Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
I am by no means a technology dummy, or one afraid to learn new ways of doing things. But I realized that in order to learn new things, the fastest way is to relate them to something I already know.
The Importance of the Familiar
One of the best marketing strategies for any new device is to make it similar to something already in use. This speeds people along the learning path, and reduces the frustration.
The same holds with software. There should always be a path for someone to learn the new skills quickly and easily. Microsoft did this with the first versions of Word, where it allowed you to use WordPerfect key commands to access features.
Office 2007 and The Non-Existent Upgrade Path
In the last six months, I installed Office 2007. Twice. I needed it to access files that were coming from another office where 2007 was the standard. In both cases, I uninstalled Office 2007 within an hour of installing it.
Because every program and operating system from Windows from 3.0 to present day runs on menus. You could count on print being under the file menu, along with exit. Microsoft actually wrote a big document on software standards so that independent developers could follow these conventions.
But with Office 2007’s Word and Excel, they did away following the conventions. The top “menu bar” shifts to “guess” what might be needed based on what you are doing. And there is no built-in way to put on old-fashioned menus to speed the transition. Sure, I could buy an add on. But when I wanted to do something quickly, I was left staring in consternation, trying to guess where things are hidden.
I don’t want the software to think for me. I want it to respond to what I do in a direct way.
So in Microsoft’s quest to make software more user-friendly, they actually made it user-hostile. But given the debacle with Vista (sorry, I agree with the Mac ads on this one, where Microsoft is putting more money toward publicity than actually fixing the problems), I would have thought they would have been cautious not to have another user nightmare on their hands.
Photo by paul_danger_williams