It’s no surprise that a lot of companies have been trying to play catchup with regard to their interface design, so earlier this year at the Build Developer Conference, they launched the Fluent Design System, formerly known as Project Neon – arguably its version of Google’s Material Design. An evolution of the Metro UI design language, fluent design seeks the pursuit of delivering consistent experiences across Microsoft interfaces.

Fluent Design’s main aim is to provide developers with a single language for seamless movement across devices and platforms inclusive of Windows 10, HoloLens, Surface, Xbox, Cortana, and more.

Design Principles

Described by Microsoft as ‘An eloquent design system for a complex world‘ the system’s basic elements are made of light, depth, motion, scale  – and materials. Together, the result is an experience that makes the user feel far away from a computer screen according to the creators. Fluent Design’s ethos is inclusive of immersive Sensory Experiences pushing the envelope of dimensional objectivity in digital format and Co-Creation which allows for sharing and collaboration.

In terms of response, light has proven to be one of the most outstanding features to users, with depth being similar to that of material design though with a more tactile approach to movement. Fluent also displays a focus on animation, using it to make connections and show relationships between elements.


Fluent Design will enable development teams to create apps that exist inclusive of “a wide range of device and input diversity.” The system is also designed to be scalable in terms of its hardware demands.

Present and Future

With incremental movements expected, Microsoft is planning to update the system every few months using feedback from the community and will evolve over many iterations. Concepts include a spatial sound element that uses sound as if it’s behind the user, implemented for notifications, among many other applications.

As the name implies, fluent design is a fluid process and is seen as a growing and developing wealth of interactions, patterns, and interface elements.