Office for iPad Design Manager Talks About Design Process

Office for iPadMicrosoft's design manager for Office for iPad has posted an interesting piece discussing the company's design philosophy behind the software.

The software, released back in March, has been well received by both users and critics. It's seen more than 27 million downloads and has already seen a significant update to add features that weren't ready for launch.

Han-Yi Shaw writes about the scenarios that the team imagined Office for iPad users would find themselves in, as well as the user experience goals they had:

- Familiar Office experience, with no learning curve
- Unmistakably Office, optimized for iPad
- Immersive and removes distractions
- Document content, not UI, takes center stage
- Experience is always beautiful, fast, and fluid

The purpose of a familiar Office experience is simple: a low learning curve and high user confidence. However, it’s just as important to strike a balance between “unmistakably Office” and “platform optimization,” which means optimizing for iOS platform conventions and touch-first user expectations. The most important, yet challenging, goal was finding the sweet spot between the essence of Office and iOS. Fortunately, since the Office for iPad and Mac team (formally known as the Macintosh Business Unit) is made up of Apple platform specialists, we were able to apply our deep knowledge of Apple platforms to the task.

The piece talks about how Microsoft redesigned The Ribbon -- the control strip at the top of all Office programs -- to mesh with Apple's design philosophies following the release of iOS 7. "That meant stripping out extraneous detail," said Shaw. "If there was a visual treatment or text label that wasn't absolutely necessary, we stripped it away."

Old and New Office
The full piece is an interesting peek behind the curtain for designers and anyone interested in how software used by millions of people gets built.

Office for iPad is available from the App Store. [Direct Link: Word, Excel, PowerPoint]

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
89 months ago
Based on the screenshots, it made "designing" the UI a lot easier.

"Should we add some borders or shadows to distinguish between various tappable areas?"
"What, no! Next thing you know, people will want graphics or something to go along with them!"

I personally cannot wait until design becomes so simple, intuitive, refined, beautiful, gorgeous, (insert denigrated aesthetic term) that our homescreens are white backgrounds with a list of unformatted text. Ahhh, that'll be something…

(http://i.imgur.com/VpYGPUS.png)

</misplaced anger>
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
surfingarbo Avatar
89 months ago
I really like the green, blue, and orange colours Microsoft use for each app. Both classic and modern at the same time. Great design work.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
89 months ago
I will say I like the pre iOS 7 ribbon better but nonetheless word and excel are great apps on the iPad.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sky Blue Avatar
89 months ago
The new iOS 7 version looks ssoooo much better

new Office for Mac please :)
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deluxeshredder Avatar
89 months ago
Note how the pre-iOS 7 ribbon defers to content much better than the "modern" one.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nep61 Avatar
89 months ago
Its just to bad you have to pay a subscription to use Office on the iPad :( Because of that I won't touch it.

I think we're all going to find a LOT of software for Mac / PC / iPad etc. going the way of subscription.

Remember the days of buying a program on disk... using it for a long while and eventually deciding to get the next updated version-- (2 years later !)

Now, Adobe CS is Subscription based, AVID MC is going that way it seems, MS Office is that way now... It's the ONLY way to have a continuous revenue stream for these companies.

It's Sad, but soon, with the cost of the hardware, the cost of monthly data and the cost of subscription based software... who will be able to afford today's technology ?!?!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...