Employees Still Flummoxed by Office's Ribbon

Four years after the debut of the "ribbon" interface in Microsoft's Office suite, businesses are still leery of it, a recent poll found.

The interface, which first appeared in Office 2007, features a wide, ribbon-like display at the top, replacing the drop-down menus, small icons and toolbars Windows applications have had for decades.

Forty-five percent of the more than 950 IT executives, managers and staffers Dimensional Research surveyed identified user training on the ribbon as a concern, said analyst Diane Hagglund. That's more than double the percentage who said they were worried about the software's stability and reliability, and significantly higher than the percentage who voiced concerns over non-ribbon training issues and add-on compatibility problems.

Despite Microsoft's claims that training issues are overblown, users still knock the ribbon in Office 2010, which came out months ago, and the just-shipped Office for Mac 2011.

Only 20% of the organizations polled have rolled out Office 2010 so far, noted Hagglund, who pointed to increased complexity on the desktop as a potential reason for the delay. "It's just getting tougher and tougher" for IT staffs, she said.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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