Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Dan Tynan Is a Dolt on Office 2007

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Dan Tynan of PC World just awarded Office 2007 with a big lump of coal as part of PC World’s 15 biggest technological disappointments of 2007 awards. I’m severely disappointed in this, especially given that the stated rationale is that the Ribbon sucks:

Ribbon schmibbon. We’ll take the classic menus, please.

The only thing I miss about Windows is Office 2007. I don’t know how I coped before the Ribbon, to be honest. It takes a few weeks to get used to–a decade of muscle memory in Office is hard to give up–but it’s so much easier to find and use features in the new version. Features are grouped more logically, they no longer fight each other for space, and you don’t have to dig through a handful of modal dialogs in order to customize your text just right.

That said, I’ll readily admit Office 2007 isn’t perfect. The Office button is so hard for new users to find that the Office UI team simply gave up and made it glow and pulse until the new user finally clicks on it. Even still, the new warts Office 2007 has pale in comparison to the drastic increase in usability and visual polish it offers over its predecessors.

Thomas Baekdal sums this up far more eloquently on his blog than I’m willing to, and I highly suggest reading his thoughts on the matter:

The difference in usability is staggering. Using FITTs, GOMS and HICKs we can calculate just how much of an improvement it is.

Example: “selecting the items you want, and turning them into a numbered list - with roman numerals”.

Old Office: 15.04 seconds Office 2007: 8.65 seconds

(42% improvement in efficiency)

Bite me, PC World. You’re just plain wrong on this one.

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