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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