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Diagrammatic documentation for ribbon computing in Microsoft Office

Author(s): Kaveh Farbeh-Tabrizi

Journal: Journal of Applied Computing and Information Technology
ISSN 2230-4398

Volume: 17;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Classroom documentation | learning difficulties | technology | computer education | ribbon computing

In 2007 Microsoft changed the graphical user interface of MS Office, and moved away from the long -established drop down menu approach to a ribbon graphical user interface. There have been mixed reactions to Microsoft's ribbon interface. Ericson (2006) mentioned that even the experienced user might have difficulty adopting the interface, and Dostal (2010) concluded that the biggest issue with the Ribbon User Interface is to get accustomed to a redesigned user interface. Reaction to this change was negative among our new and current students. For years the students had tried to memorise how to apply the right commands in Microsoft Office applications by selecting the correct items from the dropdown menus of the WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) interface, and now that they were confronted with the new interface their confusion had begun to slow their progress down. The major effect in transition from the traditional WIMP interface to the Ribbon interface had created a difficulty for most students who had their original training with the older versions of MS Office software, as they were not able to locate the commands that they had learnt with the earlier versions of the MS Office in the new Ribbon interfaced version. The shrinking nature of the ribbon that would hide some commands on the ribbon when the resolution of the screen changes was also confusing for those students as they could not quickly locate the command they were looking for because the Ribbon had compacted them to save space. For both new students and also more experienced ones, the approach to learning the Ribbon Interface seemed to be difficult due to the fact that they had to memorise the hierarchy of tab names, group names and then the commands. This led us to enhance our current teaching methods to try to deal with this change.
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