Microsoft offers more info on how it designed Office for iPad apps

Microsoft's release of the Office apps for Apple's iPad has been a big success so far, with over 27 million downloads and counting since they were released in late March. Today, the company offered up some insight into how the Office for iPad team designed the apps.

In a post on the Office blog, Microsoft said that instead of porting Office to the iPad, the team's design vision was to start from scratch. That included determining which Office commands would work with the touchscreen tablet and which would have to be left behind. The blog stated:

For example, creating unweighted cross-tabulations with PivotTables on your way to work or adding cross-references to masterpieces like War and Peace on the commute home is not how most users use their iPads.

The team wanted to adapt the familiar ribbon user interface that's available in the current desktop versions of Office applications to the touchscreen iOS environment. One decision was to place the ribbon inside the iOS navigation bar with only a single set of commands so that users would not be hit with a ton of different commands and features at once. There's a lot more detail in the blog post and is a must read for people who are really interested in how design and UI decisions for software are made.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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7 Comments

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This is actually an awesome bit of information from MS, really shows how much detail they have been putting into their products.

I was blown away by the surface reveal, and just how many things they'd considered (and since addressed with the Surface 3) as well as managing to keep it so secret. Also with Windows 8. I've always liked it but since update 1 - daaayum! It's amazing. From a design perspective the iPad office version is also really cool.

I love getting an insight into how these things come to be and the reasons they are the way they are!

warwagon said,
Hey look. It's 4:3 ... looks productive to me.

I don't get this. What does resolution have to do with this article?

Next time Microsoft (or anyone) makes an app for a device that is in 4:3, we'll be sure to add horizontal strips of black at the top and bottom just for warwagon so he'll be more productive in 16:9.

warwagon said,
Hey look. It's 4:3 ... looks productive to me.

What is that supposed to mean? I don't get it either...