What's wrong with menus?
I *like* menus. Why slavishly follow Microsoft (or fashion)?
Anyway, at least with Firefox, there will either be an easy way to get them back, or someone will soon write a menu plug-in!
Mozilla is planning to radically overhaul the “dated and behind” Windows version of its browser’s user interface by considering the introduction of a Microsoft Office-like Ribbon in its Firefox 3.7 release. The outfit said in planning documents that it might drop the current menu bar in the Firefox UI for version 3.7. The …
I have to admit I quite like the idea, although more for a change in the Links toolbar which I use quite a lot, I have about 20 shortcuts on there and just the other night I was wondering whether some kind of Ribbon/spinning toolbar would be sensible, or maybe I could just buya wide screen monitor to make them all fit....Of course if a plugin is available for the current version of Firefox, feel free to let me know.
this is what kde4 has done:
1. decide they know better than their users
2. decide to fix something that for the majority of users ain't broke
3. try to copy microsoft's perverse idea of what a good user interface is
...hence after 10 years as a perfectly happy user of kde i'm now moving to gnome.
google chrome anyone?
Mozilla planning to implement something like "efFluent" ribbon bar in Office 2007 - great idea, that'll make it totally useless for users!
Still at least - according to the article - this'll be an option (unlike the crap forced onto the world by Orifice 2007)
Seriously, here'll be one part of the Mozilla community that'd vote "no" if asked.
Personally, if they've got spare developer cycles, why not make FF more stable and a little bit faster - not that I'm complaining at the moment, but it never hurts to be "better". Oh, and address the memory footprint that some have complained about.
But whoever invented that bloody ribbon should be hung by it.
It's the main reason people I know prefer older versions of Office - it looks shagnasty, and it's just plain horrible to use.
If there was a 'throwing up' tag I'd use that, but there isn't so I'll have to settle for 'fail'.
Not only do we have to spend half an hour updating our software every time we turn our computers on, we are also to be required to learn new interfaces every third day. Luckily I no longer use the damn machine for anything very important, but it must be a burden to those who are still trying to do useful work.
I'm not the only one who thinks that the ribbon sucks.
I'm not a stupid person. One of the things I do is get paid to figure out how to use software and then instruct people how to use it themselves.
Clients with Office 2007 think the ribbon sucks as much as I do.
To hell with the ribbon, I think it's completely un-intuitive.
With a menu, you go through until you find something that looks like what you want to do. Every time I am forced to use the ribbon on a client's machine, I can't figure out where anything is.
I'm on Outlook 2007, but the rest of Office is 2003 here.
I don't want a Firefox ribbon forced on me. At least give me a choice.
I absolutely HATE the Office ribbon.
Safari *has* a menu bar. Last time I checked chrome does too.
If mozilla starts to look like IE7 I'm dumping it and looking for something else. Why can't mozilla look like mozilla? What's with the desire to carbon copy microsoft even when their offering is a total disaster? IE7 is a bear to use, compared to any other browser out there.
At the moment, no comments have been posted, so let me see if I can summarize the salient points of this thread before any show up:
1) Firefox has become bloated and inefficient, and the developers should go back to the 2.x/1.x/0.x code base.
2) Opera did it first, back in 1975.
3) "Windows sucks anyway so this is just one more reason to use FreeBSD Linux."
4) Generalized Ribbon interface hatred followed by repeated posts pointing out the obvious fact that changing back to the menu-driven interface will be simply accomplished by switching the theme.
I'll check back later to see if I missed anything.
Whatever you do, make it an option! The ribbon is horrible in everything I've seen it on, and having the menus as an option lets people get a proper interface back. It shouldn't be too hard to do either (particularly since every other platform is apparently going to stick with menus.)
"Microsoft debuted its controversial Ribbon interface that it prefers to dub 'Fluent' in Office 2003."
The ribbon debuted in Office 2007. I will never forget it, because all those who insist on punishing themselves and refuse to transition to the simple task-based interface provided by the ribbon all continue to use Office 2003.
Seriously, the ribbon in Office is a huge annoyance. When I went to a, pretty basic, UI design course, one of the items they touched on was not to show/hide command objects too much based on user input. That was mostly intended to keep menu items visible, if grayed out, rather than hiding them willy-nilly.
Anytime you choose a different header in Office 2007 the whole ribbon goes all over the place and it is difficult to remember how a particular function is accessed because you have to activate the header items (Home, Insert, Page Layout, etc...). Granted, maybe "approaching" middle age is baking habits into my neurons, but I just don't see much gain for the pain. (I am no fan of KDE4 Plasma either).
I hope FF know what they are doing. It should help that a browser's command set is simpler than Office's. But, if they are keeping the menus in *nix and OS X anyway, why not leave ribbon/menu as a user preference in Windoze?
"Microsoft debuted its controversial Ribbon interface that it prefers to dub “Fluent” in Office 2003."
I am sure that a tonne of people have pointed this out already but err, didn't the bloody ribbon start with Office 2007?? 2K3 has standard menu bars with a sorta blueish / orangey colour scheme (and kinda rounded) from what I recall.
Please tell me this is a bad dream... I hated the office ribbon, so much so that i'm still using office 2003, i hated it in office, i'll hate it on my web browser. i'be been perfectly happy with my firefox, perfectly happy! *sigh* but now i guess i'll have to start looking for and testing a suitable replacement... this sucks Mozilla... cant you just leave my browser alone?
There are already themes available for Mozilla Firefox that can make it look just like IE7, missing menu bars, combined forward/back button, everything. I can also make it look like Safari on the Mac Aqua interface.
That's the beauty of Firefox. Not only is it themeable, people build themes for it and give them away.
There is no reason for Firefox to overhaul the interface in such a manner if it isn't across the board. Why mess around with cross-platform visual compatibility? As it is now, if I screenshot Firefox running on Windows XP and Linux with GNOME, they look almost identical. That's how it should be. That is what cross-platform apps should strive for.
If they do butcher it down, they should provide a way to bring the menus back like IE does.
Words fail me - horrible, just completely horrible. About the only idea I don't object to is combining the stop and reload buttons.
Combining 7 menus into two - well why not combine them into one and go 1 better than IE? (I'm joking of course). I can't quite work out, should "copy" be under Tools or the Page menu, because it's a tool, and you do it to a page?
I was hoping to leave a comment on the Firefox webpage, but as it seems to involve editing a wiki page instead of just sending an email, I can't be bothered.
If it comes to a browser near me, I'll have to change browsers :-(
I spend half my day trying to find the things that used to be on the menu bars in office programs and vista's bloody explorer bastardisation. Things move when I am trying to click on them, are sometimes where I expect them to be (and where I last found them) and other times not.
Perhaps the interface is fine, and it's too much beer on my part!
Seriously, if the menu bars go, I'll find another browser, and I really like FF, and have used it since it's first release.
Fuck Mozilla. I'm done with them for now. Back to 2 for me.
When someone comes along with half a brain and a team with some design sense won't someone please give me a ring, yes?
I want a browser. A fast browser that renders websites properly. A faster browser that renders websites properly and has an intuitive interface. Also, a nice plugin system and a lowish memory footprint.
That's it. Nothing else.
Fuck you, Mozilla.
I am not a big fan of the ribbon (though I dislike Apple's insistence on retaining the top-of-the-screen menubar a good deal more) but what REALLY gets my goat is 3rd-party applications that diverge from the parent OS UI standards. Camera manufacturers are particularly good at this and I am soooo glad they don't release their crappy file-system-obstificating 'enhancements' for my OS of choice.
While I only use MS-Windows (and MacOS) at work (ie when I am being paid to) I prefer my apps there to have a consistent look and feel for their platform. So Kudos to the Mozilla devs. for acknowledging that, for-better-or-worse, this is how current iterations of MS-Windows look.
The ribbon is about the only thing I like about the recent versions of Office. Now if someone would make it more customizable and allow me to place it at the BOTTOM if the application window instead of the top then I'd be very happy. Then if I could do that with ALL windows I'd be in interface heaven. I have a large screen and it would be helpful if everything was closer to the taskbar. I moved the taskbar to the top of the screen but it doesn't seem right up there.
I am glad to hear that the linux version will dodge that bullet for a while, but its certainly going to appear sooner or later which is bad. OpenOffice is threatening to implement a ribbon liek interface as well, and again after playing with the preview I cannot see the upside to it at all.
The section being quoted is about the direction of applications in general in reference to not showing the menubar. This is used as justification to remove the menubar for Vista and later (under a section about hiding the menubar no less), not about adding Ribbon to Firefox.
I realised many years ago that many users are clueless, and most menus showed far more things than they were ever likely to use (yet alone understand).
I've been arguing that there should be a simple toggle available between "expert" and "simple" modes in most applications for some time, perhaps this would help address the issue.
Paris, because i'm sure you can guess which mode she'd use.
The ribbon is far easier to use than bloody menus, nearly every function you need is a couple of clicks away, not deep in some menu system.
Microsoft supposedly developed the ribbon because they asked users what they wanted Office to do, and discovered that people were asking for things that Office already did and they didn't know were there.
So which is it? Do we put all the features in easy to find places or hide them in menus because some people are used to that?
Firefox used to be the bee's knees. When I first tried it it was amazingly fast, efficient and offered a wealth of customization. Over the years though it's got slower and more bloated, while the main competition (IE) has caught up with it. Now have they given up trying to break ground and lead the way? Are they going to just ape Microsoft's castoff UI features while adding more bloat?
The other thing that rankles for me is the lack of choice. On my netbook I have a firefox extension that hides the menu and puts it into a button in one corner. That's great and it's my choice then to have the menus or not. Why not leave them there and give the choice to move them? In fact why not just bundle that extension?
In the meantime, chrome has come out of left field and is as fast and effective as firefox used to be. If only they'd hurry up and make a linux version I'd be a convert! I know chrome doesn't have a menubar, so I would be losing the very feature I'm lambasting firefox for removing, but chrome has never had it, and that's their choice. Chrome is still a decent browser regardless of not giving me the choice to have a menu.
Though I still can't shake the feeling that google browser is going to unveil some shady behaviour in the future. Possibly involving adverts.
I guess I'll watch the space. It'll be a sad day for firefox if they do go with the crappy MS-fawning ribbon bar.
The Office Ribbon is a great piece of UI for me. I like using it very much and I welcome its addition to Firefox. This is one area when my PC is superior to my mac which not only stick to traditional menus, but still populates them with useless junk.
The only thing missing in Ribbon is a feature search box that would let you find a function by its name.
"Argh! He's on the wrong tack, and so are you!" [HMS Pinafore; Gilbert & Sullivan]
What is this constant craving for more acre-age? We MUST HAVE more screen space available for rendering? Sez WHO?
How about KISS? Keep it simple, Stoopid!
I am already over a lot of news sites which clutter up the screen space with so many stupid little things (and I haven't even started on the adverts!)
Having seen a few iterations of Office, I can understand the Ribbon being a replacement for a heap of cluttered menu bars.
But that was because dreary old Office decided to mount six menu bars in the screen real estate before showing you the top of the blank page - where you actually typed.
In older screens with resolution of 800x600, that left you with about a Ribbon of typing space, right? And that was just too much like the old mechanical typewriter, wasn't it? :-)
Icon none - who needs to clutter up the space?
What is so bad about the ribbon/fluent interface? In term's of UI design it's pure genius! It's usable, clear AND fast. I can't help but think that the majority that complain about it are just upset because they had got *used* to menus and tool bars - a sort of "fear change" reaction disguised by abhorrence. Yes, it does slow you down to begin with, but give it a chance! Perhaps the normal users will require "some" training - which, afterall, they are supposed to be provided with fairly regularly. They'll get quicker, more efficient and eventually wonder what all the fuss was about.
So the 75% of us that can eat without injury get to suffer for it.
1) It's always there. Hogging the top of the page. I'd quite like to use that for my content, not interface.
2) It's so large because every function is assigned an icon. When it gets to the point where 200 functions have icons, the icons are no use, which means,
3) you have to read the text which takes too long because it is scattered about randomly by the icons. Your eye has to skip around and can't track - say a nice column of text. Even worse,
4) the text is compressed into a small box so you have to mouse over...and...wait...for the tooltip
5) Even MS gave up and put everything you need under the Button->Word Options menu. Where everything takes another 2 clicks to find making 4 clicks to make a change you need.
For the power users give us hotkeys, or mouse gestures or something - anything to make things *quicker* instead or *easier*.
The perfect browser interface for me would be like Google Chrome (clean and lean with the tabs on the top), except for with a Firefox search box. IMO the main reason that there is no search box in Chrome is because the evil Google empire wants you to make it harder for you to switch search engines through their monobar.
Growing up, when I'd do something daft in imitation of one of my siblings, it would get met with a retort.
"If they ate shit of a stick, would you?"
Who says that a classic interface is dated - One man's dated is another's elegant.
Having struggled with the ribbon in Office 2007, I find it a breath of fresh air to return to the simple, elegant interfaces of Firefox and OpenOffice (another product that has been having this discussion).
Very easy to predict the first Add On for Firfox 3.7 - it will be one that applies a classic styling to it allowing you to dump that ribbon.
I HATE the IE bar, I can't FIND a damn menu half the time now it's hidden (on the RARE occasion I have to use IE it due to some moron website writer.)
I Also hate the ribbon effect, the menu option I WANT is ALWAYS hidden ffs.
Don;t do it FF, please don't be like IE, people like FF because it ISN'T FF!!
Wait a minute. Obviously they are not thinking! If they were, they would know how counterproductive the ribbon concept it.
Menus work because they are simple and people can hunt if they have to find something. Re-organizing menus would be good. Adding features to menus instead of requiring about:config would be good.
Dumbing it all down with a ribbon would be an insult..
I agree w/ the consensus: Why they would copy the worst trend in user interface design since the trackball is beyond me. I am "Vistafied" that anyone would think these real-estate hogging ribbons with icons on them are an "improvement" over menus and toolbars. The good news is that for those of using relatively stable, efficient operating systems (i.e. pre-Vista MS, or Linux) we'll still be able to use Firefox w/out a whole lot of retraining on how to use exactly the same features, just differently.
Menus bars are perfect at their job, in fact it's why they were invented. They follow good principles of GUI design. Everything is in theory 2 clicks away. They can have a keyboard shortcut next to them for advanced users to get common commands quicker. If you don't know how to do something in a program, it will be in the menus somewhere. New users can probe the menus trying to find what they want to do, or discovering new things. It takes up only 1 line, but provides a lot of functionality. It's perfect, tried and tested.
The ribbons they added in the latest version of office are an absolute travesty. As an experienced user of MS Office, it takes me significantly longer to do things that I could do easily in previous versions. There doesn't even seem to be much logic behind what appears where, because to save space they've had to cram things under peculiar categories. And it just takes longer to use than a menu anyway, even when you do know where something is. When you don't know where something is, it's not as fast as browsing a menu. It's a lot harder to take in the information scattered over the ribbon in a disorganised way, compared to just a line of text in a menu that can be scanned over easily.
And, of course, they take up MORE space. I thought the idea of removing the menu was to save space. I hate it so much. I prefer the classic versions of Office over the newer versions so much. I really think they missed the target with this one. OK, everyone's looking for the next thing, trying to innovate. But this isn't it. I wish they would drop it and say, 'yeah, actually, menus are perfect for that job'.
Having recently been moved to Office 2007 at work, I have just started with the Ribbon and can see why people do not like it. Mainly for me it is because of the difference and it is not easy to get used to, as well as taking up so much space. I know you can minimise it but, then you have to open it each time you want to use it.
That said in my own browser, Opera, I have only really been using the menu bar to get to preferences recently, and as Opera 10 now allows the menu bar to be hidden, a button on the tab bar replaces it, I have played with this and have not missed the menu bar, preferences for example is the same number of clicks away, just in a different place. Not missing it is however only because I can customise my other tool bars to get the functionality I need.
I think this is the biggest problem with Ribbon, you can't customise it, well not easily by a user anyway, for your own needs, whereas with tool bars you can.
A well thought out Ribbon, with the menu bar being replaced by a single button that gives the menus back, that is also customisable for personally most used features, that takes minimal screen real estate, is I reckon best. What are well thought defaults for the Ribbon though ?
The problem with IE7 wasn't that they removed the menu bar, it was that they did a shitty job of *replacing* it. The menu bar provided a way to access functionality, and MS provided no simple, obvious way to access much of that functionality without it. And Google did an even worse job with Chrome - a year after release I still can't figure out how to do a lot of things I want to with Chrome.
*IF* Mozilla provides a good way to access all of the functionality provided by the menu bar, then good riddance to it! Menu bars are almost inevitably cluttered, and take up more screen real estate than they're worth. That's a big 'if', though.
(We now return you to your regularly scheduled chorus of idiots whining about having to use a better interface because it's different from what they learned in 1993.)
So they are going with the dual interface design, giving me more bloat without functionality. What's the percentage of users on Vista and 7 anyway about 10%?
And seriously, the goal here is to reduce my File/Edit/View/History/Bookmarks/Tools/Help menus down to 2 buttons? Not that I like apps to waste screen space but I don't see this recovering much, my menu bar is only about 15 pixels high. You could recover more by getting rid of the stupid TV remote look on the toolbar and going back to small rectangular buttons.
Still running 3.0 anyway.
"The Office Ribbon is a great piece of UI for me. ... This is one area when my PC is superior to my mac which not only stick to traditional menus, but still populates them with useless junk.
The only thing missing in Ribbon is a feature search box that would let you find a function by its name."
The "missing Ribbon feature" you speak of just happens to be one of the bits of "useless junk" that your Mac has in every app's "help" menu (since Leopard, AFAIK).
If Google or Apple had developed the Ribbon it would be hailed as the greatest thing since Xerox Parc Place developed the WIMP interface in 1980. I'm old enough to remember when all computers had were paper tape reader/punches and a drum and you could watch the memory bits flip -- I've had no trouble adjusting to the Ribbon in Office 2007.
The only people who think Moz will use a Ribbon in Firefox are journalists and the like. If they bothered to READ the Moz wiki's where these things are discussed then they'd find almost no talk of doing so. There's a lot talk of Chromifying Firefox, such as putting the tabs at the top of the Window; an equally daft idea, those who suggest it obviously don't know Fitt's Law.
MS has guidelines for Ribbon usage -http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc872782.aspx#galleries - there are lots of do's and do not's - such as this one
"If your ribbon consists mostly of menu buttons when displayed at full size, you might as well use a menu bar"
If they're going to windows-ise the windows version a bit, how about support for group policy, and picking up user-installed SSL certs?
oh, and have they fixed that bug where the browser cache is stored in the roaming part of a person's profile instead of the local part?
Personally I Like reading comments, but articles like this and others simply become a tirade of votes with various levels of cutting comments. I think its about time El Reg developed a poll widget for such articles - oh and for the record, my vote is a tick in the "Microsofts Ribbon Interface is the worst interface ever concieved since the dawn of man" box
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One key advantage of Chrome's UI is that it reduces the number of vertical lines used up by the browser. 16:9 and 16:10 widescreen monitors are becoming more and more common, and they play havoc with the old UI model using lots of vertical lines that works fine in 4:3. It's not just the menu bar - it's also the title bar, the line containing favourite bookmarks, the extra lines installed by various 'helpful' applications... All useful if you've got the vertical screen-space, quite annoying if you have a widescreen monitor. For me that's the key reason why Chrome is superior to Firefox on my laptop. And I agree with @DavidSimpson1, the MS Ribbon is a red herring.