Office 12 makeover takes on 'feature creep'
For years, Microsoft has been trying to add features to Office without them getting in the way of people who already know their way around the software.
Unfortunately, the company was a little too successful at making its innovations unobtrusive. In user testing, Microsoft found that nine out of every 10 features that customers wanted to see added to Office were already in the program.
“They simply don’t know it’s there,” Chris Capossela, a Microsoft vice president, told a developer crowd last week. “It’s just too hard to find it.”
Indeed, Office has become a case study for feature creep–the phenomenon in which a simple technology becomes complicated and unmanageable through the addition of new features. Office, which once had 100 commands neatly organized into menus, ballooned to contain some 1,500 commands located in scores of menus, toolbars and dialog boxes.
Having sensed that the software has reached the limits of functionality, Microsoft has been preparing its most radical overhaul ever for Word, Excel and friends. With Office 12, due next year, the company plans to do away with a system that depends on people remembering which series of menus lead to a particular command. Instead, users will see a “ribbon” of different commands above their document, with the options changing depending on the task. Microsoft previewed the new look for Office at last week’s Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles.
Full article: CNET News.com