Microsoft Teases Its Next-Generation Productivity UX

Posted on July 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 42 Comments

Thanks to the rise of mobile, Microsoft says it is evolving the designs of its Microsoft 365 offerings to look natural on any device type.

“We’ve been on a multi-year design journey to create more focused, immersive experiences, from the single-line ribbon, to Dark Mode, to Fluent,” Microsoft’s Jon Friedman writes. “The next wave of Microsoft 365 UX changes will go even further by fading brand colors from app headers and exploring adaptive commanding. A flexible ribbon that progressively discloses contextually relevant commands at the right time just where you need them.”

Since this is mostly nonsense—Microsoft has yet to deliver that single-line ribbon on any desktop applications aside from Outlook—I’ll just quote a few bits of this post and let you process this yourself.

“We’ll further advance our seamless, cross-suite Search to bring relevant information to your fingertips, and myriad forthcoming experiences will leverage Fluid Frameworks. Microsoft 365 will bring the power of Office to wherever you are, ensuring you won’t need to interrupt your creative process to open a different tool.”

“Throughout, we’re grounding everything we build in deep research about the nuances of attention. We’re often presented with a false dichotomy — you’re either focused and in flow or distracted and unproductive — but we traverse a broad attentional spectrum while achieving our goals. Some moments call for lengthy, sustained concentration. Others, such as many mobile scenarios, are optimal for microtasking. By designing for multiple cognitive states, focused experiences throughout the Microsoft 365 ecosystem minimize external distractions, lessen self-interruptions, and jumpstart flow.”

What does this mean to the actual apps we all use every day? It’s impossible to say, based on this one post. But if you’re into animated three-dimensional representations of productivity applications backed by Enya-like music, Microsoft has a nice video for you to enjoy as well.

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