People care about the pixels a lot.
And why not? Few things elicit as deep of an emotional response than how something looks. Is the design pleasing? Does it fit my style? Does it fit its purpose? Is it beautiful? Is it
practical? Will it wear well with time?
When we first revealed the concepts behind the Office 2007 UI early last autumn, the initial feedback primarily consisted of people sharing their visceral reactions on how it looked. What about the gray... it looks a bit like brushed metal. Are they trying to copy Apple? It doesn't look friendly enough. It looks too friendly! It's too decorative. It's too plain!
Of course, as I mentioned even on Day 1 of the big reveal, the visual
appearance you've been seeing is only temporary. Yet, the screenshots have been
passed around so much, duplicated and analyzed, that most of the conversation on
the web still revolves around the visuals.
Not that I'm surprised by that; I'd probably be in the exact same boat if I weren't personally involved in the project. I totally get how deeply felt the emotional reaction to a visual design can be... I'm a bit obsessed by it too.
And that's why we've been working so hard on the true visual design for Office 2007 since last summer. Designing, refining, tweaking, beautifying, simplifying... trying to create an attractive yet
practical design which complements the look of the operating system but which also fits hand-in-glove with the new interaction model.
Why? Because we know a lot of people do care about the pixels. We do too.