Sat. May 18th, 2024

Microsoft released the new Outlook for Windows earlier this year, replacing the legacy Windows Mail and Calendar apps, with the eventual goal of replacing the classic Outlook desktop app. Microsoft has now explained elements of the redesign and some of its future plans.

The new Outlook for Windows is based on the same code as the web client (the first testing versions looked exactly like the web app), with a more modern design and layout than the classic Outlook client packaged in Microsoft 365. A new post on Microsoft’s Design blog explains that the app has been designed by the “Outlook Experience Studio,” an internal group of designers and researchers, with a focus on simplicity and customization.

Microsoft said in a blog post, “One of the hallmarks of the new Outlook for Windows is the high degree of personalization, craftsmanship, and intelligence woven into all facets of the experience. As a tool thoughtfully designed for everyone—from folks new to email to Outlook experts adept at harmonizing work and life—we strive to carefully balance advanced professional features with the varied needs of our diverse user community. One size does not fit all, and we’ve carefully curated each experience to be as distinct as the person using it.”

Specifically, development on the new Outlook app involved a “comprehensive overhaul of the entire grid system.” Many modern sites and applications are designed in a grid layout with columns that can adjust in size and position based on the screen size, and Outlook is no exception. However, it’s not clear here if Microsoft is comparing the new Outlook to the old Outlook, the pre-existing web app, or the Windows Mail app. The old Mail app also had a responsive layout, because it was also intended to work on Windows Phone.

Animations and “motion design” are also key components of the new Outlook application. For example, when you start dragging a message from the main inbox list, you might see the sidebar fully expand to show all your folders.

Microsoft also explained that it plans to address “hundreds of craftsmanship issues” in Outlook throughout 2024. The new Outlook currently has a rating of 2.8/5 stars on the Microsoft Store, with many complaints about the cloud-based email synchronization, limited background and offline support, no unified inbox, and other issues.

The new Outlook for Windows is supposed to eventually replace the older Outlook for Windows (from Office or Microsoft 365), but that likely won’t happen for another few years. Microsoft already confirmed it will support the old Outlook until 2029 at the earliest. Hopefully, the new app will be a better experience by then.

Source: Microsoft Design

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By John P.

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