Microsoft gives an insight into how its office suite could soon look like. A new user guidance is planned, which should bring the Windows 10 ecosystem closer together visually. The ribbons bar, with which many users were never really warm, should disappear. As part of a blog post, Jon Friedman, Microsoft’s chief designer for Office 365, explained numerous innovations that were being considered – but without stating a fixed schedule.
Microsoft has continuously updated its office suite over the past few months: Microsoft Search was the major innovation in 2018, and last year the Fluid Framework, which breathes life into office documents and keeps them up to date. In 2020 Microsoft finally decided to disclose the source code of the technology.
As part of the Microsoft Inspire 2020 conference, the Redmond-based company unveiled numerous innovations to its 365 apps – especially the collaboration solution Teams should receive new features. Friedman announced that after a design journey spanning several years, a major upheaval is now imminent: “The next big wave of UX changes to Microsoft 365 will go further than the previous ones, significantly reducing the color elements of the apps and supporting adaptive control types. We’ll also be expanding our seamless, cross-suite search functionality to provide users with the information they need, and Fluid Frameworks will continue to play a key role in Office in the future. ”
Visually, Microsoft wants to be more discreet in the future. The memorable coloring, which has shaped the Office Apps for many years, should be significantly reduced. The goal, according to Friedman, is to focus on user content instead of the UI of the apps. To underline the plans, Microsoft also captured the future of the office in the moving image:
Should it actually be possible to open several office apps within one window in the future, that would be the reincarnation of Microsoft Sets: The idea of the “tabbed interface” for the Windows UI first came up in 2017 before it disappeared silently from the scene .
Microsoft is also thinking about what virtual personal development can look like – within its collaborative apps it goes without saying: “Our tools have been used to implement ideas for years,” says Friedman. “Now that work and private life are increasingly merging, users may want to reveal more about themselves than just an avatar photo. In the future, numerous new themes, backgrounds and UX elements will enable users to provide information about themselves, their culture or to give her hobbies – in the sense of a more authentic and inclusive communication. ”
The whole thing should also work asynchronously, which does not mean a return to the good old email: Instead, Microsoft is considering the integration of video comments in chats, as Friedman reveals. A feature that platforms such as iOS have been offering for some time. Since the debut of the language assistant Cortana for Windows 10, artificial intelligence (AI) has been a focus of the Windows group. It is therefore not surprising that major innovations for Office are also planned in this area. However, they are currently still somewhat difficult to define – the only thing that is certain is that Microsoft will use AI to automatically provide its users with context that would otherwise have to be defined first. Specifically, in the future this could look like PowerPoint, for example, proposing a specific team chat with which you want to share the presentation you just created.
There are also somewhat more down-to-earth innovations to report: Excel will be able to recognize errors in the future and automatically suggest alternatives, while Microsoft Planner automatically suggests a target date for tasks based on their data.
Microsoft will roll out the above-mentioned innovations over the next few months and years via its Office Suite, presumably app for app. Even if the timeline is in the dark: The visual presentation of the future of the office is impressive. (fm)
This article is based on an article from our US sister publication PC World.