I rotated my monitor to the portrait orientation for a few years. It was wonderful. It’s hard to understand why anyone who edits any type of documentation, including code, would want a landscape oriented monitor.
Now I have a 24″ widescreen and it’s just too dang tall when it’s rotated. I’ve considered rotating it but it is already fairly tall when horizontal. What I did do was move the Windows task bar to the side to give me more vertical room. So consider this, why didn’t Microsoft make the ribbon bar in Word, etc…, draggable to the side of the side of the window? I think that little thought goes into user interface design. I don’t mean to say that Microsoft isn’t thinking about this stuff because the ribbon bar is a huge step away from the old menus and toolbars. Good or bad, they did some design work to make it. They just didn’t ask the important questions about what makes people more or less productive.
So maybe it’s just me. I write source code and I am constantly scrolling up and down in the code to copy things, look for problems, or to understand what code might be doing. It’s not linear so it’s not a top-to-bottom activity. Still, the biggest complaint about the ribbon bar, besides it being a big change, is that it takes up too much space. How many of the people using Word 2010 have empty space on either side of the document in the window where that ribbon bar could go?
This is a little bit of a rant because I can’t or won’t write my own ribbon bar code to dock to the side of the window. it’s way too much work for the minimal mechanism simulator I am writing. The stuff I write at work has no real GUI so it’s not useful there either.
I just made this using the Microsoft Windows paint program. I can see how it might be hard to orient the ribbon vertically because the designer would have to take this into account during the design phase. It is possible to take the original bar and change it but some things, like toolbars within a panel, are hard to adjust to look good. Still, a little bit of work and it should be usable and allow for more vertical space on peoples horizontal monitors.
I should have centered the paragraph alignment buttons instead of making them left-justified.