In these 7 years, although the functions have increased a lot, the “perception” does not seem to be strong. After all, UI design is just an operation. The system is the most intuitive level. Compared with the commonly used mobile phone systems and macOS, Win10’s originally shameless design has not made much progress.
Even today, many people will miss the exquisite frosted glass interface of Win7, which all reflects the stagnation of Windows from a design perspective.
Perhaps Microsoft itself is tired of aesthetics, and recently finally announced that it will bring a new design language in the next Win10 version (21H2, also known as Sun Valley) , and declared that this will be the best Win10 in history. With full of expectation, I joined the Windows preview experience program and used Win10 half a year in advance. However, after a period of experience, I was not only a little disappointed with the new design, but also a little worried about the fate after Windows.
The ideal is very beautiful and the reality is very skinny Fluent UI
Windows is a system with a long history. You can even find the traces of Win95 in the last century in Win10 in 2021, but Win10 also has the latest Modern UI elements. This kind of weird mix of new and old designs, high EQ “Cyberpunk” can be said, but to be honest, the “feeling of fragmentation” is serious . This has also been complained by many users, so a unified design language has become the top priority of 21H2.
Those who are familiar with Windows are no strangers to the design style of Fluent UI. This is the vane of Windows design. After flattening becomes the mainstream, Fluent UI further develops it, adding light, depth, and material. And other elements enhance the texture and details of the design. If you have watched Microsoft’s promotional video, you will definitely be shocked by the exquisiteness of Fluent UI, which is even better than macOS. But it is a pity that the exquisiteness of Fluent UI only stops in the promotional film, and has never been fully applied to the Win10 system.
What’s even more disappointing is that in the latest 21H2, Fluent UI seems “wrong” . When I opened the explorer, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Compared with before, the overall layout of the explorer has not changed significantly, and the transparent design of acrylic material is still not added, and the classic yellow folder has become colorful, losing the sense of order in the past, and the icon design style also lacks Fluent. UI’s “depth” understanding is far less refined than the Office series.
▲ The latest preview version of Windows Explorer Explorer
▲ A imaginary picture of a Fluent UI style resource manager
System visual interface “Small fight”
In the latest preview version, in addition to the newly designed icons, the system UI also has some subtle changes, of which the introduction of the rounded corner menu is the most obvious.
Nowadays, whether it is Android, iOS on the mobile end, or macOS on the desktop, these systems seem to be more and more alike. For example, all systems like rounded corners very much, and Windows has become the only outlier. However, changes will also be ushered in 21H2, and some rounded corner menus have appeared in the current preview version .
The rounded corner design was deeply loved by Jobs. From a visual point of view, the curved lines are indeed easier to be accepted by the human eye, and the rounded rectangle has a clear center direction, which will make the reading information more focused. In fact, as early as the Edge For Chromium browser, the rounded corner elements are reflected, but currently there are very few rounded corners in the Win 10 preview version, and there is no sign of a unified style . I only hope that Microsoft can continue to optimize this time. Do it thoroughly.
Compared with the cool transition animation effects on macOS, the window animation of Win10 can be said to be not even the “5 hair special effects”, and even worse than Win7. However, some very shallow transition animations have been added to the latest preview version, which are currently limited to opening and closing windows.
On the whole, the current visual design of Win10 Sun Valley still has not achieved qualitative progress . The icon redrawing, UI changes, and transition animations currently done are still relatively basic experience improvements, even “small trouble”, and macOS Compared with some exquisite Linux distributions, it is a far cry. It has been less than half a year since the 21H2 major version was pushed. It seems that there is little hope that Microsoft can boldly get rid of the burden of history and achieve the system UI to the level of a promotional film.
Content ecology and collaborative office will become hidden dangers in the future
In addition to the continuous improvement of the system interface, in the latest version of the system, the addition of the “News and Interests” function has also attracted my attention. It is placed on the taskbar, and the entrance is an icon that displays weather changes in real time. You only need to use the mouse. Place it on it, and the information flow information window will pop up.
The entry priority of this function is very high. It is not difficult to see that the addition of this type of function to Windows reflects Microsoft’s anxiety in reshaping the content ecology, but after actual experience, the quality of the content provided by “News and Interests” varies. It is mostly headline party news, and the experience is not good . It is guessed that after the official push, this feature is likely to be turned off by the user by default.
Based on the Windows operating system, Microsoft has established a rich software content ecosystem in the early years. However, due to the failure of the mobile terminal and frequent changes in other businesses, in recent years, Microsoft seems to have become a tool software provider in the minds of the public. It’s not a big company with software, hardware, and content ecosystems that go hand in hand like Apple.
On the other hand, the Office suite, which Microsoft is proud of, has now also been hit by various cloud documents. All in all, Microsoft’s powerful advantages based on Window and Office seem indestructible, but in fact it has begun to be eroded step by step.
On the other hand, in a multi-terminal integration environment, cross-platform collaborative office will soon become an indispensable function of the future operating system. In this regard, Microsoft, which lacks mobile devices and mobile operating systems, has almost no advantages. In the preview version of Win10, there is still no substantial functional progress in multi-device collaboration.
For Microsoft, the most convenient “shortcut” is to be compatible with the Android operating environment, but the specific implementation may encounter a lot of difficulties. Judging from the current development capabilities of the Windows system, I have to worry about its prospects.