Tech Strategy Trends

Apr 4 2011   9:45PM GMT

Windows 8 Getting a Ribbon Interface Overhaul

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

The world seems to have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft’s ribbon interface–people either love it, or they hate it. The ribbon was first introduced in Office 2007, then extended to additional products like Outlook in Office 2010. Now, screenshots from a leaked early build of Windows 8 suggest that the ribbon interface will replace the traditional toolbar in Windows Explorer as well.

Like many innovative Microsoft features (such as UAC), the ribbon interface suffers from a combination of resistance to change and a lack of understanding. Users are so busy whining and complaining about how Microsoft changed the interface they’re used to that they can’t be bothered to invest the time to embrace the new interface. But, those who do understand and embrace the ribbon interface generally love it and find that it makes working with the associated products more intuitive and efficient.

Aside from the ribbon interface, Windows 8 is also expected to run on ARM processors–like those powering the vast majority of tablets and smartphones, and it is expected to be tablet ready, or perhaps come in a tablet-optimized version. There is no update on when to expect Windows 8. At this point, Microsoft seems to still be in the very early development.

When it does arrive, I guess we’ll have to look at renaming this blog.

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  • Coolbloke1324
    "Like many innovative Microsoft features (such as UAC), the ribbon interface suffers from a combination of resistance to change and a lack of understanding." NOT true. It is not a lack of understanding. We understand quite well what MS has TRIED to do. It's just a complete failure. "Users are so busy whining and complaining about how Microsoft changed the interface they’re used to that they can’t be bothered to invest the time to embrace the new interface." Does it take time to learn the interface on Gnome, KDE, iPhone, OSX, Android? They are all different to some extent but we don't need to memorise where every command is in order to use the menus on those OS's. I also resent the sentiment that somehow just because we don't like it, we "can't be bothered" to embrace it. I'm a programmer with 20 years experience in both Windows and other platform development... if someone like me who will embrace ANYTHING tech-related can't work with this, there is something wrong with the interface, not me! "But, those who do understand and embrace the ribbon interface generally love it and find that it makes working with the associated products more intuitive and efficient." I really cannot understand how it could possibly be more intuitive or efficient. If you don't run in full-screen, you can't access half the commands on the interface. You have to remember every ribbon and which commands are located on them - it is not intuitive as to where a command might be. The icons that are presented are not representative of the command you want to perform. Most commands do not have an icon, but some do... inconsistent much?!? The sections of each ribbon are completely random. I used to be able to use Excel at lightning speed, now I find I have to click around for 5 to 10 seconds each time I want to use a new command from the menu. This is terrible. Don't tell me I'm old-fashioned, I'm only 29. Don't tell me I'm whining for no reason, I'm joined by 80% of the world's office users in hating the ribbon interface. It sucks... plain and simple, and MS should stop promoting a complete train-wreck "feature" and realise that it is loosing customers because of this. This single issue is the main reason people will google for an alternative. If Win8 has this too, I'm off. I'll write my own OS before using that shit.
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  • RoachDS
    I guess i'm part of the 20% that like the ribbon and it seems to flow really well for me.I'm in the IT field as well but still have reached that true IT nerd level. I like it and think that it would be nice to see it in Windows 8. They should include the Classic views so that the user has the option to select the best suited method for them......MS dont' stop the ribbon ... It seems to function without any issues for me.
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