Monday, February 27, 2006

Not So Set In Our Ways After All

The Mini Toolbar in Office 2007 represents a break from the tradition of grouping like commands together...

"Back in the article "Set In Our Ways?" I talked about one of the design issues we were thinking about at the time--namely, whether or not it was OK sometimes to break commands out of a set.

In particular, we were thinking about the Mini Toolbar which comes up on selection and as part of context menus in Office 2007. As you may recall, in order to make the best use of the limited space available, we needed to cast a critical eye on the content included in this UI.

With many people clamoring for indent, outdent, highlighter, and styles, it seemed like a waste of space to include much less frequently-used features such as right justify and underline.

As it often does, an interesting discussion ensued, and many of you encouraged us to break with convention.

So, for Beta 2 we decided to take the plunge and really optimize around the most frequently-used commands, breaking the restriction that all of the commands of a "set" (such as Bold, Italic, Underline) have to be together.

Here's what we decided on as Beta 2 content for the Mini Toolbar in Word:"   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

Context sensitive to the most frequently used commands- User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Context sensitive to the most frequently used commands


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