I Hate This Triangle

Microsoft Word 2011 is the program that crashes the most on my Macbook. To be fair to this edition, I need to say that MS Word 2008 was no better in this department. I got used to it and save my documents every minute or so. I understand that it’s not easy to develop application for the OS that’s not yours. Fifteen years ago Microsoft put Word Perfect out of business using the intimate knowledge of their own OS. OK, this was in the past, but I’m wondering what the UI designers of this hugely popular word processor were thinking about when they assigned three different functions to one little triangle on the toolbar?

Currently, I’m working on a 200-page document, and need to change the width of most of the paragraphs to 5.5 inches. To do this, I need to place the cursor in a paragraph (or highlight several of them) and drag this little triangle to the 5.5″ mark on the ruler. The text in the paragraph gets rearranged accordingly. This operation is about changing the right indent. The problem is that when you hover the mouse pointer over this little triangle, it reveals two other functions: Right Margin and Left Tab. So if you’re not lucky, instead of changing the width of the paragraph, the size of the page gets changed or this freaking triangle gives birth to a little bent black arrow (this is Left Tab) which starts moving on its own on the ruler without having any effect on my paragraph. The fact, that I do this editing while commuting to work on the bus complicates aiming on this triangle, which shakes a little making my User Experience even worse.

I wonder if Microsoft designers are preparing Word to be used on Tablets, where people will use fingers or styluses? They should completely change their attitude to the users. The majority of us ain’t no marksmen, you know. Give us some controls we can use.

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