Remember how the users reacted when presented with the Bookmark Bar in Lotus Notes for the first time? Everybody needed extra training, there was uproar, the people who hated notes hated it even more.
Oh how the MS guys all laughed and sniggered and talked about standard interfaces and that EVERYTHING in Windows had a standard interface. Everything looked the same and it made it easier for the user to get around. Well that’s all about to change…
With the release of the MS Office 2007 beta comes a new interface called the Ribbon. The old menus are gone, there’s no file menu, no edit menu, no nothing, it’s all been ripped out and replaced, if you haven;t seen it yet here’s what it looks like :
Think I could find anything? It took me about 3 minutes just to find the Edit Preferences’ option and thinking I was just blinded by the horrible interface I asked the better half to see if she could find it but she struggled just as much as I did, clicking on this that and the other until eventually she tried the help system which was just another pile of issues… The help is HTML based but having FireFox as my default browser it didn’t really work well with the ActiveX control it wanted to load.
And with the MS guys talking of standard interfaces, the Ribbon appears to be standard in all the Office Products… Well apart from MS Publisher and MS Visio and MS OneNote.
Standard interface…. It must be our turn to snigger now… Think of all the user training, lost hours of productivity and frustrated users… Oh, hang on, I know of 120 Million users who will be happy to use Hannover’s standard ODF document editors.. They won’t be frustrated or need extra training…
Personally I’m a Workspace type person. When IBM Lotus came out with the Bookmark Bar I just couldn’t use it, I never adapted and the first thing I allways do when I install a notes client is switch the default homepage to the Workspace. I still haven’t found the option in MS Office 2007 to turn off the Ribbon.