It is not possible that Microsoft tested this monstrosity with any group of users that have to work on a computer day in and day out, five days a week. I can say with complete certainty that my organization of 16,000 people will NOT be upgrading to 2013.
Ever. We'll ride 2010 until it dies and then look for another productivity suite that actually enhances productivity. If Microsoft has developed one by then, they may see money from us again. If they continue trying to push tablet technology on business people
who work primarily on desktops, then emphatically not.
I've read many, many comments about 2013 by now because when I first installed it to begin planning to train our users on it, I couldn't believe how bad it was. Both visually and in terms of productivity. The expectations for a student or home user of Microsoft
Office are very, very different than the expectations of a business. Students and home users have the luxury of time to adapt to new software. They haven't invested literal years, decades, in mastering the previous iterations. They're more mobile than business
users and more likely to access their documents on multiple platforms. Their needs are NOT the needs of the business community.
Every time Microsoft changes the UI, that costs lost productivity while everyone in the organization re-learns where things are. Which is why you don't change things for the sake of changing them, or move them unless there is a very clear, compelling reason
to do so. Every time we have to retrain our people, or they have to Google how to perform a function they used to do with a keystroke, that costs us money. That is a LOSS to our organization. It creates unnecessary stress for our workers. Business users who
have been working with Office for decades have the right to expect that their software won't be an actual impediment to their doing work.
Do you know why there was such resistance to the ribbon? It's not because people were old fuddy-duddies who hate change. It's that what used to be accessible with one click now took three. The ribbon meant instead of clicking one icon on an admittedly very
busy menu, now it took two, or even three clicks--assuming we remembered perfectly where a particular function was. The "smoother, cleaner interface" that's so lovely for tablet and smartphone users is HORRIBLE for productivity because Microsoft
keeps adding more clicks to every task. Count the number of clicks a user had to perform with 2003 versus the number of clicks for 2013. That click counter keeps edging higher. Productivity is my business. I get paid to notice these things. The operations
with a forty thousand line spreadsheet that took fifteen minutes in 2003 take twenty minutes in 2014. You can call us dinosaurs all you want, the numbers do not lie. That's three tasks accomplished per hour rather than four, 24 rather than 32 per day, for
ONE user. This is not one problem child user. This is all of them.
Consistency has been another casualty of that "smoother, cleaner" tablet-friendly interface. I opened Excel 2013 just now. When I right-click in a cell, I get a text "paste special" option. When I open up Word 2013 and right click, there
is no text that says "paste special." Just an icon. Which, based on 2010 and 2007, MIGHT open up a menu, or it might paste some unpredictable portion, unformatted text, formatted text, or maybe HTML, of the thing I copied.
That means I have to stop what I'm doing and LOOK at the menu. Paste special is no longer a thoughtless operation for me. NOTHING in Microsoft Office is a thoughtless operation anymore. The menu changes from Word to Excel to PowerPoint, the ribbon changes
depending on screen resolution, so there is no way to develop that muscle memory users used to have in 2003. Even better, with this new "clean" and COLORLESS interface, I have to stop and figure out what application I'm in to guess where the function
might be. The mental process is, "wait, where did the paste spec--oh, I'm in Word, not Excel, I have to go up and click the paste special icon on the ribbon to find my "paste special" text." This is just ONE function. Almost every single
function in these programs varies in placement and presentation from 2007 to 2010 to 2013 and then varies further from Word to Excel to PowerPoint. I occasionally conduct training sessions for new employees and have to tell them, as I demonstrate a process
on an overhead projector, that my screen might not look like their screen due to the differences in resolution. They will have to hunt for the icon I clicked, which might have gotten smaller and compressed or even have lost text, forcing them to hover over
the icons to see which is which. I say again, there is no POSSIBLE way that Microsoft is talking about these changes with actual business users. Actual business users would have screamed bloody murder.
Expecting companies to keep retraining their users, expecting long time users to constantly have to re-find the functions they knew perfectly again and again every few years is ludicrous. Making me tell a user running the same software sitting five feet
from me that his "ribbon" may not look like mine is insanity. It used to take two hours to get a group of new users up and running with Excel. It now takes four, almost solely from running back and forth to point out the picture, or icon, OR text--you
never know which!--corresponds to the one I clicked.
Office 2013 takes the existing productivity issues of 2007 and 2010 and makes them even worse. Others have already mentioned the difficulty in telling which window is the active window. Anyone who tells a productivity expert to request all the users in their
organization go customize the tools panel of every Office product they use should be dragged out into the street and shot. A productivity suite that has to be extensively tweaked and customized by the end user to allow them to be productive? Who on earth imagined
that would be acceptable? A productivity suite once that once was the standard among businesses because it could be mastered and because functions WERE standard has been redesigned to appeal to the people who are by definition amateur, and Microsoft wonders
at the furious reaction? How about making your productivity suite productive? If you design for amateurs, your customer base will BE amateurs. And amateur users are a fickle bunch.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:23 AM