Monday, October 10, 2005

MS Office: Get your re-org boots!

Jakob Neilsen's latest Alertbox draws our attention to the iminent redesign of the MS Office user interface. Not the least of the woes ahead will be the learning of a new acronym: WYGIWYS, What You Get Is What You See. Practice it now, it's a tough one to get right.

Apparently Office 2003 is so full of functionality that many users cannot locate many of the features. Who'd have thunk it? Anyway, to solve this problem Microsoft are rejigging the various menus, toolbars and dropdowns in favour of coherently organised Command Tabs. This sounds mildly useful. More interesting is the WYGIWYS bit, whereby we format the document by choosing our desired result from a gallery of examples. As somebody is frequently driven to apoplectic fury by my inability to switch off some particular embedded Word style object I think any improvement to Word format styles is to be welcomed. Of course want I really want is a codes pane like WordPerfect had but I can't see that coming soon.

What does it all mean? Well there's some learning coming up for those of us who are bound to the corporately-supplied toolset. There's possibly some big yokks for the Open Office and Mac sparts. But just suppose Microsoft pulls it off. A new UI not swiped off Apple/Xerox that delivers real productivity gains to ordinary users: wouldn't that be cool?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. I've been using Word since V2.0 and frequently turn every single toolbar back to the minimum. At this stage you should know every single key combination in word e.g. Alt-F , ctrl-shift-left arrow for heading indents etc.

Time with your hand on the mouse is lost productivity when it comes to word processors.. Now microsoft want to change the moron's interface ?



12 October 2005 at 03:35:00 GMT-7  
Blogger APC said...

You carry around fifteen hundred keystroke combinations in your head? Sir, I salute your indefatigability!

Cheers, APC

12 October 2005 at 09:00:00 GMT-7  
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