I had been refraining from comment, but might as well add my own two (2) pennies
My biggest complaint with the ribbon is screen real estate - it takes a significant amount compared to a menu or even a toolbar. (That's generic, not application specific, btw.) And while you folk without vision impairment might well be able to discern each discrete icon and recognize its function
, older or visually impaired folk may not have that luxury
. Oh, yeah, those same icons are not
intuitive, they have to be learned
But my biggest gripe is screen real estate
. Recently discontinued a program I'd been using for years for that very reason. They added a ribbon which stole a minimum of four (4) lines of vertical dimension. That's four (4) lines of information that can no longer be viewed w/o scrolling. OK, the ribbon can be minimized
to some extent, but that's just more work - clicks, shortcuts, or the like - that has to be done, consuming more time that could be devoted to the project at hand.
MS was notorious when I was in IT for changing the menu structure in every new release of Office, and the ribbon strikes me as one more unwarranted change, just so you'll know it's a new version. I can see some usefulness in, say, a graphics program, but for me and some of my contemporaries, it is a production hindrance in most of the software that we've seen utilize it.
That said, there are also a number of folk known to me that absolutely adore it. To me, it seems a lot like the Web 2.0
groundswell, where everyone had to convert their sites to a new format and appearance lest they seem behind the times, change for the sake of change. That has never been a good reason to alter a working UI.
In the long run, I'll prolly have to live with it, just as with Web 2.0. And, as Renegade has pointed out, it's like the old Miller Lite beer commercials of, "Great taste!! Less filling!!" But as long as there's a choice, a menu system (with a single-line toolbar, if available) will be my choice. I want an interface that does not get in the way.