Paradigm shift in Software UI Navigation Design

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I must say, Its hard to just download a new version of a software you use for your day to day task and have the UI totally different from the previous version. Users go in shock and start pulling their hair. I’m talking about this because my team is try to introduce the ribbon bar into our organization in relation to softwares built in-house in which the concept applies. Its hard to explain to users what the ribbon concept from Microsoft is really all about. With that said, I want to make the initiative to educate uses of the paradigm shift. Software design and delivery has been changing since its beginning with very drastic changes. That is because the need of users 2o years ago and that of now are very different. Take for example, the first version of MS word probably has more than 100 features less than MS word 2007. You will ask, well, so what? That doesn’t call of a UI paradigm shift. Well hold on. I did a test by asking people what they used word for and what they wish MS word could do. The result was amazing. A lot of the features people were asking for had actually been implemented already, they just didn’t know who to go in Word to find it. There you have it. We have users that use 20% of features of a piece of software and keep asking for features that are already satisfied. Why?

“It because the software is not working for you. The software is working with you.”

The idea here is to make your $$$$ work for you instead of go to help section and half the time not finding what you need in plain english. We need a proactive software. A software that thinks for you based on your context. A software that reduces the learning curve. A software that give you all the options. In plain word, we have now come to the point were we need a discovery software. After 1-3 days of users using Office 2007, they really come to appreciate the idea and thought put into designing the ribbon concept and I will encourage other software companies to do the same. I know others hate it because its from MS but in my line of work, I have come to use something if it benefit the client and throw it away if it doesn’t. In this case, I pretty sure this concept will save users a lot of hassle. I use heavy featured softwares like Photoshop, Flash, Visual Studio etc and if all these softwares took up this concept of proactive software design, I’m sure it would have take me all these many years to become proficient in the above listed products.

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