We’ve had a lot of articles about web happenings recently, so it was high time for some good old client-app talk. Office has had its share of missteps in the past — the most notable of course is Clippy (although some would say it was this guy’s idea). That asidie, Microsoft Office 12 is starting to make some waves and there’s already buzz and FUD about all the UI changes that are coming. The UI has changed pretty drastically, and it has inspired a recent alertbox entitled “R.I.P. WYSIWYG”.
To summarize what has changed, toolbars and menus are gone. Instead you have the ribbon, which offers collections of tools centered around major tasks, and special contextual ribbons based on the type of object selected. New context menus and floaties help to bring useful verbs close to selected objects. There is also live-previewing which allows people to easily try permutations and options without having to commit changes. Lastly, many shared features have been standardized, and non-authoring features have been moved to a separate area. If you’ve got 40 minutes to spare you can watch the Channel 9 interview here (which is the most complete description of the changes that is publically available).