Microsoft is a changed company under CEO Satya Nadella. We’re not the first ones to notice. This change has manifested itself in several ways, most notably the willingness to provide solutions on whatever platform the customer wants to work with. More exciting, however, is how people interact with their computers. This week, I look at an article that reveals Microsoft’s important new thinking about the human-machine interface.
This week, right after I heard about Microsoft bringing Visual Studio to macOS, another article came to my attention that introduces what Microsoft calls “Fluent Design.”
The article is: “Behind Fluent Design, Microsoft’s Vision For The Future of Interfaces.” Bojana Ostojic, Microsoft’s Principal Director of Design…
explains that HoloLens was the inspiration for Fluent Design, a set of design guidelines the company introduced at its Build 2017 conference. It’s a loosely defined and still-evolving set of best practices for designing across mobile, desktop, voice, gesture, AI, VR, and holographic interfaces
At the core of this, I surmise, is the recognition that users will soon be immersed in several different kinds of user interfaces: The standard 2D display, 3D/holographics, VR and AR. The question is, what kind of user interface guidelines should be developed as users cross the boundaries of these devices. Fluent Design is a:
loosely defined and still-evolving set of best practices for designing across mobile, desktop, voice, gesture, AI, VR, and holographic interfaces, a necessarily broad language of interactions, animations, and visuals that may be updated frequently.
Why is this necessary? The motivation is that, according to the author, Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, no company has yet “figured out how to integrate the old world of 2D devices with the new world of 3D or mixed reality hardware.”
The new metaphor derives from the fact that modern interfaces tend to be more fluid and short-lived. In the past, our Mac’s display was fairly static, and action has been constrained to a few small windows. With new interfaces, moving, fluid representations of reality are presented. More to the point, how does one invoke design, structure, light and other visuals to bridge the gap across interfaces?
The author points out that new combinations of skills as a developer will be required. “Creating a holographic version of reality requires you to be part architect, part cinematographer, and part developer.”
This is an informative and inspiring article about how a re-born Microsoft is thinking these days.
Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of May 8th. The need for speed.