Thursday, August 21, 2008

Expectations of Knowledge

Microsoft Office 2007 isn't Word, Excel, PowerPoint of 1995. In the intervening years, hardware has moved on, in leaps and bounds. It would be silly to think that the software has had little or no significant improvement. Yet, it is not uncommon for Office veterans to figure Word skills are about Cut, Copy, Paste, applying bold and underlining. Or that Excel is about =A1+B1.

Yes, certainly beginners need to be brought up to at least that level of skill. And there are still people who cannot Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V with familiarity or dexterity. But the majority of people have long passed that hurdle. Some of them are youngsters from secondary school, some are themselves veteran business users who've worked in the office for a number of years.

The folks at Microsoft have their own interests to further - i.e. to keep revenue up by improving the product, keep ahead of competitors, cross promote and interweave their product range. In so doing, they really have innovated Microsoft Office 2007.

Office 2007 isn't just a typewriter to bang out words or a calculator to kaching numbers - Office 2007 significantly draws on superior hardware and facilitates visual expectations fostered by years of exposure to high res electronic and print output.

Office 2007 won't fulfill its design aims or expectations if we don't spread the knowledge of how to use it. Driving Office 2007 in the way that one would drive Word 1.1, Excel 5 isn't going to help the business user nor the business. It certainly won't help the IT industry as well.

Find out what Office 2007 does well. Do it soon.

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