The new new Office 2007 user interface 10:13 on Sunday

Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani doesn’t like the new MS Office UI (no surprise there). A year or so ago I heard of a blog by MS Office User Experience Team manager Jensen Harris. Naturally I subscribed — as an avid hater of bloated software, I was intrigued to know how it is made. ;)

But seeing the first screenshots of the new UI and hearing the ideas of enthusiastic Mr. Jensen I started to actually believe MS could be on to something. If not revolutionary, at least onto something new, something that nobody had seen or thought of in UI design before.

Now that the new MS Office is here, all I can think of is that reordering toolbars and menus into a fat blob doesn’t bring about great usability enhancements. Yes, we’ll all get used to it, and it might even end up being something that everybody likes a bit better than the old toolbars and menus.

But there’s nothing revolutionary there. Move on.

4 Responses to “The new new Office 2007 user interface”


  1. Orion Says:

    I checked the new MS Office UI at DigiExpo last year and really thought the live preview of different layouts is something cool and new. At least something more creative than what comes to the UI design of Vista. It seems they didn’t introduce that feature in the article linked above. You can get an idea about it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juska/293261792/ Basically you roll your mouse (no clicking) over the different layouts and you’ll see immediately how they’ll look like. And here http://www.flickr.com/photos/juska/293262269/in/photostream/ menus and toolbars are still in their old place.

  2. Niko Says:

    Previews are nice, but the only difference to Keynote themes is that you don’t have to click on the options. Hardly anything special. Besides, this is a feature that drastically changes what you see on the screen, but it isn’t a feature that anyone could impress me with, from a UI design standpoint. Changing a theme is something you do maybe once for each document. But if they had somehow reinvented something like copy & paste, which you easily use a 100 times for each document, that would be impressive.

    MS was talking about forgoing menus and toolbars completely, which sounded very intriguing. The result you see, where you say “menus and toolbars are in their old place”, actually is their vision of “forgoing menus and toolbars”. That’s why I said all they did was reorder things and market it as something spectacular.

  3. Tina Aspiala Says:

    I miss Word 5.

  4. Niko Says:

    Everybody does.