Windows 10 is in for a series of small changes thanks to Microsoft’s Project Neon, a revamp of the familiar, old MDL2 user interface currently in use on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. All those little changes and refinements add up to a refreshing and new look courtesy of a renewed focus on simple, clean animations, and overall consistency.
According to MS Power User, the new UI will focus on clean animations and a new style reminiscent of Windows 7’s Aero Glass, with plenty of semi-transparent windows and sidebars — not unlike what we currently see on MacOS Sierra.
The new transparent effects also have some new branding. Microsoft calls the semi-transparent elements “Acrylics” — these are the parts of the window that blur whatever is in the background. Again, it’s similar to what you can currently see on the most recent versions of iOS and MacOS, and that blurry glass look is very familiar and pretty slick overall.
Unlike the Apple-branded alternatives, where these effects are used sparingly, Microsoft plans to bring a lot of blur and transparency into the Windows 10 UI, according to MS Power User. It’s part of Microsoft’s plan to make the user interfaces for all Windows devices (mobile, HoloLens, and desktop) a consistent user experience.
The Project Neon user interface relies heavily on 3D and HoloLens interactions as part of that push from Microsoft, highlighting menu items as you hover over them in a much more visible way than we currently see on Windows 10. Instead of a simple color change, menu items are more likely to “pop” with highlights and 3D effects.
With all of these new graphical changes, you might expect that the Project Neon UI could easily become bogged down when you have a lot of apps open, a lot of things going on. But according to MS Power User, the animations — no matter how flashy — stay smooth and consistent throughout.
We don’t yet have a timeline for Project Neon, but it could be on the horizon for 2017. Chances are, we’ll see it rolling out incrementally after the Windows 10 Creators Update comes out later this year.