New Office 365 2013 Preview: Interface


The new Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 2013 Editions have in common a new interface by Microsoft originally called Metro. This interface is named Metro after the system of signs on many Metro train systems where the typography is uniform and clear, and people can see universally what each sign means. There are less distracting graphic effects like the glass effect so popular under Windows Vista and Windows 7 and suddenly absent with Windows 8. Inspiration for the simplicity of the designs and the emphasis of content over graphic effect or, “chrome” was a combination of traditional Swiss graphic design and the signs of the Kings County Metro System in Washington, which have served to inspire Microsoft engineers in their creation.

Metro Bus Signs

The actual commands on the interface are the Microsoft Office Ribbon in this new iteration are almost the same as the Microsoft Office 2010 Ribbon that users have already had a few years to get used to. When they took away much of the graphic effects, the reading, navigation, and use became much clearer.

Metro Windows Explorer

Metro Word 2013 Interface

Microsoft Office 2013 is not the only product that uses this same interface with the bright white or gray ribbon at the top of windows with all of the menu controls. Windows Explorer on Windows 8 and most Windows 8 applications will have this feature. Microsoft Office 365 will have this feature as well including its’ use in Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Microsoft Project Server and eventually Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The progress with some products is faster than with others but Microsoft always works in a definite direction for a definite purpose. The purpose with the Metro Interface is to make clearer ways to navigate all kinds of devices, to have navigation on all devices happen the same way, and to get the world ready for the advantages of touch-screen technology while also improving the capabilities of the interface for the traditional keyboard and mouse.

There is a great deal of user resistance to the new user interface. We have understood that people may be unhappy with losing the start button. The good news is that an aftermarket programmed start button can be added on. Eventually, however, users have to realize that the start screen is an enlarged and more useful start button which is infinitely customizable to suit the user. Right now people do not see the close similarity between their start screen as they are used to it in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Once users accept the design, we feel it will be well accepted. The Windows Metro interface is a work of genius, and sometimes the value of genius takes a while to be appreciated by the public.

For help with new technology from Microsoft call upon the experts at the Web and I at 646-853-0573.

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