Microsoft is Redesigning Its Mobile Apps

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Microsoft, Mobile with 12 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is applying a consistent new design to its flagship mobile apps. Confusingly, this new design will incorporate experiences from both the Fluent Design System and its similarly-named Fluid Framework.

“Today, we’re excited to unveil redesigns to our flagship mobile apps,” Microsoft’s Jon Friedman writes. “We’ve redesigned Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also expect new versions of Teams, Yammer, and Planner soon. These redesigns contribute to broader company efforts to take mobile productivity to the next level.”

While there is a lot of discussion around the new designs and Microsoft’s inspirations for making the changes, it looks to me to be very similar to the work that Google is doing with Material Design.

For those unfamiliar, Fluent Design System—or just “Fluent”—is Microsoft’s semi-new design language, and it’s been slowly incorporating this look and feel into Windows 10 as well. For mobile, Microsoft is adapting Fluent into something it says will “feel both distinctly Microsoft and at home on mobile devices.”

The Fluid Framework, meanwhile, “is a new technology that breaks broad experiences into dynamic, real-time components ideal for mobile scenarios,” Microsoft says. However, Friedman doesn’t really discuss how Fluid is being used on mobile today. Instead, it appears to be something coming in the future.

“We’re excited to build entirely new mobile experiences with Fluid, whose dynamic components foster microtasking by updating in real time and making it easier to collaborate,” he notes.

You can find out more about Fluent from the Microsoft website.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft is Redesigning Its Mobile Apps”

  1. willc

    Considering how much of an ugly, disjointed mess Windows 10 has become, it's no surprise that Microsoft has to rip-off Google to make their apps look attractive.

  2. brothernod

    They're just announcing plans right? No timeline on when we can get something new on our phone?

  3. nbplopes

    MS almost every year redesigns its apps. At least that's the impression I get. Or so they make it look like they are.

    • warren

      In reply to nbplopes:


      This isn't really a redesign, this is more a matter of getting their mobile apps to look more consistent with eachother. For example, Word and Excel currently have a coloured top strip, but OneNote and Teams do not. Outlook has a Dark Mode, the other apps do not.


      Hardly a change worth getting worked up about.

  4. bluvg

    Fluid is more about a new UX for SharePoint-backed (+OneDrive +Teams) files for the Office apps. Instead of working on a whole Word doc in Word, someone puts a section in say, a Teams chat, and you edit that part right in the chat. They demoed this briefly at Ignite, but it's only in preview at the moment.

  5. JimP

    Bring back Windows Phone. Even after all these years, Windows Phone is still better than Android and iOS.


  6. skramer49

    once again, no mention of OneNote. :(

  7. anderb

    They're probably integrating them with the new shopping feature they added to Edge.

  8. minke

    Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration...A lot of people work on things independently and all this collaboration stuff just gets in the way.

  9. wright_is

    No updates available. OneDrive got updates yesterday, but it doesn't look any different... :-S

  10. jcbeckman

    I would rather get feature parity. Still things the iOS versions can’t do. If these features work on low-end laptops (and they do) then it seems that they probably would work on iOS. The sync with OneDrive is subpar compared to Mac or PC as well. They don’t need to be prettier, they need to work better.

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