Good design/bad design

Nielsen, J. (n.d. b). Ten usability heuristics. Jakob Nielsen’s website.
Retrieved October, 2011, from


I don’t believe I will go on a ledge to say that most people will unreservedly agree with me that Microsoft Office is one software package with a great design. Due to the stardom success of the software it seems likely that the design team places a great deal of effort in usability research before creating any new version of the software. Today I just want to take a brief look at Microsoft Office and highlight some of the features which I think contribute to its great design. To achieve this I will use some usability heuristics as outlined by Nielsen though I may fall short of a trustworthy evaluation since a good heuristic evaluation requires at least three people.

Microsoft Office 2010

Visibility of system status
I think that Microsoft has done a brilliant job in highlighting to users exactly where they are at all times. By looking at the tabs, a user can easily know whether he is on the home tab or on page layout.

Consistency and standardsIn my opinion Microsoft has established the standard for document editing software. In terms of consistency, in office 2007 the location of the file tab was changed, which at first made it difficult for some users to save their documents. In Office 2010 they have brought back the much desired file tab.

Help and documentation
 If you need some help just go to the file tab to access the help menu.

User control and freedom
Existing MS Office is as easy as clicking the red x button in the corner or clicking the file tab and selecting the exit button in the menu.

Aesthetic and minimalist design
This has been achieved by the use of butcons, combutcons, latching butcon ect

These are just a few of the heuristics I used to evaluate MS Office and from the results I can confidently say that they characterize software with great design.


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