Microsoft Enhances Usability with Refresh of Office Web Apps

23 January 2014
Ben Logan

Author: Ben Logan

Passionate about improving services and experiences for the people that use them.

Microsoft’s Office Web Apps has now received a refresh, bringing a new user interface and additional useful features.

The Office Web Apps interface now sports a more flattened look, with improved spacing to make it touch-friendly – although it isn’t a fully touch-optimised UI, Microsoft has previously announced that it’s developing a version of Office that has been designed specifically for touch and Windows 8.1, so the latest enhancements are a step in that direction.

The most significant change to be noted is a new “Tell Me” bar that sits at the top of documents so that users can conveniently type out questions when they need document help. This differs from Microsoft’s TellMe voice service because the Office Web Apps “Tell Me” feature shows displays based on the specific query (it is also much easier to navigate than Microsoft’s traditional Help section).

Microsoft has further boosted usability by including the Office Web Apps in the navigation bar that switches between Outlook, SkyDrive, Calendar, and People sections, which makes the apps much easier to find from Outlook.com (they were previously hidden away in Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage service).

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