Thanks to a commentator on my other rant on UI, I’ve discovered Jensen Harris' blog. He’s one of the developers on Microsoft’s Office 12. He validates some of my complaints from two years ago.
My biggest complaint was that you can’t search an all-icon UI. Harris somewhat validates this claim in his blog:
Something we’ve known from usability tests for several years now is that most people don’t click on an unlabeled 16×16 icon. Sure, Bold and Italic and Center and a few others get a lot of clicks, but the curve falls off after the first 8 or so.
Thank you. I knew those rows of icons sucked. It’s nice to see some validation.
I think the “ribbon” idea that they’re showing has some real promise. If what Harris says is true, that the ribbon is the one and only one place to find functionality, then they will have excelled in UI consolidation.