Microsoft first unveiled its Fluent Design changes for Windows 10 at Build last year, adding subtle animations to many apps and core parts of Windows. We’ve seen a number of changes to the design of apps in the Fall Creators Update and the recent April 2018 Update, and now Microsoft is unveiling some future Fluent Design plans today at Build 2018.
During a session on Fluent Design at Build today, Microsoft unveiled a number of new subtle changes that will appear in Windows 10 apps this year. Microsoft is using shadow effects across Fluent Design, alongside modernizing context menus and implementing consistent back button controls in apps.
The changes make for a more refined version of Fluent Design, and should hopefully avoid the somewhat inconsistent implementation of Fluent across Microsoft’s own first-party Windows 10 apps. Third-party app developers will need to adopt the Fluent controls to get access to these newly designed elements in their apps, and even Microsoft will need to bring these to its Windows applications.
The shadow effects for Windows 10 apps provide more depth in apps, and Microsoft is also emphasizing the use of color. All of these subtle additions should add up to prettier apps, but Microsoft is also acting on feedback over the touch-focused UI elements of Fluent Design.
A number of the controls you find in Universal Windows Apps that use Fluent Design are rather large, and optimized for tablets and touchscreen devices. Microsoft admits that its heard from developers that the UI is too big, especially for mouse and keyboard users. It’s balancing that out with smaller controls, and even a compact mode that’s designed for more dense and complex applications.
Microsoft is even tweaking the back button placement in Windows 10 apps to make it more consistent. At the moment app developers can place a back button within the app, or at the very top, but it’s not always clear for Windows 10 users. The navigation changes for Fluent Design apps also include support for keyboard shortcuts and even the Xbox One controller to navigate around apps.
All of these Fluent Design changes are being introduced this year, allowing developers to take advantage of them in Windows 10 apps. Microsoft is slowly changing the design direction of Windows 10 and modernizing apps in the process, and these subtle changes help freshen up the overall look and feel of Windows.