Microsoft redesigns flagship Office apps for mobile productivity

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 5, 2019, 3:55pm CST
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Microsoft redesigns flagship Office apps for mobile productivity

Microsoft has redesigned several of its Office mobile apps, including OneDrive, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. The company has focused on mobile productivity and the needs of users who are increasingly reliant on their mobile devices. Microsoft has introduced a number of changes to help users save time, including the arrival of a new ‘Play My Emails’ feature in Outlook.

The redesigned Office apps bring Microsoft’s Fluent to iOS and Android, offering an experience the company says is distinctly its own and also ideal for getting things done on phones and tablets. Microsoft teases that it will eventually ‘evolve’ Fluent on mobile for designing 3D experiences of particular use to students and firstline workers.

At the heart of Microsoft’s design is the intention of speeding things up for users, paying attention to how the apps connect and work together as part of the whole system. Users will note the presence of common design elements across all of the updated Office mobile apps, which makes it easier to figure out how to perform actions in each product.

Microsoft will be releasing similar design updates for its Planner, Yammer, and Teams mobile apps in the future. The designs are simple and familiar, featuring search bars at the top, content in the middle, and menus at the bottom. Things will vary a bit between the iOS and Android versions of the apps, however.

The redesign joins Microsoft’s launch of ‘Play My Emails’ in Outlook for iOS (the Android version will arrive early next year), which leverages Cortana to read out the user’s email in the same way one may get the news from Alexa. In its post today, Microsoft’s design team teased that the company is already exploring designs that will facilitate the eventual rise of dual-screen devices, as well.


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