Windows 10's new Fluent Design gets a smoother, sleeker look

Microsoft's new design system is slowly taking shape in Windows 10.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Some of the first elements of Microsoft's Fluent Design are coming to the Fall Creators Update due around September.

Image: Microsoft

Ahead of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is refining the look of key elements of its Fluent Design makeover on the desktop.

Fluent Design System, introduced at Microsoft's Build conference, is the company's new "design system" for Windows, akin to Google's Material Design for Android and its apps for non-Google platforms.

Eventually Fluent Design will be the basis for Microsoft's iOS and Android apps too, but some of the first elements are coming to the Fall Creators Update due out around September.

The design overhaul will take place gradually as Microsoft updates its apps and as more Windows developers adopt the various tools Microsoft is releasing to bring a focus on light, depth, motion, material, and scale in apps.

The tools include Acrylic Material, which offers apps an opaque layered effect to add depth, Connected animation for creating transitioning scenes, while Parallax creates a 3D effect, and Reveal offers a lighting effect that draws attention to interactive elements of an app.

Acrylic Design got some minor adjustments in the fast ring Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16241 for PCs released yesterday. As seen in the image below, Microsoft has softened the "noise layer" of Acrylic Material at the request of Windows Insiders.


Microsoft's side-by-side comparison shows the changes it's made to the noise layer of Acrylic Material.

Image: Microsoft

Minor as these changes may seem, eventually they will affect all developers building apps for Windows. The softened layer will be present in any XAML-based UI and in apps that use Acrylic Material and target build 16251 and later.

The changes should be visible in Microsoft's Windows Store on Windows 10, which was updated with Acrylic Material in May.

At Build Microsoft offered a glimpse of some of its own desktop apps redesigned with Fluent Design tools, including the Windows 10 home screen, Mail client, calendar, contacts, and clock.

As it suggested in the video, the system is meant to bring some sense of coherence between everything from Microsoft's physical Xbox controllers, to Windows Ink, and the experience on HoloLens.

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