Microsoft unveiled a slick new design sensibility for Windows 10

Microsoft has been designing in 2D for years, according to Joe Belfiore, a long-time Windows exec.

“It’s time to move beyond mere rectangles confined to a plane,” Belfiore said on stage at the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle.

That’s why Microsoft today unveiled the Fluent Design System, a new set of design guidelines that will slowly but surely give Windows 10, Microsoft Office, and all its other apps a slick new look, starting later this year

“You’re going to see Fluent Design in the Windows shell and in our built-in apps over time,” Belfiore said.

Here’s the teaser video from Microsoft showing it off:

Here’s a closer look how it will look on desktop Windows 10:

Microsoft windows fluent design story remix

The idea, Belfiore said, is to rethink the Windows interface so it relies less on a mouse and keyboard — smoothing the way forward for alternative input methods, like the finger-gesture controls of the Microsoft HoloLens headset, or digital pen styluses. 

Speaking of the stylus, Belfiore showed off a demo of how Microsoft is developing Fluent so you can “navigate all of Windows just using a pen.”

In a demo, he used a pen to scribble the words “patio stone” into the Microsoft Edge browser, which set off a Bing search. When he found what he needed, he used the stylus to copy the text into Microsoft Word. And then, in Word, he scribbled over text to delete it. The idea, he says, is to make it so you don’t need a keyboard to work with those apps.

The Fluent system will start on Windows 10, but it will eventually make its way to Microsoft’s iOS and Android apps, too.

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