Four UX goals ONLYOFFICE achieved with the tabbed interface

A big step in the evolution of ONLYOFFICE editors has been made: we introduced the completely new tabbed interface of our editing suite. Continue reading to learn how the new UI was developed and how it makes the workflow more intuitive and slick for an ordinary user.

1. Ensuring the intuitive navigation

Tabs basically sort the instruments by their primary functions. The user is completely aware of where to find text formatting tools, where to change the layout and where to access the third-party services.

More, commonly used order and composition of the tabs ensure the smooth transition from other editing solutions. We decided upon a classic layout of the tabs to make the experience cozy for users who are already familiar with Ribbon and other tabbed toolbars:

2. Reserving bigger click areas

As each tab is responsible for a limited group of tools, work becomes faster and even more psychologically comfortable with simplified, spacious clickable areas. If you are working from 11" screen laptop using touchpad, this is tangible.

The separation of the instruments into individual sections let us increase the size of the most used instruments to make them more accessible. This was particularly necessary with Review features which migrated from the status bar: we left the context menus behind significantly reducing the path to the elements. Same worked well for Insert and Layout instruments that were tightly compacted in the main toolbar and had distinguishable, however, rather small icons.

3. Keeping the elements more informative

For maximizing the utility of the interface, not only the physical interaction is worth revising. Bigger buttons provide more room for captions and icons making the work much less stressful for less experienced users. The interface is far better off being consistent and providing the immediate understanding of what stands behind each button:

Insert tools in the old text document editor
Insert tab in the new text document editor

4. Accommodating the growing functionality

As solutions keep gaining new features, a single toolbar cannot cope with so many elements. Sooner or later it needs to be reorganized, otherwise small icons and overwhelming diversity of tools can become a big burden for healthy work process.

In the upcoming versions we are going to concentrate on further enhancement of the bar. The collaborative toolset will receive an own tab and slightly expand. Besides, we are already forming some completely new sections for document security and writing tools in the text document editor.

We appreciate any comments and suggestions for those of you who had a chance to check out the new ONLYOFFICE suite. It is already available in the cloud version, and will be really soon launched for on-premise solutions.

If you are reading this but have never tried ONLYOFFICE, do it now for free.