It's a new year!  Happy 2006!  I hope you were able to enjoy some time off with family, friends, or maybe just catching up on some reading, video games, woodworking, cooking, football...

If you're back in the office for the first time today and finding it hard to concentrate on "real work," may I mention that the full video from my BayCHI talk last month at PARC in Palo Alto is now online.  It requires a relatively recent version of QuickTime to view on Windows (let me know if you find another way to play .m4v files), but the quality is good and it contains my slides, demos, and of course, embarrassing video of me canvassing the stage.  If you don't have time to watch the video, you could also grab the audio podcast or just the slides from the event to peruse at your leisure.

Thanks much to Steve Williams from BayCHI for working hard to get the slides, audio podcast, and video of the talk posted so quickly.

In order to get us off to a good start in this new year, I worked on a reorganization of the blog to make it easier for to find previously posted articles on a particular subject.  With new people coming every day to read for the first time, it can be hard to "get up to speed" just by browsing month-to-month.

In particular, I introduced a number of more descriptive categories and re-categorized all of my previous posts into the new system.  To see the new categories, look in the "Post Categories" section in the right-hand column (you might need to click the triangle next to the title to expand the list.)

The All Office 12 UI Posts category is the most inclusive category.  It contains all the information I post about Office 12, plain and simple, omitting only the few non-Office 12 posts I make (such as giving out tips about using current versions of Office.)

Contextual UI includes posts about context in interaction design, including context menus, Contextual Tabs, and the MiniBar in Office 12.

Cool Office 12 Features will have the continuation of the series I started last month of new features I think are cool in Office 12.

The Developer category will continue to contain information about add-ins and programmability with regard to the new Office 12 user interface.  Much more about this area is coming soon.

FAQ: This is where I'm going to put posts that answer questions people frequently ask about the UI and also information to counter some of the popular myths about Office 12.

Fonts: This is where posts about fonts and typography issues in the Office 12 user interface will go; you can read several posts already about the new document and UI fonts in Office 12.

The Galleries category contains tons of information about galleries, Live Preview, Three-Stage Formatting, and all of the Results-Oriented Design concepts in Office 12.

The History category contains any post with interesting historical tidbits, including stories about previous versions of Office or other software.  Basically anything I think has an historical perspective.

Keyboard is the place to look for information on keyboard-related issues with the Office 12 user interface.

I don't make many Off-Topic Posts, but occasionally I get the urge and when I do, you'll find them here.  I mostly use this category for one-off messages (such as the one letting you know I would be On Hiatus for two weeks...)

Ribbon is the place to learn all of the nitty gritty details about the Ribbon--what it is, how it works, etc.

Tips and Tricks includes useful tidbits about using Office--interesting features or explanations for how things work that might make your life a little easier.

The UI Design Issues category contains general thoughts about designing the user experience of software.  Usually, I tie it in to some specific aspect of Office 12, but generally the ideas are more universal.

Usability is the place to read about the usability and research efforts around validating the Office 12 user interface as well as usability slants on interaction design.

Why the New UI? contains posts explaining why we thought it was the right time to introduce a new user interface in Office 12.  This includes a lot of historical and statistical background on the way Microsoft software and Office in particular developed over time.

I hope the new categories will make it easier for you to find the article you're looking for on return visits to the blog.  Also note that each category has a RSS feed associated with it--just click the "RSS" link next to any category to subscribe to it.

I've also made a few minor improvements to the site, including (hopefully!) fixing the issue many people were seeing with corrupt posts on pre-XP SP2 versions of Internet Explorer.  If you're still seeing problems, please let me know.

Here's to a fun and productive 2006!