Change your Outlook and get a new Office today!

I finally installed office 12 on my desktop a couple of days back and loved it so much that I now have it in all my desktops and my laptop J. Not that I have deep dived into it ..but the very look and feel made me feel like …

“wow – I would love to be in the usability team of this!!”

Now- obviously it’s a considerable change in the user experience and some terrific usability studies must have gone behind it. That set me reading Jensen’s blogs which talks tons about office 12 and the history of usability and the usability studies and then that made me feel like…

“wow – I would kill to be in the usability team of this!!” J


Anyways – for those who haven’t yet got a taste of what all is instore- here are two of my favorite things (till now cause I haven’t yet seen much)..


1. Preview it before applying it – remembering trying to figure out which font would look best in your document and then going through the cryptic list of “Abadi MT condensed light, Algerian, Arphic Kaisho Medium……..” and applying and then reapplying ? Come Office12 no more! Look at this – I select a text in my document and then simply hover on the options either in the drop down list of fonts, font sizes, heading styles and whatever ..and it actually shows me a preview of what would the text look like. No more guessing, no more reapplying – cool isn’t it?


2. Another pretty useful thing in outlook. Yes I know there is this “Reminder” pop up which keeps popping up 15 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins prior to a meeting – but maybe its just me but for some reason – I just loathed it. .and almost always hit ‘Dismiss All’ without even thinking twice. Yes and I have almost missed a lot of my meetings too (not a good idea when you are a Program Manager in MS – c’mon you draw half of your salary because of meetings!). Another frequent problem that I used to have was I would almost always forget some late night calls that I needed to have with the Redmond folks. They used to send invites a week back – and the reminders were supposed to pop at 10:15 pm my time but how would it when I was getting ready to sleep with my laptop safely tucked in my bag!! Well..with office 12 - so much easier..I have this cool sidebar which always shows me all the appointments I have for the more relying on pop ups to remember what’s in line today.


Oh BTW and I love the ribbon..though I am sure there is much more to it but I just remembered once when my dad (not exactly a tech savvy guy) was all bewildered over the phone asking me how some options from his toolbar had “just disappeared” and he was completely blocked and worried that there was some major problem with his MSWord. The fact that he hardly knew what each icon was used for is a different story altogether..he just knew a couple of them like B U and maybe a couple more. Come ‘ribbons’ I am sure a lot of his problems will be solved ..with the cool tool tips and getting rid of the cluttered old menu and toolbar – I just cant wait to show him this . It just makes me wonder - there might be a organisations in this world who would be hiring as smart or maybe smarter people than MS, may work on maybe as cool or even cooler technologies, might be as or maybe more innovative..but..usability studies and user experience - MS rocks!(I dont want to sound like a typical loyal employee - but this is what I have always felt ..even before I joined MS and get convinced about it more and more each day!)


Go change your outlook ..and give a new look to your office as soon as you get a chance!