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Operating Systems Windows Microsoft Software Technology

New Windows Look and Feel, Neon, Is Officially the 'Microsoft Fluent Design System' (arstechnica.com) 95

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Earlier this year, pictures of a new Windows look and feel leaked. Codenamed Project Neon, the new look builds on Microsoft Design Language 2 (MDL2), the styling currently used in Windows 10, to add elements of translucency and animation. Neon has now been officially announced, and it has an official new name: the Microsoft Fluent Design System. The switch from "design language" to "design system" is deliberate; Fluent is intended to define more than just the appearance, but also the interactivity. Though visually there are common elements, the system is designed to work across virtual/augmented reality, phones, tablets, desktop PCs, games consoles, using mice, keyboards, motion controllers, voice, gestures, touch, and pen, with the interactivity and input optimized to each particular form factor. Fluent is described as having five "fundamentals": light, depth, motion, material, and scale. "Light" means that the interface should avoid distracting and strive to ensure that attention is drawn to where it needs to be. With "depth," Fluent apps will make greater use of layering and the relationships between objects and interface elements. Fluent will use "motion" to indicate relationships and connections between elements, establishing context. Microsoft is using "Material" to mean making best use of the screen space and giving room to content. "Scale" means building interfaces that can go beyond two dimensions, and go beyond the size of a screen, to embrace new form factors and input methods as they arrive.
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New Windows Look and Feel, Neon, Is Officially the 'Microsoft Fluent Design System'

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  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:22PM (#54402245) Homepage

    The preview images are of an app called Groove.
    I have no idea what it currently looks like, so I have no idea what has changed.
    Guess I could start it up, since I have Windows 10, but... meh.

    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      Windows Groove? You can find tons of screencaps of it here! http://www.google.com/search?q... [google.com]

    • Well thanks for that, did not know there was a media player called groove built into Win10, trying it now.
      To be honest I probably won't use it, wrote my own ages ago, main feature is a fucken delete button, deletes a song from my playlist AND the hard drive with one little click. If I don't like a song I want it GONE! Yes I know you can do that in other players, but not with one little click.
  • I would think the KDE people would have some sort of trademark on that term for computer interfaces already.

  • Leak implies lack of intention for something to come out; did anyone from Microsoft (or anyone that would actually be in a position to know) ever actually declare this to be a leak?
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:35PM (#54402317)

    Though visually there are common elements, the system is designed to work across virtual/augmented reality, phones, tablets, desktop PCs, games consoles, using mice, keyboards, motion controllers, voice, gestures, touch, and pen, with the interactivity and input optimized to each particular form factor.

    1000 times NO - you cannot use the same definition language across different input strata. You either end up with a least common denominator of interactivity or you sacrifice one for the utopian goals of the idealogy (That is to say Windows 8 and Metro). Its always a grand idea in theory because you immediately think "It's just buttons and scrolling.. how hard can that be?!". It's not - it's text and selection and finding the items you want vs need vs trying to recall the interface paths to access them plus the needs of the input device you're working with. A VR system isn't going to acommodate the subtleties of a touch screen (though they'll try) and a touch screen drops the finer gesture control of a pen which is simillar (but not the same as) a mouse interface. You need a CUSTOM UI and access strategy per device type that interfaces to the underlying control scheme. That's why the iOS is DIFFERENT than MAC OS and not a one-size fits all strategy like Windows 10 which does NOTHING well (and don't even get me started on that craptacular Xbox One UI)

    • by mikael ( 484 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:43PM (#54402361)

      A mouse has two or more buttons that send press and release events, and also sends out motion events. A trackball will do the same, so you can do things like hover over buttons and not press them. A touchscreen will have multiple fingerpress and fingerrelease events. Then these can be combined into gestures like double slide, single slide, two finger zoom, two finger pinch, two finger rotate, two finger translate. These could go up to any number of events, such as the screen swipe with the palm of your hand to capture a screenshot. But there is no concept of hover. Something is either pressed or there is no event. You can add delays and timeouts but that's about all. With VR and AR, you can do gestures like head tilt to move or turn in different directions, various button presses using the headset buttons or stare and select. If you have a VR glove or set of globes, then there are all the hand gestures that could be made. It's easy to map these onto classic mouse events, but hard to have a single event handler for everything.

      • Sure, you can map the events easily - that's not my point and you're falling into the same trap "it's just buttons and scrolling"

        I can easily the mouse cursor to the tilt of my head on a VR helmet but I wouldn't want to

        Interface schemes have different contexts and, as such, require thoughts of how to display the information to the user for access.

        It's easy for a music player to be "universal" (as in the example here with Groovy) because it's a few buttons and a scroll to control music playing. Now try

      • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:59PM (#54402471) Homepage Journal

        A mouse has two or more buttons

        Old Mac ones didn't.

        This is because the kind of people who own Macs would press the wrong one.

      • But there is no concept of hover.

        I suppose you could repurpose long-press as "hover" but then you lose "right-click."

    • Indeed, we fundamentally interact differently with a 10-foot UI [wikipedia.org] that's indirectly controlled via a remote than we do with a touchscreen that's directly controlled with our hands. The same goes for traditional computing environments that are indirectly controlled at a distance somewhere in between and VR environments that are...sort of a weird mix of all of those.

      The notion of having a unified "design system" that can span all of them is a nice ideal to have, to be sure, but in practice neither Microsoft nor

    • ??? The bit you quoted says 'interactivity optimized to each particular form factor' and you replied with a thousand NOs because that leads to a lowest common denominator of interactivity? What gives?

    • >1000 times NO - you cannot use the same definition language across different input strata.

      Let me fix that for you.

            1000 times NO: You cannot use the same user interface across devices with and without a keyboard.

      If Microsoft did one good thing here, it was to cease calling a visual style a 'language'. You might get with the program by not calling input devices "strata".

    • The most optimized way to create a UI that works on all the different input devices is by using an always random well placed UI.

      It'll ensure that the users will always be highly interactive as they literally have to search the right buttons everywhere every time and avoid muscle memories.

      Also, remember to switch the "OK" and "Cancel" UI every other times. This will greatly stimulate the user's emotion.

      For the best results, swap the UI functions opposite to the UI, like "Cancel" is actually "Submit" and "

    • It's do-able, and you have a wonderful example right in front of you - responsive web pages. It's all one page of HTML / CSS, and JS that displays and acts differently depending on the screen size and inputs available.

      It shouldn't be too excessively difficult to have the OS / application know what it is being displayed on / has inputs available. You still get your custom tailored experience for the device you are using it on, but have one basic codebase that supports all - I.E. the same binary can have one

      • It's do-able, and you have a wonderful example right in front of you - responsive web pages.

        I would argue that responsive web pages demonstrate how flawed such approaches are. Responsive web design simply blows, and breaks all kinds of use cases for me. I hate it with a passion.

        It may be doable, but I can't see how it could be done and have not seen any examples of anyone successfully pulling it off.

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:38PM (#54402329)
    Okay M$, increasing the frequencies of your "news" articles will not distract anyone from the fact that Windows 10 is a spyware "OS" with features that actually work AGAINST the user. I'm starting to think that MS is spending more time doing PR for this POS OS than development.
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:40PM (#54402339)

    Can we get an update where we get to decide when to reboot our machines and what info to send to Redmond? Just 'cause you paint the turd in flashy colors doesn't make it smell better.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      An update? They decide for me all the time when I can reboot. Sometimes more than once a day. It's... umm... umm (drinks Kool-Aid) Great!
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:42PM (#54402349) Homepage Journal

    Nearly all design languages that are pushed out through a marketing department as a form of PR is a lot of ego stroking crap.

    The most apt name for this new crap is: The Microsoft Effluent Design System

  • Paint the turd. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2017 @05:58PM (#54402463)

    Shiney new shit all over the shop, but File Explorer STILL cannot handle the files with long paths *that it itself creates*.

    It has had this problem for over a DECADE FFS !

    Fix the broken windows. Then polish them !

    Captcha: "systemic" as in "bugs"

    • Also no way to render complete path on network mounted drives
      also search results often don't allow propagate new window
      FN crap!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I miss the days when buttons and text/pictures looked different.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      And they all use the same restroom ;-)

      Seriously, you'd think they let you have a choice: flat, flat with transparency, Windows3.1 look, Windows95 look, Windows ME look, Jewels, etc.

      I remember XP, I think, I had some choices.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The title says it. I skimmed through the articles and the new desktop UI is basically all the horrible web UI trends. I don't want content adjusting itself as I scroll. My keyboard has Home and End buttons. If I want to see the stop of the 'page' its one button press away. Stop wasting my screen space for your company logo or for a profile picture of me. WTF do I need to stare at myself so often? I'm ugly. Put a custom media feed there so I can watch IT porn 24x7, something like a CPU gauge, or bett

    • Look at those window control buttons, they are far from the window edges. No more shoot your mouse to a corner. And they're on top of active content, so if you miss it'll trigger the media underneath. "Borderless" was supposed to refer to societies, not windows. I hate trying to resize windows with thin or non-existent borders and I'm not even old yet.

      Yes! Especially that "borderless" nonsense. Of all the copious bad UI fads in play right now, that has to be one of the absolute worst.

    • I don't want content adjusting itself as I scroll. My keyboard has Home and End buttons. If I want to see the stop of the 'page'

      Silly user, finite pages are so 1998. Now we have pages that load in more crap as you scroll.

      You should check out this [huffingtonpost.com] page (not the article itself; it's depressing as fuck). It's like Medium cranked up to 11:

      The header covers the entire screen, is an autoplaying video for no reason, and when you scroll down it fades into a picture and "sticks" for a couple scrolls until you can get past that.
      Then you scroll past that and it's the standard column of too-large fontsize text that only takes up the middle thir

    • I hate trying to resize windows with thin or non-existent borders and I'm not even old yet. Thank God for the Linux's resize shortcuts.

      I don't know why Linux DEs have such a hard time with window borders and their damn single-pixel-across resize sweet spot. That's one thing Windows at least does right--the resize "grab range" is like 5-10 pixels across.

      XFCE at least makes up for it with Alt+right click and drag anywhere in the window to resize. Not very discoverable though.

      • This is probably my biggest annoyance with Linux and frustrates me to no end. Whereas in Windows, I've liked their snap and window improvements and I rarely have the same keyboard/mouse throwing tantrums as I run into frequently with Linux. Fucking adjusting windows over VNC is the worst.
        • To be fair, Linux DEs had snap-to-edge for several years before Windows 7 came out. But yeah.

          This situation requires both that A) DE developers limit drag sensitivity to pixel-perfect for some reason, and B) theme designers wanting the smallest possible border on all their windows (well, technically you can run entirely without a border but whatever). Back before Unity I knew how to tweak the Ubuntu/Compiz/whatever themes to fatten up the borders, but after GNOME got flushed, doing that in XFCE would've req

          • Relatedly, the number of times I've been trying to resize a window and accidentally went two pixels too far to the southwest and closed the program (since it didn't have an exit sanity check) over the last couple years is a bit embarrassing. Mostly VLC and Chromium.

  • by Imazalil ( 553163 ) on Thursday May 11, 2017 @06:24PM (#54402571)

    mid-level manager 1: I love what google is doing with this material design, they cribbed some of our metro stuff but took it to a whole new level.

    mid-level manager 2: true dat, but I prefer the soft and smooth translucency Apple has in iOS and macOS.

    mid-level manager 1: hmmm...

    mid-level manager 2: hmmmm...

    mid-level manager 3: why not both?!

    mid-level manager 1: but won't we be accused of just copying their stuff?

    mid-level manager 2: just throw in some bull about holo-lens and synergy, and everyone will be distracted thinking about drawing dongs in 3d.

    mid-level manager 1: genius!

  • When I read what they're trying to do, I like it. I am not one of those people who thinks handhelds and desktops must necessarily have different UIs. (I'm not saying I have the answers, just that I think answers exist, for solving the same problem in two places.)

    Then I look at the screenshots, and "eww." But whatever. Maybe I just don't get it. And also, it's Microsoft, so fuck them.

    Yet I think it's a good and reasonable goal, and some day, someone will succeed at it.

    • I do believe is very hard to make an UI that works equally well in both paradigms. Well, you can certainly just use a touch optimized UI on a desktop but it's not nearly as good as one designed specifically for mouse. You get UIs which have tons of whitespace and huge targets and thus waste lots of real state.
    • (I'm not saying I have the answers, just that I think answers exist, for solving the same problem in two places.)

      But they are not solving the same problem in two places, except at a uselessly high level of abstraction. The different environments have very different constraints that involve very different engineering tradeoffs.

      To say that you can build one UI to rule them all is like saying that it's possible to built a single sort of vehicle that can work well in all environments. It's simply not plausible. It's not even possible to build a single vehicle that works great on all types of roads, let alone also fly, tr

  • Been using Windows since 3.1, still haven't gotten used to ribbons (where dafuq did the option I want that used to be here go?). Metro was a huge disaster. Not feeling chippy about a new look and feel for something I spend 10+ hours a day (work & home) working with.
    • Agreed. While I'm very well used to the ribbon, that doesn't make it suck any less at all.

      And it looks like Microsoft is doubling down on a few of the worst aspects of the Win 10 look and feel. It's like they're going out of their way to make the UI as annoying and difficult to use as possible.

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation did something like this. The same UI on the bridge displays, the stellar cartography big-as-a-room display, the shuttlecraft, the medical displays. I think later models of the tricorder even approximated the same layout.

    Why don't they mimic that??

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because the Star Trek UI is crap. Lots of header and footer tiles that don't do anything, and everything has incomprehensible serial numbers. There was an episode where Picard is trapped in the turbolift with a bunch of kids and the manual door release involved a panel with five buttons on it, all with random serial numbers. The door release code was something like button 2, followed by button 4 twice. It was insane.

      The manual steering control was literally a four way D-pad drawn on a touch screen. Jus

      • Lots of header and footer tiles that don't do anything

        Did you mean, Gnome?

      • Star Trek has a weird notion of what "manual" means. There was a scene in First Contact where they had to enable the manual release for a door.

        The whole point of being manual is that you don't need to enable it if the automation fails! It still just works!

    • Star Trek: The Next Generation did something like this. The same UI on the bridge displays, the stellar cartography big-as-a-room display, the shuttlecraft, the medical displays. I think later models of the tricorder even approximated the same layout.

      Why don't they mimic that??

      LCARS [wikipedia.org] is what you're thinking about. It looks pretty in episodes of Star Trek, but think it through its real-world implications. Tricorders store massive amounts of data, but they show it on a screen the size of the Apple Watch; the rest are input keys. No one interacts with the displays; it's either input or output, minimizing the utility of the space that does exist. Stellar cartography uses the same styling, but they have a massive screen (that no one directly interacts with a la Minority Report) which

  • Aero is baaaaaaackkk

  • Microsoft copies Apple. Facebook copies Snapchat. I guess it's the year of copying other people's success instead of innovating.
  • What for? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @07:44AM (#54404801)
    "elements of translucency and animation"....I hate it already. For a while there, it looked like MS was starting to understand that people use applications, not the OS. The only goal of the OS is to make it easy to use applications and stay out of the way otherwise. They sort of got the hint with the Vista fiasco. Looks like everyone who got it has retired and the latest shiny thing crowd is back in the saddle.
  • More .NET fail as this will be unavailable with WPF.

  • I wouldn't care about they constantly altering the UI language if there was an option to get a "classic" grey Windows UI (think Windows 2000 or XP or 7 in classic mode). But it seems letting the user choose is too dangerous or bad for Microsoft

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