Office 12’s incredible new UI

Kudos to Microsoft’s Research Dpt for creating a great new UI to replace the old, crappy, overused menu+toolbar paradigm. Now the application’s menu is not a drop down menu, but a simple button which activates a different toolbar each time, containing all the menu items. The new UI allows for only two levels of “sub-menus”, which is a good thing, because it will force developers to fix their usability (3DStudio/Alias people, do you listen?). Check screenshots here.

Some will say that the new paradigm takes away the immediate click through a toolbar, by using e.g. the “open” or “save” icons that are _always_ present in the old paradigm. Now it requires two clicks, minimum, to do anything. Personally, I find the overall usability gains of the new system overpowering the 0.5 seconds that you will lose doing two clicks instead of one. In the long run, it will save time, it will increase productivity.

*UPDATE* I was just chatting on IM with the Microsoft engineer who worked on the implementation of one of the new toolbar-menus for Office-12 (we are online friends for years). Apparently, the new menu-toolbar paradigm is called “Ribbon model” at the MS engineering cycles and it’s defined in XML. I know nothing more, so don’t ask. And if I knew, I wouldn’t say. 😉

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