Microsoft plans to simplify the ribbon interface in Office 365 and Office Online. It will test the new interface with a number of users. The company is cautious about major changes to the Office interface.
According to Microsoft many Office users lean on “muscle memory” to find commands, and interfering with the interface could frustrate users. When it makes changes to the interface, users with a switch can always return, the company says.
The simplified ribbon interface takes two rows instead of three to make more room for the file that users are working on. . The change happens first at the web version of Word and for the time being will not work for Office on Windows.
There will also be a search bar that will give suggestions without searching about what the user might want to look for. These can be commands, calendar items or contacts. Office will try to guess what the user wants using algorithms. The new search function is first in the Outlook mobile app and comes to the web version in August.
Microsoft will test the way the new interface elements are delivered and adjust the design accordingly. Whether and when the changes will follow in all Office 365 programs is still unknown.