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Does anyone know of any official studies or reports on user acceptance of the Ribbon UI introduced in Office 2007.

A quick search on the internet turns out individual-biased opinions that cannot be constitute as proper objective studies or reports. For example :

Joe User really hates the change blah blah blah Sally User didn't mind and in other senses really likes the ribbon blah blah blah.

I guess it's hard to measure acceptance of a feature since most people using office probably don't have the freedom to choose it on that feature alone (probably second to interoperability, de facto standards, previous history).

So I'm wondering: Are there some meaningful data point, such as support calls or lack of adoption in other applications?

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closed as off-topic by random May 19 at 3:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about computer hardware or software, within the scope defined in the help center." – random
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This seems more like a discussion then a direct question. Therefore I suggest you switch it to a CW or ask a direct question. Please review the FAQ. –  Diago Sep 16 '09 at 14:50
1  
@Diago - I think there is an answer to this. OP "wonders if there's any official study of the acceptance of the Microsoft Ribbon". He's not asking for our opinions or whatever, but whether do we know any official studies conducted. –  caliban Sep 16 '09 at 14:58
    
However it has to be clear for people answering, that he is not asking them to tell about their own experience, only about "official studies". If not, it will fall to a discussion –  Gnoupi Sep 16 '09 at 15:03
    
Allow me to edit then. –  caliban Sep 16 '09 at 15:06
    
@caliban : done it already, feel free to modify. –  Gnoupi Sep 16 '09 at 15:07

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are official studies vis-a-vis the new interface that is introduced with Office 2007.

However, if by 'official', you mean to be an exhaustive study based on an extremely large sample group drawn across a cross-spectrum of general population, then there are none. What studies exists, actually are studies within small targeted sample groups. I refer you to a couple here :

That said, the Ribbon has been actually widely accepted in reality, and has been shown to make accessible features that were previously hard-to-get-at by normal users, as well as add several features (like an expanded color palette instead of the old crayola ones - my staff has been really happy they can create business-like colors in their charts now) that really matter.

The Net, in a certain reflection of the real world, follows the modus operandi: No news like bad news. Also, anything new, especially dealing the way people work, is bound to face immense resistance in its infancy, then gradually growing up to be the norm. Human beings are creatures of habits, and we hate it when we need to change our habits.

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The enormous buzz around the ribbon makes it almost impossible to find data both objective and useful. See this for some objective reporting : Office 2007 Ribbon - An Analysis - Last Update July 2009.

Now I just wanted to share this little text I found (not mine! really not!):

I want to take Steve Balmer's car, switch the brake for the accelerator, move the radio buttons to the back seat, and the AC controls into the trunk. How do you think he would like that?

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That statement is extremist. The Ribbon does not layout options in totally illogical ways. Different, yes. Illogical, no. –  caliban Sep 16 '09 at 14:59
    
Have a source for the quote? I would like to know who said that actually. –  caliban Sep 16 '09 at 15:00
    
This quote was just for fun, guys! Don't start on me, please. –  harrymc Sep 16 '09 at 15:13
    
@caliban: this quote is by a guy identified as "Unhappy (not verified)" from networkworld.com article found on networkworld.com/community/node/22105. –  harrymc Sep 16 '09 at 15:15
    
-laughs- we are not pointing fingers at you, harrymc. Relax. just really curious as to if there is a named source behind this statement. Turns out to be no, as usually the case with extreme statements. –  caliban Sep 16 '09 at 15:19

Here is how I look at and have discovered about the ribbon:

We have two types of users to Office 2007, the experienced office user and the new user.

  • Experienced User: "What is this, they moved everything!" "I can't find anything, where are my menus?" Most people do not like change. It is not because the new system is good or bad, it is just different. It gets people out of their confort zone and they have to learn something new. Not all people like to learn new things. They are content with the old way of doing things.

  • New User: "I hope I can figure this out" "This is different from other applications" These are your people just learning the office applications for the first time. The do not know how things used to be or standards of the past. Everything they touch is a new thing to learn and this is what they will base their Microsoft Office knowledge in.

I have seen from beginner classes that people are picking up Office applications up a little easier with the new ribbon when most things are new concepts to them. There are some menus, but many things are accompanied by icons or visual representation of the action in the ribbon and not just endless text menues and sub menus. I think they learn quicker with the new ribbon.

Previous experienced users moved up through office 97 - 2003 easily as most stuff staying in similar spots and menus got longer and longer as features increased. Many users would really just ask "whats changed?" as they dont use 90% of the expanded features added on with each revision. Office 2007 was a show stopper for all these people as all of a sudden, even the simple users had to learn something new. Not everyone will like the new ribbon, but I think most will warm up to it and find it really is much more efficient and productive then the old long menus. I think menu's worked great in the beginning, but Office has become a massive application with 1000's of features and you have to come up with a better feature management system than just simple long lists.

I myself was a little put off by it at first, but then I found it to be rather useful and effective. This is from my tech support and friends in acadamia experiences. Remember to always look at issues/problems from every angle of all users before you call a new feature or way of doing things bad or good.

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