Critiquing the Office 2007 (was Re: Microsoft tolicense Office 2007 UI system)

28 Nov 2006 - 2:27pm
7 years ago
10 replies
540 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

Dmitry,

The pdf link on that page seems to be broken. any thoughts? Having not been there I would love to look at the slides.

Mark

On Tuesday, November 28, 2006, at 02:14PM, "Dmitry Nekrasovski" <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
>Russ,
>
>Here is a link to a fairly detailed presentation Jensen did here in
>Vancouver (probably similar to the BayCHI talk Dave referred to):
>
>http://www.vanue.com/2006/03/20/beyond-menus-and-toolbars-in-microsoft-office/
>
>Dmitry
>
>On 11/28/06, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
>> Dave,
>>
>> Can you share any links to the published detail on the
>> research they conducted?
>>
>> Fwiw, and maybe because I haven't moved through the learning
>> curve yet, I hate the ribbon... (but appreciate the other
>> improvements)
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Russ
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
>> David Malouf
>> Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:48 AM
>> To: discuss at ixda.org
>> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Critiquing the Office 2007 (was Re: Microsoft to
>> license Office 2007 UI system)
>>
>>
>> Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:
>>
>> > Whereas web-based apps are starting to look and perform more and more
>> > like desktop applications, this is going the other direction - a
>> > desktop app looking like and operating like a web-app. It's just
>> > another case of MS throwing everything including the Kitchen sink at
>> > the display.
>> >
>> > Just because you have more pixels doesn't mean you should use them.
>> >
>> > When will they learn?
>> >
>>
>> Todd, I find the above critique to be very surface.
>>
>> There is a lot of published detail that is quite convincing about how
>> they came to this design and what problems they are hoping to solve from
>> earlier Office designs.
>>
>> Also, I don't find this very "webby" at all except to say that "webby"
>> means conventionless and this being a new convention without a lot of
>> precident would confirm that.
>>
>> Lastly, the ribbon is only a small part of the changes they've done to
>> office and to look at the Ribbon as the only major change to me feels
>> also very surface as a critique.
>>
>> My own take after using Office 2007 almost exclusively for a few months
>> now is that while the beta was buggy the premises were very very sound.
>>
>> 1. See before you do is REALLY helpful.
>> 2. The tabs and associated ribbon as a way of presenting things in a
>> more discoverable fashion does work over time. It has a learning curve,
>> but that curve definitely pays off.
>> 3. text formatting widgets as overlay within the text editing space is
>> GREAT! No longer having to go "all the way" back to the top for the
>> toolbar to do things like bullets and alignment and other primary
>> formatting changes is brilliant.
>>
>> And this is just the beginning.
>>
>> Things that I miss from the Mac Office 2004 version is the right panel
>> palettes akin to Adobe software. Since our screens are wider than they
>> are high and since Word and PPT docs seem to be vertically focused,
>> using this right space seemed to work better than the ribbon. But since
>> Excel is more horizontal than vertical and PPT can be horizontal in
>> nature I can see that if I had to choose a vertical or a horizontal
>> approach I may go with the horizontal one. Also, if I want to have
>> multiple word docs open (something very common) the extra horizontal
>> space in the vertical approach goes away and it would be better to use
>> the height.
>>
>> Over all, licensing aside, I really like the new version of Office. It
>> is a bold move for a company that has been locked with its legacy for
>> way too long in the Windows space. They did 1000's of hours of research
>> for this project, and I wouldn't want to be so quip with snubbing it out
>> of hand.
>>
>> -- dave
>>
>>
>> --
>> --
>> David Malouf
>> dave at ixda.org
>> http://ixda.org/
>>
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Comments

28 Nov 2006 - 4:11pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Looked at this for the first time today and would have to agree with Dan. This is a remarkeble interface given a less than stellar history. I like most everything about it but the visual noise. I probably wold have done the visual treatment differently, but most of us likely would.

What I really like is, as a minimal word user, everything I ever use is on the main menu screen. I am sure they did that just for me.

Mark

>I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think the Office
>2007 reboot is probably the best interaction design work to come out
>of Microsoft in a long while. It's certainly the most major refresh
>of a major software suite since...well, I don't recall. If you look
>at the design decisions that were made--and HOW and WHY they were
>made--it's pretty impressive. Jensen Harris's blog is required
>reading on the subject, and should probably be required reading for
>all interaction designers:

28 Nov 2006 - 5:04pm
James Melzer
2004

I'm not going to comment, except to say: http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/ ...?

~ James

--
James Melzer
http://www.jamesmelzer.com
http://del.icio.us/jamesmelzer

On 11/28/06, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
> Looked at this for the first time today and would have to agree with Dan. This is a remarkeble interface given a less than stellar history. I like most everything about it but the visual noise. I probably wold have done the visual treatment differently, but most of us likely would.
>
> What I really like is, as a minimal word user, everything I ever use is on the main menu screen. I am sure they did that just for me.
>
> Mark
>
>
> >I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think the Office
> >2007 reboot is probably the best interaction design work to come out
> >of Microsoft in a long while. It's certainly the most major refresh
> >of a major software suite since...well, I don't recall. If you look
> >at the design decisions that were made--and HOW and WHY they were
> >made--it's pretty impressive. Jensen Harris's blog is required
> >reading on the subject, and should probably be required reading for
> >all interaction designers:
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>

28 Nov 2006 - 5:37pm
John Grøtting
2006

I agree with James, but I also find this interview very interesting
to bring some of the thinking behind the design and testing process:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/5/b/65b05191-
a526-44bc-80e5-3f5399aeb162/new_julie_larson_green_office12_ui_2005.wmv

John Grøtting

Grøtting + Sauter
Barnerstr. 14B
22765 Hamburg
Germany

Tel +49.40.398.34342
SkypeIn +1.818.574.8440
Fax +49.40.398.34340
Mobile +49.172.4246.976
www.g-s.de
g at g-s.de

Am 28.11.2006 um 23:04 schrieb James Melzer:

>>> Jensen Harris

28 Nov 2006 - 6:35pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Nov 28, 2006, at 2:04 PM, James Melzer wrote:

> I'm not going to comment, except to say: http://www.apple.com/iwork/
> pages/ ...?
>

What does that mean exactly? A link with no explanation isn't much of
a comment. Are you suggesting Pages 2 is more innovative/better? If
so, how and why?

29 Nov 2006 - 8:10am
Todd Warfel
2003

I didn't think it needed an explanation. But if you'd like one, then
I'd say that iWork is a much better product in that it's more suited
for that 95%. I work in iWork pretty much all day (in and out). I
don't find that I need to have a large ribbon of options available to
get my work done, which includes:
* writing proposals
* invoicing
* writing case studies
* writing reports
* making to-do lists

and a few other things that I used to do in Word.

And for Keynote, well, it blows PPT away in it's simplicity and
straightforwardness. I did a presentation a couple of weeks ago for
World Usability Day in Princeton and received several compliments on
how beautiful the slides were. Now part of that might be my attention
to simple design, but that is influenced by the environment I work in
day-in-day-out.

Does Pages have all the features Word does? Nope. And frankly, I hope
it stays that way. I don't need a semi tractor trailer to drive
around town every day. Same goes for Keynote - although it does have
much better transitions than PPT (admittedly, I only use 2-3 of them).

A couple of gripes - Pages doesn't have Track Changes. That's
something that would be useful. And the palette model they use for
iWork isn't that great in my opinion. It works kind of like the MS
Ribbon in that each "collection" of features (e.g. Paragraph
formatting options) is contained under a group. MS uses tabs, Apple
uses buttons.

However, finding out about an undocumented feature that allows you to
have multiple palettes open at once takes care of that gripe.

So, yes, Pages is more innovative and better in that it does what 95%
of the people need and only has 16 elements exposed by default
instead of 55. Or if you expose the Inspector (their version of the
ribbon), then you're up to about 25 instead of 55. Less than half the
clutter and in a more efficient manner.

Now, if they could just implement that contextual formatting...

On Nov 28, 2006, at 6:35 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> On Nov 28, 2006, at 2:04 PM, James Melzer wrote:
>
>> I'm not going to comment, except to say: http://www.apple.com/iwork/
>> pages/ ...?
>>
>
> What does that mean exactly? A link with no explanation isn't much of
> a comment. Are you suggesting Pages 2 is more innovative/better? If
> so, how and why?

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

29 Nov 2006 - 8:55am
Dave Malouf
2005

To me comqring iWork to Office is comparing apples to oranges.

Office is an Enterrise class suite which has to have a much more robust set
of features. Items like merging, track changes, form building, excel
integration, DRM, etc for most of us are not what we need but in the
Enterrise it is totally necessary.

IWork is for the small business user with limited needs. I mean you have to
buy Office anyway just to have Excel. I can't imagine my life w/o excel.

Then there is the often used ability to build applications on top of office
suite products that include workflow and CMS and CRM productivity tools.

The legacy burden for office is so intense. It is just a comletely
different design context qnd so the solutions should be different.

I'd loe to be in a mqc world, but my environments and my contexts continue
to be in the enterprise (for me and my users) ... For Enterise comuting
there is really no option here as Mac has ignored the enterprise and
instead focused on personal contexts.

Dave

29 Nov 2006 - 9:42am
John Grøtting
2006

I agree that Office has some amazing tools for the enterprise.
However, I believe that Office is often used in instances, where
iWork would suffice. Interestingly, the upcoming version of Office
does "borrow" a lot of ideas from iWork.

John Grøtting

Grøtting + Sauter
Barnerstr. 14B
22765 Hamburg
Germany

Tel +49.40.398.34342
SkypeIn +1.818.574.8440
Fax +49.40.398.34340
Mobile +49.172.4246.976
www.g-s.de
g at g-s.de

Am 29.11.2006 um 14:55 schrieb David Malouf:

> To me comqring iWork to Office is comparing apples to oranges.
>
> Office is an Enterrise class suite which has to have a much more
> robust set
> of features. Items like merging, track changes, form building, excel
> integration, DRM, etc for most of us are not what we need but in the
> Enterrise it is totally necessary.
>
> IWork is for the small business user with limited needs. I mean you
> have to
> buy Office anyway just to have Excel. I can't imagine my life w/o
> excel.
>
> Then there is the often used ability to build applications on top
> of office
> suite products that include workflow and CMS and CRM productivity
> tools.
>
> The legacy burden for office is so intense. It is just a comletely
> different design context qnd so the solutions should be different.
>
> I'd loe to be in a mqc world, but my environments and my contexts
> continue
> to be in the enterprise (for me and my users) ... For Enterise
> comuting
> there is really no option here as Mac has ignored the enterprise and
> instead focused on personal contexts.
>
> Dave
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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29 Nov 2006 - 9:26am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Nov 29, 2006, at 8:55 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> To me comqring iWork to Office is comparing apples to oranges.
>
> Office is an Enterrise class suite which has to have a much more
> robust set of features. Items like merging, track changes, form
> building, excel integration, DRM, etc for most of us are not what
> we need but in the Enterrise it is totally necessary.
> ...
> I'd loe to be in a mqc world, but my environments and my contexts
> continue to be in the enterprise (for me and my users) ... For
> Enterise comuting there is really no option here as Mac has ignored
> the enterprise and instead focused on personal contexts.

I strongly disagree. We work with enterprise clients on a regular
basis - some of the world's largest financial, pharma, and telco
companies in fact. And we've been successfully using iWork for about
4 years. There is some migration period and a bit of changing the way
you think, but we're proof that it can be done.

Enterprise doesn't equal robust set of features and complication.
Enterprise means being able to handle large amounts of data, or
requests from masses. It means collaboration. It means efficient
workflow for multiple people.

We've worked on Enterprise applications that are simple, powerful,
more useful and usable than their "enterprise" counterparts. We
worked on a large enterprise application that handles over 25 million
records and we did it w/o touching MS Office. And you can live w/o
Excel if you really want to. There are alternatives to Excel if
you're interested in looking at Open Office. Now, honestly, we still
use Excel because we've had the app around for over 5 years. So, we
just use the version of Excel from 2000. And we'll continue to do so
until a better "non-overly featured" spreadsheet comes out.

We're a Mac only shop and intend to stay that way. We've successfully
been a Mac only shop going on 5 years now. And most of our clients
are on Windows. So, I fail to see how/why it can't be done. Our only
issue is Morea (until we build a replacement). We do use that for
usability testing. But since we're running Parallels w/XP on it,
that's no longer an issue. And for a small business it's more cost
effective than having additional PCs lying around just for testing.

I'm not making these claims based on theory, I've been doing this for
years and know that it works.

Now, to be fair to Dave, there are some things that simply don't work
on a Mac at all - like Access. And if you need Access, then you
should be using Windows. So, either get a Dell/Viao/Compaq, or pick
up a Mac and put Parallels and Windows on the machine.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

29 Nov 2006 - 12:05pm
peter sikking
2006

David Malouf wrote:

> To me comqring iWork to Office is comparing apples to oranges.
> The legacy burden for office is so intense. It is just a comletely
> different design context qnd so the solutions should be different.

I can share some actual experience here:

In 2005 I ran a openOffice imPress re-design project.

practically speaking: imPress = powerpoint and has the same
mind-boggling number of features. I decided not to weasel out,
and ruthlessly slash features, but instead to work under the
real world conditions of product managers being addicted
to features.

During the project, hundreds of interaction architecture and
design decisions had to be taken. We evaluated 3-10 variants
for every one of them. The modern UI design principles
as implemented by apple in keynote proved themselves really well
in the context of the 3 times fatter imPress.

The perception of feature jungle can also be
mitigated by ruthless complexity reduction in the UI itself.

Some results can be seen here (note: this is a presentation for
a non-expert audience):

<http://www.mmiworks.net/eng/publications/systemslecture2005.pdf>

--ps

principal user interaction architect
man + machine interface works

http://mmiworks.net/blog : on interaction architecture

29 Nov 2006 - 3:35pm
Daniel J. Wilson
2005

On Nov 29, 2006, at 8:10 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> However, finding out about an undocumented feature that allows you to
> have multiple palettes open at once takes care of that gripe.

For the Mac users out there, the trick is to hold Option while
clicking on an Inspector tab. Yes, this really ought to be documented
and standardized…

> Now, if they could just implement that contextual formatting...

Since a contextual formatting interface is already used for polygons
(see attached images), I wouldn't be surprised if a future version of
iWork includes such a thing for text and other elements.

On Nov 29, 2006 at 8:55 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I'd loe to be in a mqc world, but my environments and my contexts
> continue
> to be in the enterprise (for me and my users) ... For Enterise
> comuting
> there is really no option here as Mac has ignored the enterprise and
> instead focused on personal contexts.

Apple Computer is a multi-national corporation employing nearly
15,000 people (so says Wikipedia) and somehow the company runs
largely on Macs.

Daniel J. Wilson
http://blog.wilsonet.com

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