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The Story of the Office Ribbon

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You may love or hate the new Office Ribbon user interface. Microsoft was very brave to dramatically change the user interface for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Co. It means that more than half a billion people need to learn the new interface. That’s a huge impact – and not everybody is happy about that. However from a usability point of view it is amazing how much research, prototyping and usability testing went into the redesign of the Office 2007 user interface. The main goal was to drastically improve the productivity of the end user.

At Microsoft’s MIX08, Jensen Harris from the Office 2007 design team told the behind-the-scenes story of how the 2007 Office Ribbon user interface was imagined, designed, and validated.  He showed never-before-shown early prototypes and talked about mistakes and lessons learned during the design process.

This presentation is a must see for anybody interested in user experience design. The MIX08 presentation is available here.

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