As we have seen from the UI in the Windows Live Wave 3 products and the leaked Windows 7 M3 screenshots, Microsoft is moving towards a more typographical UI. Which means they are eliminating all icons from the user interface and moving towards a more textual user interface, as can be noticed from the following screen shots:
In keeping with this new UI philosophy, the next version of Office, code named Office vNext, too will have a typographical user interface. And I have exclusive access to a screenshot of a very early version of this UI!
I present to you the Home tab of Word vNext!…
Compare this to the Word 2007 Home tab:
As we can see, Word vNext’s Home tab is really easy on the eyes and makes the user concentrate on the task at hand rather than the user interface itself.
Now, this redesign of the Office vNext UI is in a very preliminary stage and Microsoft is looking to eliminate all icons, including the Office button. Microsoft is also looking at bleaching the UI with white or shades of white in keeping with the new design philosophy.
Since Microsoft never makes drastic changes to the UI without some kind of feedback, it is believed that the new typographical user interface philosophy is driven by extensive user group study data.
Microsoft has not yet finalized on this user interface model and is further investigating ways to make the user interface even more typographical. Their ultimate aim is to hit the clear, confident and disconnected user interface of the classic MS-DOS editor, edit.com.