Late last year we reported on Project NEON
– the upcoming UI upgrade for Windows 10. Recently we managed a closer look at Microsoft’s internal plans for Project NEON and the future of Windows 10’s UI (user-interface). Right of the bat I don’t want readers to be fooled by those who suggest this is a major or a complete overhaul of Windows 10’s design language. In fact, it’s a fairly minor update that builds on the current Windows 10 UI (aka MDL2).Nevertheless, change is always exciting, so here’s an early look at NEON.
Project NEON will heavily focus on animations, simplicity, and consistency – essentially bringing back Windows 7’s Aero Glass and mixing it up with animations like the ones from the Windows Phone 8/7 era.
Microsoft is introducing a new component called “Acrylic” to the Windows 10 design, which is essentially blur in the background, sidebar or the navigation of the app. These are known as “Side-Nav Acrylic”, “Background Acrylic” and “In-App Acrylic” respectively – in the screenshot below we get to see the Side-Nav Acrylic:
These acrylics work nicely with what Microsoft calls the Conscious UI and Connected Animations. In one of the internal concept videos, Microsoft demoed this Conscious UI in the Groove Music app where the Side-Nav Acrylic changes depending on what’s behind the current app, and the picture of the artist also has a neat little effect where it moves around a bit when the user moves the window.
What’s interesting is that Microsoft’s Groove Music app already has some of the UI elements and Connected Animations if you are running the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. For instance, the app is already utilizing Connected Animations where the artist’s profile pic gets smaller as you scroll down – as demonstrated in the GIF below: