Long gone are the days when Microsoft’s design language was considered clinical and flat, although there a time it was literally the latter. The company has finally become more conscious of beautiful design in the past years and its recent Fluent design has been the culmination of that evolution. More than just for Windows and Office, however, Microsoft is pushing that design language to almost all of its products, including the Xbox Store app coming to consoles this year.
Although it had things like Aero way back in the Windows 7 days, it wouldn’t be until Windows 8 and its “Modern” (formerly “Metro”) design that Microsoft would make a big deal about its design choices and consistency across its platforms. Now it’s making an even bigger design push that covers not just appearance but even interaction methods and, especially, animations.
To some extent, Fluent combines Aero’s use of “glass” with Modern/Metro’s use of square and predominantly flat iconography. Of course, Fluent has its own character in the form of rounder corners, use of colors and shadows, and the blurred translucency of acrylic. All of these elements can be easily seen in a leaked preview of the Xbox Store app that has been given a visual refresh under the codename “Mercury”.
While the upcoming app shares a lot of the visual design cues of other new Fluent experiences, it takes it one step further with judicious use of animations. Almost every part of the interface has an animation that, for desktop users, could feel like a waste. Gamers on Xbox consoles, however, are used to such effects day in and day out.
When this mercurial Xbox Store app redesign will come is still unknown at this point but Microsoft could time it with the launch of the Xbox Series X. The new Store app also gives a preview of what the Windows 10 Store itself might look like in the future, though Microsoft will hopefully pare down the animations for desktop users’ aesthetic sensibilities and performance expectations.