Microsoft has started introducing updates to Office.com and Office 365 designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity with plans to roll them out to customers globally over the next few months.
These updates are exclusive — the always up-to-date versions of our apps and services:
• Simplified ribbon. A new, updated version of the ribbon is designed to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. People who prefer to dedicate more screen space to the commands will still be able to expand the ribbon to the classic three-line view.
• New icons and colour. Across the apps you’ll start to see new icons and colours built as scalable graphics — so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize Office design and make it more inclusive and accessible.
• Search. Search will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content and people. With “zero query search” simply placing your cursor in the search box will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.
These design changes are focused on the following:
• Customers. Microsoft is using a customer-driven innovation process to co-create the design of the Office apps. That process consists of three phases: initial customer research and analysis; concepting and co-creation; and validation and refinement.
• Context. Customers love the power of Office, but they don’t need every feature at the same time. We want our new designs to understand the context that you are working in so that you can focus on your content. That means both surfacing the most relevant commands based on the work you are doing and making it easy to connect and collaborate with others.
• Control. Microsoft said that established skills and routines are powerful — and that the way someone uses the apps often depends on specific parts of the user interface. So the company wants to give end users control, allowing them to toggle significant changes to the user experience on and off.
Over the last year, Microsoft completed extensive customer research and spent many months working side-by-side with customers to guide design changes. As a result, customers will benefit from a more simplified experience while maintaining the full power of Office and a design ethos that is more inclusive — empowering everyone to create, communicate and collaborate. The team also increased its focus not just on what people think of the product, but how they feel using it.