The Office 2007 Beta technical refresh that is rumored to be coming next week is supposed to have revisions in the new Office 2007 user interface. Microsoft’s Jensen Harris yesterday posted numerous screenshots (which were also shown at CeBIT) to demonstrate the changes and one new feature is immediately obvious. Don’t adjust your monitor, they really are shades of blue!
Today in Harris’ weblog, Brad Weed, Product Design Manager of the Office Design Group, explains why:
Blue is still the new gray
This is the first thing you’ll probably notice. After living with gray for awhile we (and many of you) felt like that was just a tad too retro. Here’s a major shift in our user interface with a color scheme that dates back to skinny ties and stirrup pants (although, mark my words, stirrup pants will be on the runway in the ’07 spring collections.)
We went to blue to provide a little more continuity with the last release while also blending with the XP surroundings. We’ll have an answer when the surroundings switch to Vista. A darker answer. If you end up hating one or both of the schemes, you’re part of the 1/3 that also hate it. If you love one or both, you’re part of the 1/3 that also love it. If really you don’t care, you’re part of the 1/3 that don’t care. I predict the same division with the stirrup pants revival as well.
I suppose one gets used to it, but it’s quite a shock at first. The good news, however, is that Office 2007 is skinnable. The bad news is that the other choice being offered is black. If the interface isn’t too obscure, I predict a market for 3rd party skins. More details on all the changes by following the links.