Monday, April 17, 2006

The Size Of Things

Looks can be deceiving. A comparison of Office interface screen real estate...

"One of the most discussed aspects of the new Office 2007 UI has been: "Does it take up too much room?"

It isn't a straightforward question to answer, above all because to answer it requires a subjective opinion. What seems just right to one person might seem to another person to be too much.

So today, I'm going to try to take an objective look at the size of the new UI just by presenting the facts--and then you can form your own opinion. I'll also discuss some of the background about why we made the design decisions we did.

One of the tricky things about measuring the size of the Office user interface is figuring out what to measure. The size of the Office 97-2003 user interface, in particular, is greatly affected by the number of toolbars and Task Panes brought up to use the features in the product.

To sidestep that problem for the time being, I'm going to compare the out-of-box experiences of Office 97 and Office 2007. Why these two versions? First of all, Office 97 was the first version of Office with command bars, and it's the version often cited as representing a cleaner, smaller brand of UI. It's also before the introduction of Task Panes, so we don't have to take that into account. Also, it was (and is) an extremely successful version of Office which many people have installed, so it seems like a good comparison.

Why measure the out-of-the-box experience? Given that fewer than 2% of Office 2003 users customize their UI according to the data reported through the Customer Experience Improvement Program, the out-of-the-box experience is the one most users will see."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

Compare Office 2007 to 1997. - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Compare Office 2007 to 1997


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