Friday, March 31, 2006

Combating the Perception of Bloat (Why the UI, Part 3)

Last time we started a walk down memory lane by taking a look at the first five major versions of Word for Windows. I ended by showing Word 97, a major milestone release which included many useful new features and improvements. Office 97 also introduced command bars, a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design. All this new functionality came at a cost, however, and part of this cost was increased complexity in the user interface, mainly through the addition of new menu items and toolbar buttons. Responding to this, the industry press started publishing articles and popularizing the idea that Office was "bloated."
On developing an interface that conveys the many features of Word...

"In reality, the programs themselves weren't "bloated." At least, the miles-long list of feature requests from customers indicated that, if anything, people expected us to do more in this space. What had happened, however, was that the user interface had begun to feel bloated. Like a suitcase stuffed to the gills with vacation clothes, the menu and toolbar system was beginning to show signs of not being scalable enough to fit the richness of the product. It was becoming harder to get the zipper shut each release. Some people perceived the result as "bloat."

Office 2000 introduced several new UI mechanisms designed to reduce this perception of "bloat." In many ways, this release marks the beginning of the road that eventually turns towards the redesign of the UI in Office 2007."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)



A UI adapted to handle an increasing number of features - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

A UI adapted to handle an increasing number of features

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