Change is always exciting, so here is 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.
Microsoft wants to bring a lot of Blur and Transparency in Windows
What is 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.
Here is another concept of the Outlook Mail and Calendar app where we get to see the sidebar with a blurred background, and all the other basic elements that seem to follow a consistent design guideline:
Animations on Neon are Stupendously Smooth
Video concepts of Project NEON show off some of the animations in the UI. It puts simply, these animations, are stupendously smooth. Then again, these are just concepts and the “real deal” will likely be a lot different, for better or worse.
If you look closely, it looks like Microsoft is also tweaking the design of the taskbar – but we doubt Microsoft will actually make these changes when it ships NEON later this year. Microsoft is planning many other neat little things internally for NEON as well.
However, do keep in mind that these are just early plans and concepts, so the timeline regarding NEON is quite uncertain at this point of development. Microsoft wants to get the foundation laid for NEON with Redstone 3, which should mean we would start seeing NEON on some of Microsoft’s own apps with the Redstone 3 release. As for the third party, independent developers, they will likely be able to start implementing NEON into their apps as well with Redstone 3 but I was not able to confirm this with multiple sources.