Day two of usability training today and we had tremendous fun designing a user interface using a combination of paper, glue, post-it notes and index cards. It was a highly tactile experience and the training room ended up looking like an explosion in the Blue Peter studio. It's a methodology that turns our usual design process upside down, where we usually concentrate on shoe horning as much functionality into the system as possible rather than focussing on the key tasks that the typical user actually uses.
One very revealing slide was a bar graph showing a count of the number of functions available in Microsoft Word, starting with modest number in Word 1.0 to the hundreds now available in Word 2010, most of which most people never use. I have now reverted to using the plain simplicity of Google Docs for most of my word processing and spreadsheet work and rarely find things that I can't do. As an aside, does anybody like the 'Ribbon' interface or find it a useful way of grouping functions? Anyone? Bueller?