Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Feature Bob Invented

How scrolling tabs in the Office 12 Ribbon came about...

"It was a cold winter afternoon early in 2004, and we were in the midst of doing some of the first usability tests with a working, clickable prototype of the Ribbon. (Prior to that, most of our prototypes had been paper-based.)

This particular prototype was put together in PowerPoint as a fairly inexpensive way to mock up a basic Ribbon and to see whether people got the concept. Basically, we put a picture of each tab of the Ribbon in a separate slide in the PowerPoint deck. We turned off the "click to advance" functionality for each slide, and then drew a nearly transparent square around each tab of the Ribbon. Each of these squares was hooked up to an action so that clicking on them advanced to the slide that revealed the picture of the tab you were clicking on.

In this way, we were able to simulate a tabbed user interface just by drawing 8 or 10 pictures. None of the commands within the Ribbon really worked in these early prototypes; we just would watch and listen to see where they clicked within the tab."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

Using scroll button to switch tabs- User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Using the scroll button to switch tabs

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