I just finished watching the video of the presentation Jensen Harris gave at the BayCHI regarding the new Office 12 UI. The talk is well worth watching, especially for the demonstrations. The core tennents of the Office UI design team were worth repeating (or at least paraphrasing):
- Help people work without interference
- Increase the user’s sense of mastery through contextualization
- increase efficient access to features
- Consistency, but not homogeneity
- Give features a permanent home. Prefer consistent location over “smart” UI.
- Straightforward is better than clever.
Although clearly some of these are more applicable to complex applications like Office (I doubt anyone feels inadequate about their mastery of notepad for example), I still thought these tennents were usefull tools when thinking about UI. Recently I’ve been trying to copy some of the UI innovations in Office 12 like live preview, super tool-tips and the “mini-bar” in WPF, with fairly encouraging results. I’ll be sure to post some samples when they are decent.