Sunday, March 25, 2007

Word 2007: Lessons on usability

Discussing Word2007 usability ...

"Much ink and many bytes have been consumed in the debate of Office 2007's new interface.

Everyone agrees that the new look and feel of Office is a radical departure from the interface that Office has been using since its inception. From Office 2000 through Office 2003, the interface has been nearly untouched, other than some gradients and other beautification. Just what was the thinking behind the new interface?

It is no secret that Office (particularly Word) has been an application that users love to hate. You could often spend more time and effort trying to figure out how to format a block of text than writing the block of text. Word is the application that gets most of the attention, with Excel coming in a distant second. There is a good reason for this: Everyone uses Word and Outlook, many people use Excel, and far fewer people use Access, Publisher, etc. On top of that, the assumption is that Word should require little training or sophistication to use, since it is "simply" a word processor. Conversely, it's assumed that Access requires a trained or technically savvy user; it is a database, after all.

Except for Word, Outlook, and Excel, the Office suite applications are all special-purpose applications that users would need training or experience to use, regardless of their software choice. Excel often gets a free pass, because while a billion people use it as an ad hoc database, people tend to do a bit less with Excel than they attempt to do with Word. When they go for the advanced features, they expect it to be difficult. Outlook actually has always been fairly easy to use, except for the Word-powered e-mail editor and the initial configuration, which is no worse than any other e-mail client, due to the complexities of setting up e-mail. So today, I will take a look at Word 2007 and try to make sense of the usability decisions that went into it, and how the changes relate to usability in general."    (Continued via ZDNet Asia)    [Usability Resources]

Mouse Hover Shows Attributes - Usability, User Interface Design

Mouse Hover Shows Attributes

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