Microsoft Office 2013 UI

We just moved to Microsoft Office 2013 at McGladrey, from Office 2007. There are certainly positives. Native mp3 support is nice. Embedding videos is handy. The ability to display two instances of PowerPoint on two different screens is welcome.

But mostly it just seems like more button clicks to achieve the same ends.

And some of the UI choices are baffling given how seriously Microsoft takes UI testing and consistency. This one tripped me up briefly today.

8-28-2015 11-59-53 AM

In Lync 2013, I wanted to insert an emoji into an instant message. Quick, in the picture above, which button would you press to add a smiley face?

If you said “the smiley face,” you would be right there with me, except I clicked on the bright yellow smiley face, not the grayscale smiley face, and it took me a second to figure out why I was brought to a page asking me for my feedback about Skype. (The fact that I was being asked for feedback about Skype and not about Lync is a whole different issue.)

I understand that the monochromatic smiley face is the one closest to the relevant text field, which is why it would have been the best choice, but that doesn’t make it right to have two different controls that do entirely different things have the same image. Sure, I figured it out, but the unexpected result meant I was no longer focused on my content but instead on the interface, which is exactly what you don’t want an interface to do.


2 thoughts on “Microsoft Office 2013 UI

  1. Ellen

    I just saw that Hennepin County Libraries have updated their public computers to Office 2013. From what you say here, I’m guessing their support people will be kept busy!

    1. robertmulcahy Post author

      It’s funny–a year or so ago when the Hennepin County Library system had its massive website overhaul, I came away with kind of the same impression as with Office 2013. There were definitely some good changes, but overall it felt like more button clicks to do the same things.


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