Beta 1-derful: The 'Top 30' List

As you
may have seen,
yesterday evening we released Office 12 Beta 1 to our technical beta
testers.  We finished up build 3417.6 last week and declared it to be Beta
1, followed by a few days of media verification (testing the CDs)
and getting it ready for download.  As I write, our 10,000 technical beta
testers are furiously downloading the product.  After two years of intense design,
implementation, and iteration, this is a milestone the whole team is really
proud of.  Brian Jones did a great job of summarizing
of the achievements and goals of the release in his blog today.

The product team in Redmond had a party last Friday afternoon to celebrate. 
Our hard work was rewarded by a number of vegetable crudite platters, several
hundred Swedish meatballs (too bad Raymond
wasn't there) and a tray of pablum potato skins.  (What did you expect?  It's
only a beta.)  The stereo system was
pumping "Ice Ice Baby", and people were lined up around the edges of the room like a junior high dance.  Unfortunately, after waiting 10 minutes in line I finally got to the food and
found out I was supposed to pick up a plate before I got in line.  So, I
just gave up and went back upstairs to work.  People who showed their ID to
get alcoholic beverages got "Beta 1" stamped on their hand, which I thought was
a nice touch.

If you are lucky enough to be a beta tester for Beta 1, please respect your beta
test agreement and post feedback only through the private
beta newsgroups you have access to and not here on my blog.  You'll get me
in trouble!  :)

If you're didn't get selected for Beta 1, that's OK.  You can keep reading
about the new user interface here; there's a lot I haven't covered

I've been blogging long enough now that many of the questions I receive through
e-mail are covered in posts from the past.  With more people reading every
week, it's only natural that not everyone will have read everything I've

So, in honor of Beta 1, here are the top 30 articles you should read if you
want to familiarize yourself with the user interface changes in Office 12. 
If you read these 30 articles, you'll have a good start at understanding what
we're doing, why we're doing it, and how we're validating it.

Consider this list a "best-of" from my first two months of blogging.

Posts about the Ribbon and how it works:

- Enter the Ribbon

[It's All About Context](../jensenh/its-all-about-context)

Posts about Galleries, Formatting, and Results-Oriented Design:

- I'm In Louvre! (Galleries: Part 1 of 3)

[Visualize Whirled Peas (Galleries: Part 2 of 3)](../jensenh/visualize-whirled-peas-galleries-part-2-of-3)

Why did we make a new UI for Office 12?

- The Why of the New UI (Part 1)

[Ye Olde Museum Of Office Past (Why the UI, Part 2)](../jensenh/ye-olde-museum-of-office-past-why-the-ui-part-2-2)

The philosophies, ideas, and design tenets behind the new UI:

- Mythbusters: The Office 12 New UI

[Be Willing To Be Wrong](../jensenh/be-willing-to-be-wrong)

Usability techniques and validation of the new UI:

- More Than Just the Two-Way Mirror

[Usability Redux](../jensenh/usability-redux)