Previously AutoCAD had toolbars. These were easier to customise as you only had one component to edit. That is a blank toolbar to add buttons to.
The ribbon is slightly more complex as you have a blank ribbon that you add panels to and a blank panel that you add buttons to.
Theis complexity however allows for a greater amount of permutations and layout design. This functionality is intentional from the design inception allows for greater customisation than a set of toolbars could ever do. You can have larger buttons, drop down button selection and even context sensitve ribbons.
In this series I go through creating a ribbon, adding a panel, adding a button and then work through various button scripts that I have created over the years that might be of use for your new ribbon.
I have been using my custom ribbon since 2009 and whilst it keeps evolving its basic layou has not changed and I tend to have all my frequently used items on this one bar. This reduces the number of clicks considerably in a day!