Office "Fluent" UI for IT Pros?

As an IT Pro, what is your opinion of the Office 2007 new ribbon UI, called "Fluent"? Is it helping or hindering your user's productivity? Do you want to see more of it? Leave feedback and I will channel to the teams involved.

A recent Infoworld article says:

In a presentation at the Microsoft's 2008 Office System Developer Conference in San Jose, Calif. last month, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates characterized the Office Fluent UI as a success and said the company would be adding its capabilities to other systems. "We usability-tested it massively and, fortunately, it has had a very strong positive reaction," Gates said.

Comments (2)

  1. amolk says:

    I’ve used Office apps for many years now. So, I was very familiar with the classic UI. I started using Office 2007 (trial version) since that came w/ my new laptop.

    Whereas the new UI is radically different, it doesn’t provide me with any advantages over the old one. It slowed me down considerably, since I had to find where the menu options were now located. The new UI requires the same keyclicks in most cases and more in some, eg. switching windows in Excel. Overall, I found the Fluent UI to be anything but fluent. It is confusing and illogical.

    Excel also has the habit of crashing randomly with no provocation. So, after evaluating the product, I’ve decided to remove Office 2007 in favor of Office 2003, the new UI being the top reason. I don’t see why I should pay premium $$$s for a product that’s unstable, counter productive and offers me no benefits over the older version. I am also evaluating other non-MS options.

    I see Gates’ claims about the new UI & Office 2007 being a "huge success". I am very skeptical of that claim, for various reasons, some of which are as follows.

    1) MS claims extensive input from the CEIP. I did not participate, mainly because I am not comfortable knowing exactly what data MS will collect. I find the same is true of many long-time power users. So, did MS really have a good representative sample? BTW, MS clearly states that if a user is not comfortable submitting data they aren’t allowed to review, they should not participate in CEIP.

    2) Prior to Office 2007, a lot of new computers had Office pre-installed. Now, people have to actually buy the full versions. Doesn’t that contribute to the "strong sales"?

    3) MS did not provide a classic UI option. Had they done so, how many users would have selected the new UI voluntarily?

    4) How many users are "captive" users, i.e. they don’t have a choice but to use Office 2007 at work, like it or not?

    All in all, Office 2007 has caused me, a long time user, to start evaluating non-MS solutions.

    Gates also went on to say that because of the "huge success" of the new UI, forthcoming versions of Windows will be using that UI extensively. Ergo, it is now time for me to seriously start evaluating other OSs.

  2. Great feedback. I have forwarded to the Office team. Thanks for your comments.

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