.


The ribbon is like working in your cubicle with all the drawers to your desk and filing cabinets open, but yet you can't close.

If you are referring to vertical space, the ribbon consumes less space than the menu plus 2 toolbars (default) of the old UI[1]


Unfortunately though, I now have to plan a 6 month long detailed project to roll out a stupid f'ing Office package to a global set of users, in order to minimize impact to the business.

As I said before, the old UI could not scale any more. The needed to invent a new UI scheme and, whatever that was, users would have to undergo training.


The point of my original message wasn't that the Ribbon is a good interface (although I think it is), but that keeping the old UI around would be against their design goals.

Reply Parent Score: 1