Office 14 and the evolution of UI design

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Ars Techinca's pictures of Office 14's user interface shows Microsoft extending their Ribbon interface onto more products in the Office suite. While I find Ribbon to be fairly easy to use it has just as much of a learning curve to remember where everything is as the old trim toolbar/menu items. While live preview is a cool feature undoing things isn't exactly rocket science.

The interesting thing for me in the screenshots is the increased focus on making programs really make use of available space. The default screen for Word uses basically a 3, or 4, column layout that lets you a ton of things at once, however at the cost of pretty much requiring the user to full screen the window to perform any action.

Although everything is subject to change what does not appear to be changing anytime soon is the amount of window chrome that goes on all MS applications. As a matter of personal taste I much prefer Safari and Google Chrome's approach of keeping things as far out of the way as possible.

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