Space Ramblings

Memo to Microsoft: Enough Ribbon UI Please

The Ribbon UI isn’t Clippy, it isn’t Microsoft Bob, but it’s not one of Microsoft’s real winners either. It should be recognized as a worthwhile attempt to streamline the often clunky Windows interface, but like Clippy and Bob, the Ribbon UI is geared to simplifying through dumbing down in a way that obstructs productivity workflow. The Ribbon UI has its professional fans, but mostly it hides your workflow behind unnecessary tabs. There’s nothing like hunting through 5 different Ribbon UI menu tabs to find a function that used to be front and center and didn’t require you to do anything but click on it, before Ribbon UI came along. It’s nice that Microsoft is at least trying to update the clunky Windows setup, but Ribbon UI is really not the solution. Offices like it because it’s neatly categorized, but while it’s easier to teach to new employees, it obstructs workflow and causes more trouble than it’s worth. The office aspect of Ribbon UI will probably help keep it around, but even Clippy survived a whole lot of abuse, before Microsoft finally retired him. The Zune HD suggests that at least someone at Microsoft is getting UI’s. Maybe they’re the ones who should be working on the next version of Windows.

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