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Are MS Office Ribbons bad usability and productivity?

I like Tabs, Toolbars and Menus but Ribbons I just don´t get used to ribbons. I have been using Office 2007 since beta and I like interface from the visual point of view but I think ribbons drops productivity since it gives me beautifully crafted interface where I cannot find stuff I want. Somehow I personally feel that on Office 2003 I was more focusing writing content when on 2007 I am formatting texts and spending time to finding out where is the function that was in in 2003 under Edit -menu….

The annoying thing about 2007 is that since Ribbons looks nice it kind of made me think that maybe I just have to get used to it and once I am familiar on it I will never want to remember older Office GUI. However, few days ago I was writing something on Office 2003 Word and I felt interface much more nicer than on Office 2007 Word and it has been now 2 years I have had 2007 on my computer. Ribbons simply aren´t  my cup of tea.

Office 2007 ribbon

Office 2007 ribbon

Also I am surprised about the lack of choice between “The Ribbon” and traditional menus in the new 2007 Office system. Like this guy I was planning to uninstall 2007 and reinstall 2003 but since I am not really using MS Office anymore (most of my documents are in Google Docs) I am keeping it and hoping someone at Microsoft gets rid of Ribbons on office 2009 it was nice try but doesn’t really work for me.

Maybe Ribbons are nice for new users who have no prior experience from Office platform but I would assume that power users and experienced users do like more minimalist interfaces. I would love to hear comment on this.

  1. You’re not alone. A lot of people who were “power users” in prior versions are frustrated with the ribbon’s inflexibility and the way it has vastly reduced customization options. The ribbon is a big productivity drain for high-powered offices, but its disadvantages are routinely dismissed by people who do not work under productivity pressure and who are easily titillated by pretty icons.

    The one interesting feature in 2007 is Live Preview, but it’s really only useful in fields like art or advertising, where visual experimentation is important — not for ordinary businesses that already enforce specific formats.

    Microsoft claims it redesigned the program according to input from users, but who do you know who would have said, if asked what they wanted, “oh yes, please change everything I’m accustomed to.” Microsoft says it monitored millions of users’ keystrokes and mouse-clicks, but most informed users and many system administrators would have immediately disabled such a resource-wasting feature.

    The ribbon is not only hostile to power users, it’s also hostile to anyone with imperfect eyesight, because its display fonts cannot be enlarged as with previous versions. Microsoft has never answered that complaint, and likely does not care.

  2. I have a feeling that Microsoft knows that Ribbons were bad idea but without Ribbons there would have been no sense to update 2003 Office. Maybe on next version they will have update that removes ribbons :)

  3. the ribbon concept makes no sense to me
    It is a confusing view. some icons are bigger, some smaller and placed somethere on the header.
    The copy icon is smaller than paste icon. but for which reason?
    the paste function hasn’t a bigger importance than copy
    I do not understand the ribbons.
    good 2 be a happy Mac User :-)

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