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Microsoft is working on an "open design" philosophy, but there is still a way to go OnMSFT.com



Since Microsoft launched the first version of Windows 10 back in 2015, we've seen the desktop OS evolve quite a lot after Microsoft adopted a much faster release cycle. It's hard to argue with the fact that Windows 1

0 is probably the best version of Windows ever, but from a design standpoint, we say we have mixed feelings.

In a way, it looks like Microsoft has yet to manage to recreate the same magic that pervaded in Windows Phone, a mobile OS that looked like nothing else in the market at the time. Unfortunately, if Windows Phone 7/8 / 8.1 is the beautiful Metro UI with its smooth and tasteful animations, Windows 10 Mobile and its design just looked like a big step back. The same can be said about Windows 10, as many of the concept images we saw during the early months of the Windows Insider Program never saw the light of day.

This old concept image for the Windows 10 Contacts app never became reality.

Using a Windows 10 PC today, it's still too easy to find design inconsistencies across Microsoft's own inbox apps, or many different versions of what a dark theme should look like from the same company. We were hopeful when we saw Microsoft announced its new Fluent Design Language back at Build 2017, but the gradual rollout that was announced at the time still leaves much to be desired.

By choosing to roll out Fluent Design in waves instead of doing it all at once, Microsoft allowed some apps to look more modern while others took longer to update, and sometimes with a different result. The end result is something that looks unfinished, which is a shame as Microsoft is really capable of creating beautiful concept images, as seen in the first Fluent Design video from Build 2017.

If Fluent Design is still very important for Microsoft, the software giant has changed how it operates to enforce a new open design philosophy. According to The Verge, which recently visited Microsoft's Redmond headquarters to speak with designers and engineers, this is all about breaking silos and creating synergies between different teams. He has already had a profound impact on hardware and software design within the company, the report says.

This is not just about improving Microsoft's visual design, though. It's a lot of change that meant to modernize how Microsoft ships software and competitively more startups that can aggressively go after the many businesses it traditionally controlled. A lot is at stake in a technology industry that is moving faster every year.

The Verge's report is very interesting read, though it has already earned some interesting comments on the Internet. Owen Williams, a former Mac loving developer who recently made the switch to Surface devices, emphasizing that Microsoft's implementation of Fluent Design is still quite a mess after almost two years.


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