Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Evolution of the PowerPoint Home Tab

beta testing the UI...

A few months ago, I made an attempt to give you a sense of the kinds of changes to the user interface you'd be likely to see between Beta 2 and the final product.

In particular, I guessed that we had made over a thousand individual tweaks to the contents of the Ribbon, although now I think that was probably a bit conservative. If you consider every command label we've cleaned up, every icon we've tweaked, every punctuation fix or label size adjustment or scaling behavior modification as a change, I wouldn't be surprised if the list totals more like several thousand.

That said, most of these changes fall into the categories of polish (what we call internally "fit and finish") and simple usability improvements based on feedback or a better understanding of the relationship between or the behavior of specific features. In other words, most of the changes are minor and you'd only notice them if you looked at Beta 2 and a recent build side-by-side.

Today, I want to explain probably the biggest change we've made in Ribbon content organization since Beta 2: a rethinking of the PowerPoint Home tab.

I'm going to go through the decision in great detail to give you a sense of the kind of thought process we use for every design decision around feature organization. We've spent three years repeating this process hundreds of times in hundreds of areas, trying to come up with the best possible organization of the thousands of features which comprise Microsoft Office."   (Continued via Jensen Harris)               [Usability Resources]

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