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Back in 2006 IanG put out a warning that we should avoid Cargo Cult UI Design with regard to the new Office 2007 Ribbon. One thing that was interesting is that he made a prediction:

This is not a traditional time of year to make predictions, but I’m going to disregard convention and make a forecast for the coming 17 months: thousands of applications will sprout UI features that look an awful lot like Office-style ribbons, but which on closer inspection turn out to have all the merits of wooden headphones with bamboo antennae.

Here we are with 2008 winding down, almost 30 months after the initial prediction, and the predicted cargo cult has yet to spring up. I’ve seen several Ribbon Control implementations, but I have yet to see a non-Office ribbon in the wild. I would want to argue that it’s because people are heeding IanG’s warning. But without further scientific study, I’d be falling into that same cargo cult that Feynman was advising against in the first place.


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