Microsoft’s Neon Project To Redesign Windows for Nerd Goggles – Reports

Microsoft is allegedly revising its Windows 10 design language to embrace the brave new world of virtual reality viewed through techno-spectacles.

Having first annoyed desktop PC users by forcing them to use a phone UI (Windows 8), and then annoyed phone users by forcing them to use a desktop UI (Windows 10 Mobile), perhaps Microsoft’s cunning new plan is to annoy everyone at once, instead.

The “Project Neon” effort will address inconsistencies in Microsoft Design Language 2 (MDL2) as well as improve support for Redmond’s HoloLens gadget and other holographic Windows initiatives, Windows Central’s Dan Rubino hints. The goal is to tweak Windows 10’s interfaces so they can be used through nerd goggles, essentially.

You can’t help notice that among the AR/VR “experiences” showcased today by Microsoft on its own website; distinctly 1990s 2D elements such as close boxes are still prominent.

Microsoft's Neon

Under the “universal” hardware umbrella, Microsoft now has many platforms for which to design – desktop touch and non-touch, mobile, Surface Hub, Xbox, and geek glasses. Although the latter, under the umbrella “Holographic,” encompasses very different capabilities of the budget VR (Virtual reality) slated for Windows 10, and the lavish dedicated HoloLens hardware.

Microsoft's Neon

So if the promise to “straighten things out” for virtual reality sounds familiar, it’s because it has been made before. Here’s Microsoft’s design director Jonathan Wiedemann at Microsoft’s Build conference in March, explaining how Microsoft was now taking design seriously, and how the developer design effort was unified for the first time. And here’s something similar from four years ago.

There’s no shortage of talent at Microsoft, and the influence of the radical “flat” design first introduced in 2010’s Windows Phone Series 7 eventually spread beyond consumer electronics into web page design.

But the designers must navigate treacherous waters, as platforms are born, then sidelined, in a bewildering series of strategy shifts.

Microsoft Project NEON to Bring New Design Language To Windows 10 Apps In Redstone 3

Microsoft Project NEON To Bring New Design Language To Windows 10 Apps In Redstone 3: Since the launch of Metro in Windows 8, Microsoft has iterated on its “Microsoft Design Language” a few times, with MDL2 being the most recent version to grace Windows 10. According to fresh rumor, it looks like a third iteration is en route for Windows 10, and it’s called “Project NEON”.

What NEON ultimately is likely to become is “Metro 2”, the overarching design of Windows and its apps (and the Windows Phone UI) that adheres to very strict guidelines. It’s modern, clean and attractive.

Microsoft's Neon

Windows 8:

While we’re still a ways out from “Metro 2” making its debut, it’s rumored to iterate on Metro rather than dramatically overhaul it. Some sources say that new transitions and animations could be introduced. Basically, it should become even more beautiful and eye-catching.

While aesthetics are not the only important aspect of computing, having a fluid and slick interface can add significantly to overall experience and feel. For developers, one important aspect of Project NEON is that it won’t require much of a learning curve – what you already know isn’t going to go change much or go to waste.

Furthermore, Microsoft is apparently trying to get rid of a lot of inconsistencies between developers in MDL2, offering more definitive guidelines on app design, which should improve the experience across multiple device types.


Small Windows 10 Store

Project NEON is estimated to arrive next fall with the Redstone 3 launch. However, initial preview builds of Redstone 3 could appear much earlier than that. Even at its launch, Project NEON might not be fully realized, so Microsoft could continue iterating leading right up to Redstone 4.

One thing that might not stand out too much is the fact that this is all based around Windows 10. These kinds of changes themselves could help warrant a major OS upgrade, but Microsoft is continuing to focus entirely on its latest OS. This approach so far lives up to the idea that Windows 10 will be the “last monolithic” Windows release.

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