The simplified ribbon in Microsoft Word with fewer commands like bolding and italicizing text and adding color. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft is redesigning Office, making a series of small changes that the company says add up to a simpler and more customizable experience to the productivity suite’s more than 1 billion monthly users.

In an interview with GeekWire, Jon Friedman, general manager of design management and operations at Microsoft, said the changes are meant to reflect the changing dynamic in the workplace. By 2020, Millennials will be the dominant age group, but several generations will share offices, and each group works in its own way, Friedman said.

Jon Friedman. (Microsoft Photo)

“The context of the world is changing dramatically, and while we’ve grown up with these productivity experiences that we’ve grown to love, I think there is a broader set of people we have to adapt to,” Friedman said.

Across Office apps, users will notice a more streamlined ribbon — the bar of commands at the top of the page. The three-lined ribbon has been reduced to a single line in the redesign. Microsoft added more differentiation and pops of color to those command icons to make them stand out.

Microsoft is highlighting the most common commands, such as replying to a message in Outlook, or marking text bold in Word. Friedman said 10 basic Outlook commands are used by everyone and make up 95 percent of all actions. The customization comes in for those other less common commands, giving users the ability to pin their favorite actions to the ribbon.

“We designed something that gave people out of the box the 95 percent of what they need and gives them the flexibility with the 5 percent that makes it their own,” Friedman said.

The evolution of Office icons. (Microsoft Photo)

Users have the option of going back to the …read more

Source:: GeekWire


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