Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Transitioning from Office 2003 to 2007

I wonder if software designers underestimate the difficulty a user has when changing a user interface so that it is more "intuitive."

This week, I finally upgraded from Office 2003 (which has used essentially the same interface as most prior versions of Office) to Office 2007.

I like the new version, but it's required a significant amount of re-thinking on my part to get simple things done.

For example - File, Edit, View. This is now the standard navigation menu for practically ALL Windows-based applications. I know that if I click File, I can save and print. If I click Edit, I can cut, copy and paste.

Now I'm faced with this.

Am I the only person that doesn't remember what the icons mean and hates having to wait for the little mouse roll-over to tell me?

And where the heck is Cut, Copy and Paste? Do I have to use right-click (which I am trying to wean myself from since I also have a Mac)? Keystroke commands? Oh...it's under Home. Why "Home"? Did you have a focus group and who was in it? (Sorry - just a touch of former-expert-now-a-newbie aggravation).

Software applications really are an exercise in reading minds. Specifically - reading the intent and logic of the designers and software programmers. The historian in me (when I'm not on deadline trying to finish a project) enjoys the exercise. The instructor in me finds that being able to suss out the intent of the designer makes it easier to explain why and how to perform a task - particularly if the steps don't make much sense on the surface.

In the meantime - I am going to slog through the "aggravation stage" and take notes.


Nils Geylen said...

The ribbon sure is hard. It has a lot of features though that you'll love as soon as you get used to it.

Then again, the more you become experience, the more irritations you'll start to discover - but that's the case with all apps over time.

Try adding stuff to the quick access toolbar at first, so you have all your oft used buttons handy.

Wendy said...

I've essentially put the most commonly used items on the quick access toolbar (save, undo, open).
I hesitate to put too much on there since I always used the menus (and I always forgot what the little icons meant).

About the little irritations you find as you learn any ap - lots of truth to that statement.

Thanks for the tip and the feedback.