apparently developed a new surface design for and Microsoft 365. The concept should help users to concentrate on the essential things in their work. This was triggered, among other things, by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated increase in work in the home office, which should also affect the use of applications such as teams, Excel and PowerPoint.
According to a blog entry by Jon Friedman, Corporate Vice President for Design and Research at Microsoft, the design changes are expected to be rolled out over the next year or two. The basis is the further development of the surface in recent years, which has simplified the “ribbon” and introduced dark mode and the design language Fluent Design.
“The next wave of Microsoft 365 UX changes will go even further by hiding the brand colors from the app headers and researching adaptive commanding. A flexible ribbon that gradually shows context-sensitive commands exactly where you need them, at the right time, ”explained Friedman.
Compared to The Verge, Friedman clarified his idea of ”flexible”. Accordingly, a simplified toolbar should be available on the screen wherever the user sees it as helpful. Certain commands should only be offered if they make sense in the current context.
In addition, the ribbon interface, which was originally developed for the desktop, is to be offered across all devices in the future. “If you let your ribbon commands follow your actions and are context-aware, your cognitive workload is reduced and your focus on the task at hand increases, whether you’re using your phone in the subway or your tablet on the sofa or at your desk sit, ”Friedman told The Verge.
Artificial intelligence should play an important role in the redesign of the office interface. “The superpower of artificial intelligence in storing, retrieving and analyzing huge amounts of data can help distinguish signals from noise while you move through the day,” added the manager.
In the blog entry Friedman also showed a mockup of the upcoming UX design. Although it does not reveal any details, it suggests that there will be a uniform interface for desktop applications in mobile apps.