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Firefox Ribbon UI and Screen Space

As a follow up to my Office 2007 + Firefox article a number of people have commented about the vertical space that the ribbon could take up.

A couple comments...
- If you haven't used Office 2007 beta yet I highly recommend it.
- The ribbon is supposed to take a fixed amount of space so secondary features like tabs, history, bookmarks and other features should not generally take space from the browser. So as you use the ribbon it doesn't grow. This is a subtle but important difference from toolbars.
- There is a one click way to collapse the ribbon (clicking on the currently active tab) so even if it does take some extra space it's easy to toggle it back and forth.
- There are two approaches to tabs within this type of UI. The first would be to use a separate task/tab to manage multiple active documents. The second possible approach would be similar to what Excel 2007 does:

This screen is the second Office 2007 iteration that I did. It does things a little differently but explores the same concept. Key differences include:

  • Find / Clipboard area - This is largely ignored in most browsers because they assume that users know how to copy paste or use CTRL+F. The omission of these controls in the browser has undoubtedly caused beginners frustration.
  • Tabs along the bottom. - Having document navigation at the bottom may have some advantages. It's closer to the taskbar, this logically maps to switching tasks. It's more discoverable in how to create new tabs (IE7 does something similar). It's out of the way when performing general interactions with the Ribbon, and page body.
  • Added the zoom in/out controls to allow easy reading of documents and switching of views.
  • Horizontal scrollbar doesn't have to go all the way across. Since it's less common to scroll horizontally this shares space with the tab UI.

Stay tuned for part three of the article. (This wasn't it)

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.