What's so great about Microsoft's new design language?

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
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Everyone over at The Verge is drooling all over this but I don't get it. From The Verge's screenshots it looks incredibly bland, not sexy as hell as one comment put it. I remember Apple catching hell for too much white in their UI but that second screenshot of Microsoft's mail app is white on white on white. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see what the big deal is here or why this is considered a gorgeous UI.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/11/15625970/microsoft-fluent-design-desktop-email-app-ui





 

tkermit

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2004
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I'm not sure all of the screenshots are even from the same design language. Plus with Microsoft, once they've completed the implementation, the end result often barely looks like the original concept anymore.

Here's another screenshot from Microsoft's Dev Center that should feel somewhat familiar to Mac users. Apparently this is more what it looks like right now:

acrylic_app-pattern_vertical.png
 

Zirel

Suspended
Jul 24, 2015
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Those screenshots are only Adobe Illustrator stuff, not actual apps yet...

So inconsistent, and you can't really separate parts of each app...
 

hawkeye_a

macrumors 68000
Jun 27, 2016
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Looks like a new "theme" to me personally, not a new "Design Language".

When I think "Design Language", i think of the original Mac UI, WebOS 1.0 or Google's "Material design".
 

Sheza

macrumors 68000
Aug 14, 2010
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Windows 8 through to 10 have taken flat design too far really, and so it has no depth to it and for a while the colour combos were truly awful:




If you watch what they're doing with the 'Timeline' you can see part of their new design language with added depth. Text is anchored separately to background images so it bounces a bit as you scroll. When you click on an item to open in the timeline, it bounces inwards, towards the screen and some lighting effects are applied to make it feel like you're pushing into the screen. I think it's definitely an improvement over the current design.
 
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tkermit

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2004
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Almost anything MS does to improve their UI design is welcome. "Flat" has gone to far!
So true. Although I didn't really care until Apple started copying the nonsense. Thankfully they're going about it somewhat more sensibly on macOS compared to iOS where a lot of usability has been lost. So many iOS apps have just gotten flat-out annoying to use with a whole lot of mystery meat navigation.
 

Eric5h5

macrumors 68020
Dec 9, 2004
2,413
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Yes, and it's sad that Apple decided to copy the flat nonsense instead of setting the trend like they used to. I stayed on 10.9 for quite a long time because of that, but when I finally jumped to 10.12, it turned out Sierra was actually not that bad. Not great, but not as annoying as iOS. (Although I did replace most of the common icons with icons from 10.9. Also running a hack to restore color to the Finder sidebar, but I had to do that with 10.9 too.)

--Eric
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
I'm not sure what's going on, but if provides a more visually appealing UX in windows then I'll be happy. I'm not a huge fan of the flat look, don't like it in OS X and it seems MS took it even farther with windows 10 and its not my cup of tea
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
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Windows user here...

I don't use any of these Microsoft "apps" so this new design language will be lost on me.

I use dozens of Windows "programs" to do my work and play. :D

Every time Microsoft releases the "Anniversary update" or the "Creator's update" I'm still using the same types of programs I've used for the last decade or so:

Chrome
Adobe Suite
Microsoft Office
iTunes
VLC
various lil utilities

Basically Windows is just there for me to run my programs.

It's cool that Microsoft keep evolving their OS... but I'm still doin' what I do.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,650
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The Peninsula
Windows user here...

I don't use any of these Microsoft "apps" so this new design language will be lost on me.
The new design language will still be relevant for you.

All of these apps that you use will be calling Microsoft runtimes to do their stuff - and when those runtimes start to use the new design your old programs will be popping up dialogues in the new design. Also, many programs (not multiplatform apps like CC) use standard Windows APIs for much of their UI.

Have you noticed that, unlike the mess that is "finder", whenever you run file explorer, or an "open" dialogue, or a "save" dialogue - you see the same interface? That's because every "open" or "save" dialogue is an instance of file explorer. When file explorer is updated, all of these open/save dialogues will change to the new design.

When the system API for a "confirm yes/no/cancel" popup changes to the new design - your old programs will start to display the new "confirm" dialogues.

You won't see this in CC, because most of the UI is platform independant. I'd be surprised, however, if CC writes proprietary code for an open/save dialogue rather than using the OS API. (Maybe it does, but that would mean that they're willing to do extra to make sure that "saving" a file on Apple OS has the same UI as "saving" a file on a Microsoft OS - even if the "CC save" is alien to both platforms.)
 
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Michael Scrip

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Mar 4, 2011
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The new design language will still be relevant for you.

All of these apps that you use will be calling Microsoft runtimes to do their stuff - and when those runtimes start to use the new design your old programs will be popping up dialogues in the new design. Also, many programs (not multiplatform apps like CC) use standard Windows APIs for much of their UI.

Have you noticed that, unlike the mess that is "finder", whenever you run file explorer, or an "open" dialogue, or a "save" dialogue - you see the same interface? That's because every "open" or "save" dialogue is an instance of file explorer. When file explorer is updated, all of these open/save dialogues will change to the new design.

When the system API for a "confirm yes/no/cancel" popup changes to the new design - your old programs will start to display the new "confirm" dialogues.

You won't see this in CC, because most of the UI is platform independant. I'd be surprised, however, if CC writes proprietary code for an open/save dialogue rather than using the OS API. (Maybe it does, but that would mean that they're willing to do extra to make sure that "saving" a file on Apple OS has the same UI as "saving" a file on a Microsoft OS - even if the "CC save" is alien to both platforms.)

That's true. I do see bits of the OS UI here and there.

I guess my overall point was... I don't really spend much time thinking about what the OS looks like. Nor do I use the built-in apps. I've got my own programs I use and have been using since XP and before!

Basically... Microsoft make a new mail app and calendar app. Very pretty.

And I'm fine with using Gmail and Google Calendar in Chrome... thankyouverymuch :)

I think Microsoft's new design looks nice... a fresh coat of paint never hurt. But it's not gonna change my workflow.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,669
10,809
Flat is boring and was a fad as most predicted. A bit of subtle accentuation makes everything more visually appealing.
 
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