Goodbye Toolbar, Hello “Ribbon”

Microsoft Office 12 will feature a new interface called the ribbon. I’m not usually a fan of Microsoft interfaces, but this one shows some potential. Office’s hierarchical menus are definitely overloaded, and “Task Panes” are clunky. Moving controls that were formally buried in modal dialogs out into the ribbon should also make working with the interface faster. My only worry here is accessibility: plain menus and dialogs are very easy to access via the keyboard. Looking at screenshots of the ribbon makes me think using it with a keyboard would be awkward.

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