Monday, April 03, 2006

New Rectangles to the Rescue? (Why the UI, Part 4)

Two Office UI add-ons that you will not see in Office 2007 ...

"Last time I discussed the UI mechanisms added to Office 2000 intended to reduce the perception of bloat: Adaptive Menus and Toolbar Rafting. I did want to add something I forgot last week. Steven reminded me that the earliest versions of both Excel and Word for Windows had two versions of all the top-level menus, short and long. By default, only a small number of commands were shown, and a user could click the View - Full Menus command to cause the full list of commands to appear. This is interesting because I'm told the push to move back to the "short menus" was an important influence that impacted the design of Adaptive Menus in Office 2000. Just a bit of historical housekeeping.

Today, I'm going to take you forward all the way to Office 2003 and write about two new rectangles that appeared on the screen in recent versions: the Office Assistant and Task Panes.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the Office Assistant (a.k.a. "Clippy", a.k.a. "Clippit"). I was introduced to it probably the same way as a lot of you--I was still in college, and a friend got Office 97 loaded on his new computer. I was somewhat puzzled by it, but I did spend time looking at the different choices (I liked Einstein.) I also spent some time right-clicking on it to make it do funny animations. Once I got Office 97 for myself, I'm pretty sure I kept the Assistant on for a while so that people who saw my computer would think I was cool. In a few months, everyone had Office 97, and the Assistant had lost its geek cachet. Besides, I had papers to write, and that's when I'm pretty sure I turned it off for good."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

Good Old Clippy - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Good Old Clippy


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