After using Google Chrome for several months now, I have started to become critical of how many other programs display the information at the top of their window (typically the menus). I even set about installing about 5 add-ons to make my Firefox look exactly like Chrome … and then I just shook my head and realized I should just be using Chrome.
In particular I’m going to look at Microsoft Word 2007 in this post but I’m sure it applies to most of the other 2007 line of products (Powerpoint, Excel, etc). So check out what a typical Word doc looks like …
Now, the content may draw the eye, but try to focus on the top header and the “ribbon”. The very top of the window (where it says Document 2 – Microsoft Word) has four functions as I see it.
- “Home” orb button. This has a lot of the behind the scenes extra menu stuff.
- Save, undo, redo buttons, with the option of adding more.
- Document title and “Microsoft Word” text
- Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons
I have a problem with this because a lot of that information can simply be combined with the menu below it. The orb doesn’t need to be that big – it can be smaller. Also, the text saying “Microsoft Word” seems a bit redundant in this day and age where the usage of this program to make documents is ubiquitous even across the Mac/PC divide. The minimize, maximize, and close buttons can also easily fit down below. So – with a few moments in Photoshop I have created the following redesign of Word following some ideas from Google Chrome.
You get that extra little bit of screen real-estate (virtual-estate?). What do you think about this design? Is it a weiner or a loser?