Sometimes what customers want is not always what customers get. Take “Scout” for example, a little piece of Microsoft Research ingenuity that really helps users with the new Office 2007 “Fluent” interface. As religious as I am about the Ribbon and contextual interface, I suffer just as much knowing a feature exists somewhere in the application that I just can’t find in the Ribbon. I mean how do I know what context it’s in? And I’m almost certain I’m not the only one suffering.
Developed and distributed internally at Microsoft as a proof-of-concept, “Scout” solves the problem by offering a simple and straight-forwarding search solution. You basically type the command you are thinking of, and you’ll be presented a list of matching command buttons. And unlike commands in the Ribbon which are only a select few picked by someone else who thought might be relevant, this search goes deep into the application to find anything and everything.