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Author Topic: The Ribbon strikes again!  (Read 11250 times)

zridling

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The Ribbon strikes again!
« on: January 05, 2009, 01:12:08 AM »
SolSuite Solitaire is the latest app to ruin its UI with a completely superfluous use of the Ribbon where it's not needed. Look how much vertical screen space that fat tub-o-toolbar eats up! Seriously, was this designed for 6-year olds?

solsuite_the_dial_II_screenshot.jpg

Notice they actually have a categorized label of Undo and Redo under two monster icons labeled Undo Move and Redo Move. Gaaah!!! SolSuite, I curse thy name. Better, I'll let Captain Picard express my emotions.

picard300facepalm.jpg  picard301donotwant.jpg

« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 02:35:00 AM by zridling »

zridling

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 02:22:25 AM »
Josh reminded me of this one, so I shouldn't be too hard on the Ribbon:

toolbars8.jpg

Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 02:39:12 AM »
You might not want it, but I can tell you from first hand experience that once the users I support have learned the ribbon, upon our migration to O2K7, a lot of them are far more productive. The ribbon is indeed useful if used to it's capacity. It makes logical sense and gives a once over of the options available. Not all people can memorize menu locations and this provides them a much easier way to accomplish what they want.

Deozaan

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 02:44:58 AM »
Why did they start making everything for the vision impaired starting with Vista? No, I don't want my recycle bin to take up half of my monitor. No, I don't want icons that are as big as an iPod Nano on my screen. No, I don't want toolbar buttons (including the Ribbon) that are as big as a postage stamp.

The Ribbon is a great idea for an Accessibility option, but it needs an option to return to classic style toolbars with small buttons.


Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 03:11:27 AM »
Is that because you want it to or because it would be for the better of all people who use windows and it's apps?

kiwi2b

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 03:13:30 AM »
I think one reason why the ribbon is with us is that screens are much bigger these days. I have a dell 22 inch which is their "standard" option now, and even laptops are pretty big too. So with all that extra space, it gives Microsoft a chance to at least try to make things more obvious.

I'm getting used to the ribbon on the desktop and prefer it, but on the 12 inch laptop it's xp, toolbars and office 2003 for sure.

Which says I guess we need more options...

(Great avatar BTW, Josh. Gets my fly swat out every time. ;D )
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 03:23:47 AM by kiwi2b »

Deozaan

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 03:23:16 AM »
Is that because you want it to or because it would be for the better of all people who use windows and it's apps?

I don't see how the choice to make it a big fat ribbon or nice slim toolbar would be worse for all people who use Windows and it's applications.


zridling

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 03:23:33 AM »
...I can tell you from first hand experience that once the users I support have learned the ribbon, upon our migration to O2K7, a lot of them are far more productive. Not all people can memorize menu locations and this provides them a much easier way to accomplish what they want.

I'm curious: How exactly are they more productive? By not sifting through the menus? In just about any office app, you can customize keyboard shortcuts, or in some, rearrange the menus. If making them that big increases efficiency, why not make them twice again as big?

Most people use an app in practical, specific ways, no doubt many of them do so inefficiently. But visually, the Ribbon is just in my way. In the SolSuite example above, though, it's the redundacy that is crazy for so few options -- they've labeled the icons which are already labeled! Unlike Office 2007, I at least want the option to turn the thing off or revert to the smallest icons possible. If you need a huge icon for copy/paste, then it's hopeless.

zridling

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 03:26:57 AM »
I think one reason why the ribbon is with us is that screens are much bigger these days. I have a dell 22 inch which is their "standard" option now, and even laptops are pretty big too. So with all that extra space, it gives Microsoft a chance to at least try to make things more obvious.

Yes, but that 22" screen is merely wider, not taller. The flaw of the Ribbon is that it takes up valuable vertical screenspace. If I could dock that monster on the side like you can OpenOffice's toolbars, then it would make more sense. The Ribbon is already competing with the taskbar, the menu bar, the title bar, and the status bar for the same [shrinking] vertical space (in the example above).
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 03:30:22 AM by zridling »

kiwi2b

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2009, 03:40:08 AM »
Well, I wasn't meaning 22 inch vertically.  :)  Although I guess you could get one of those screens that turn 90 degrees, problem solved, right?  :Thmbsup:

Seriously though, it's the diagonal, which does give some handy extra space.

And for the choice question, too much can be a problem too. I've taught and been taught, and there's enough of it with icons, menus, and shortcuts. Are we going to add the ribbon as well?

I guess so for some, but a lot of folks, good productive people, get lost in what went before and need a good, big, fat, visual cue. Not me though.  ;)

justice

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 04:18:26 AM »
I don't see how the choice to make it a big fat ribbon or nice slim toolbar would be worse for all people who use Windows and it's applications.
double the code to maintain making it more likely bugs creep in. if one is proven better than the other then why offer a choice.

Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 04:42:35 AM »
And like justice said, every user I work with and support has become far more productive when it comes to operation of the entire office suite as a whole, and as such my support calls are less for "How do I do X" "What menu is Y in?" "Where is feature Z?" Now, everything is presented in a nice organized manner.

justice

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 04:50:28 AM »
To be honest I think they should do the same with the configuration panel, the multiple view modes just make it harder to help and learn it.

40hz

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2009, 06:25:36 AM »
I don't see how the choice to make it a big fat ribbon or nice slim toolbar would be worse for all people who use Windows and it's applications.
double the code to maintain making it more likely bugs creep in. if one is proven better than the other then why offer a choice.

Because it hasn't been proven.

I'm a firm believer in heads-up computer use. I try to keep my hands off the mouse as much as possible. I vastly prefer key commands when I'm doing something - and I can 'prove' I'm faster and more productive by doing so.

So, does that mean everybody should be forced to abandon menus and start using what I know is the best, most productive, and ergonomic user interface?

 ;D

« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 06:28:50 AM by 40hz »

Carol Haynes

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2009, 06:47:13 AM »
No one is forcing the removal of keyboard shortcuts - most Office shortcuts still work in Office 2007.

Having said that you should be aware that vast majority of users do use their mouse to make selections so are you saying that MS should always tailor software from the small minority who prefer the old interface?

I agree that they should give the option of the old interface or the ribbon - the trouble is that adoption of the ribbon would then be minimal because people stick with what they know rather than learn something new. From the mouse driven usage point of view I was sceptical of the ribbon in Office but now I have used it for a while I actually like it more than wading through all the unlabelled buttons and cryptic menus in O2003 and earlier.

Regarding loss of screen real-estate it is a non-issue. The ribbon can easily be minimised so you can effectively work with an almost full-screen document view until you need the ribbon visible. This means that the ribbon is actually potentially more screen efficient than earlier incarnations of office.

Having said that the pointless addition of ribbons to other software (such as the one that started this thread) is very annoying but I don't think ribbon interfaces should be blamed per se - it is a stupid design decision for that product.

I do find when talking to clients that it is easier to help them with the Office ribbon interface - it is far easier than trying to describe a button image on an old style toolbar. It is also easier for clients to remember where things were because the interface is fixed and not constantly changing (as the default install of Office 2003 and earlier did - menus that organised themselves according to usage, a plethora of toolbars that may or may not be visible with buttons that may or may not be visible by default).

Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2009, 07:01:52 AM »
Good point carol, I keep forgetting that the ribbon can be set to auto-hide. This makes it take up far less space than the old menu system and toolbars of O2003. I think people are just complaining about the ribbon because it is new. It is like everything else. Windows XP was complained about for it's "Kindergardenish style" interface. Now it is actually enjoyed by almost every user. People are afraid of what is new. The linux generation likes to complain about Microsoft and anything they change because it makes things more difficult for their community. People get used to what becomes standard in Windows. Thus, people are less likely to switch.

40hz

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2009, 09:15:35 AM »
No one is forcing the removal of keyboard shortcuts - most Office shortcuts still work in Office 2007.

Having said that you should be aware that vast majority of users do use their mouse to make selections so are you saying that MS should always tailor software from the small minority who prefer the old interface?


Not at all. I was just replying to Justice's comment below:

if one is proven better than the other then why offer a choice.

My comment needs to be read within that context. I am definitely not arguing for a return to the command line.

-------------

Carol:  Yes, I am both well and long aware that most users do prefer to use a mouse. And no, I am not saying that that should be taken away from them. That's why I included a LOL bixie at the end. ;)

Lutz_

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again! - Classic Menu for Office 2007
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2009, 10:13:08 AM »
Somehow, the frequently mentioned "clients" seem to be a different type of people, than the ones working in our office/lab. I have not found anybody appreciating the Office 2007 interface; actually several people are using the classic interface addon, which is available here:
http://www.addintool.../english/menuoffice/

I am complaining about the ribbon, because it means more clicks to get things done. I do not see how its current implementation enhances the intuitiveness of the operation.  Instead of obscure menu items I am now looking for obscure ribbon items; the latter ones have a more complicated structure to them.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 10:18:57 AM by Lutz_ »

Carol Haynes

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2009, 10:59:14 AM »
We'll have to agree to differ then. I am sure a lot of people who opt for the classic menus add-in do so because it is easier than trying to use the new interface. It is all a matter of familiarity as far as I can see. Certainly in Word I find the ribbon has command grouped in a fairly logical manner - and at least every thing is static so from a support point of view you can tell someone where to look and at least you know it is going to be there!

Have you ever considered using the quick access toolbar in Word 2007? You can add any (and as many) buttons to that as you like so for features you need to use regularly you can put them in a place of prominence and have them a single click away.

f0dder

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2009, 12:20:03 PM »
I haven't used Office2007 enough to say much about it's use of ribbons there - I'm running OpenOffice on my own boxes, and only deal with Office2007 when mucking around with friends' computers. My initial impression, though, is that I have to hunt around a lot to find the things I need, and some of the things I need aren't placed in the ribbon at all. I quite liked the "personalized menus" of older office apps, since it meant that the features I need were available with very few clicks.

But this thread wasn't about office, Josh. It was about other applications following the insane "so ein ding muss Ich auch haben" pattern, including the ribbon bar just because they can - not because it actually makes sense for that application. And while I can't rule out that I might adjust to the ribbon in Office2007 if I had to use that bloated piece of crap, I certainly object to including it where it doesn't make sense - like that solitaire game, or in the windows calculator.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2009, 12:50:18 PM »
I quite liked the "personalized menus" of older office apps, since it meant that the features I need were available with very few clicks.

It is still there in Office 2007 - just look at the little toolbar on the title bar. You can cutomise that to add as many buttons as you want.

I really do think the big problem with Word 2007 (and the other ribbon based Office apps) is that many people who have used Office in previous incarnation lose patience within 5 minutes because they can't find things were they used to be. Spend a few hours with the programs before you condemn the ribbon interface completely. Things are arranged with a certain logic and actually many things that you don't apparently see are there - you just need to open up the 'more option' box for the relevant section. The toolbar search addin is a great help in the early stages of transition as it tracks things down by searching for the command text almost instantly - and not only gives access to the command but also tells you where to find it next time and what the keyboard shortcut is. See http://www.officelab...s/Pages/default.aspx

Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2009, 01:09:12 PM »
The ribbon, as a whole, I feel provides a much better user interface. The user is presented with the options they want with minimal clicking and they don't have to dig through sub-menu after sub-menu. While some applications might not make sense to add a ribbon to, I feel that a good majority will benefit from this system.

I think the main reason we are seeing it in as many applications as we have is due to the fact that consistency is desired across the OS. Why have menus in some applications and ribbons in the other? Give the user consistency. I know, in my experiences, my family prefers consistency rather than having to use different systems. The ribbon is efficient as many of the options are up front, whereas the menu system can be tedious and intimidating as it does not present the options a user would expect in a place they would to find it.

Deozaan

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2009, 11:04:02 PM »
The Ribbon is "okay" in Office 2007, though there are things that I absolutely hate about it there. But as f0dder said, the Ribbon is completely unnecessary in the calculator and probably doesn't make anyone more productive in a Solitaire game, unless it annoys them so much they stop playing Solitaire and do some actual work.


phitsc

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2011, 06:34:33 AM »
I've been using Word 2007 quite a bit lately and have actually started to appreciate Ribbons. Most of my complaining about them is gone. After getting used to them and learning a bit where to find stuff I think they actually are superior to menus and toolbars for some kinds of application.

One thing that really helped me was reading about why Ribbons are how they are, e.g. this article:
http://msdn.microsof...ibrary/cc872782.aspx

There are still a few things which I don't like about Ribbons, e.g. how much vertical space they use. What annoys me most is that galleries are not semi-transparent. When they actually cover what you want to live-preview, it kind of misses the point.

Josh

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Re: The Ribbon strikes again!
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2011, 07:05:29 AM »
Josh reminded me of this one, so I shouldn't be too hard on the Ribbon:
 (see attachment in previous post)

April, is this you?