The UX of Office 2010 (first look)

I couldn’t help myself.  I downloaded and installed the Office 2010 technical preview.  It’s definetely not baked all the way through, but it clearly shows the direction Microsoft is going.

The big news is that Outlook now has a ribbon.  Additionally, they have made some significant changes to the Outlook UI.  There are two very welcome features that I noticed.  First is that there is automatic threading of messages now.


I didn’t realize I needed this until I used it.  Now it’s much easier to keep an entire thread together.  I used to have to search to find the related messages.  I am very happy using this feature.

The second feature I just love is something kind of silly.  Often I paste into an email and get annoyed because I don’t want to keep the formatting.  So, in the past, I clicked Paste – Paste Special – Text Only.  Now, as you can from the image below, you can click under the paste button and click Keep Text Only.  It saves me exactly one click.  However, I really love this feature.  It’s the little things that make you hate or love a product.  This is a delightful little thing.


The rest of the office suite (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) all behave about the same.  I haven’t really run them through the ringer yet.  I had some trouble using PowerPoint with an older version of SharePoint.  Apparently, there is tighter integration, but our version of SharePoint is pretty old at this point.  I have been moving my documents to a share to try and wean myself off SharePoint completely.  What I really want is a Microsoft version of Google Spreadsheets.  I want multiple people to be able to edit at the same time online.  I have no idea, NO IDEA, why Microsoft doesn’t make SharePoint available as a direct competitor to Google Docs.  Use the same pricing structure.

So overall, Office suite seems to load quickly and have some nice features.  The coloring is very washed out, but maybe they will address that.

8 replies on “The UX of Office 2010 (first look)”

“It saves me exactly one click” is kind of misleading. You save about 400px of mouse-moving, too; with the second target being much closer to the first, thats quite a difference.

Not really that important in this case, but in general I think we too often don’t talk about mousemovement. When I argue “this saves 1 click” it doesn’t sound as worth as when I could say “this saves three interactions”, where three interaction consist of one click and two mousemoves that require more then a few pixels of movement.

How would you call that?

“interaction” isn’t a good name of a unit, as it natually consists of multiple actions.

Also “action” doesn’t seem to work well, as most probably consider moving the mouse somewhere, then clicking, as one action.

Good points Joern. Hmm. In the spirit of “Don’t Make Me Think”, the user has to think:
1. I want to paste text, where do I click? (think-move-click)
2. Now I want to click special because that is where the text-only option is, where is that? (think-move-click)
3. Now where is that text-only version? (think-move-click)

As opposed to:
1. I want to paste text, where do I click? (think-move-click)
2. Now where is that text-only version? (think-move-click)

And since the second #2 is so close, you have to think alot less. It’s absolutely more optimal and the click is not strong enough to describe it.

It’s less thinking, less moving, less clicking. Less TMC?

How about “tick”? That is close to “click” (and close enought “action”/”interaction”), has a notion as a (time) unit, just one syllable.

In the above example, you could say, instead of “one click less”, “three ticks less”, just 6 instead of 9. Or, considering that the movement from the one icon to the next is so short, just 5 ticks.

If you are arguing about an interaction that happens hundreds of time per day, thats quite a difference.

Sounds like click though, people would misread. Similar to Thicks and Clinks. I often call these things splinters. Imagine using the application is like running your hand over the screen. A slow/bad interaction is like a splinter. Splinters are inherently small, but their pain and discomfort far outweighs their size.

A friend of mine describes them as small electric shocks. You get used to them, but they are still not pleasant.

Whatya think?