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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Office 2013 icon #rant

I recently down upgraded to MS Office 2013.  And so I went through the process of customizing the menus/ribbons/action panes/ whatever-they're-called-now things along the top of the window.  I like to have both the open and close icons handy and in plain sight.

That's when I noticed that the icons had substantially changed from the 2010 version.  Here are the icons for open and close in MS Office 2010:

Notice how the arrow for open points to the right, and that for close points back to the left.  They are similar in that regard to the do/undo buttons for editing text:

That makes sense to me.  And it is consistent within the icon scheme.

But in office 2013, someone felt it necessary not only to "update" all the icons, but in fact to substantially change their appearance.  While the do/undo icons have remained similar,

the open and close buttons have change to this:

The open button (on the left), has no arrow at all.  The close button (on the right) has reversed the arrow's direction.  In fact, the close icon looks more like the old "open" than the old "close".

What is Microsoft thinking?  First, why in the world must we have changes to the icons with every release.  Second, if you do feel the need to change the icons (it's progress, you know), then at least don't contradict your previous non-verbal cues.  I'm unable to articulate how frustrating this is - how utterly pointless and unproductive these changes are.  To think that there is someone at MS who actually gets paid to come up with this stuff... 

My final point, then, is that if MS feels the driving need to update its icon scheme with every new software version, then why does it keep the same old save icon, which is a picture of a 3.5" floppy disk?  Does anyone under the age of 20 even know what that is?

Rhetorically, then:  How is the world made a better place by the new office 2013 icon scheme?  And if it's not, then why did MS bother to spend the time, money and effort to change it?

Thank you, I feel a bit better now.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Heard on the radio, March 6th talking about positive vs. negative feedback (my paraphrase):

Use positive feedback to build commitment from others toward the mutual goal.  But once the other has ‘bought in’ to the goal, positive feedback has diminishing returns – how much more committed can one get?  At this point, shift to negative feedback.  Negative feedback is more effective at influencing the behaviors of experienced and/or committed stakeholders in a shared goal.

I find this to be true for me – I want to be encouraged as I start a new endeavor, or if I’m unsure whether I’m ‘part of the team’.  But once I’m firmly established in a team, additional encouragement loses its effectiveness.  It feels forced or fake.  Occasional encouragement is nice, but not too much.  However, if I’m called out on a mistake, I become quite determined to prevent that from happening again – I work more diligently to make sure I don’t ‘let down’ the team.