Microsoft has recently announced that it is launching a new version of its Outlook mobile app for iOS today. This time Microsoft is taking a different approach as this is nearly all about design. There are a little bit changes and there that are designed to polish up the Outlook for iOS experience. The calendar icon animates when you’re moving backwards and forwards, and swiping to take actions on emails now includes haptic feedback so it feels like you’re moving an email. While you might not immediately notice these changes, there’s one very obvious and blue addition at the top of the app.
Miles Fitzgerald, who leads the mobile design for Outlook said “We’re bringing the family together, and we’re proud of our brand.” The blue was part of Android, but this latest design is clearly a bigger effort to move away from the all white design of Outlook for iOS that originally shipped as an app to compete with Apple’s built-in mail app. Microsoft originally acquired its Outlook for iOS app when it was accomplish four years ago, and it now has more than 100 million users across Android and iOS. Microsoft is also working on a dark mode for Outlook mobile, and it’s a highly requested feature. That dark mode won’t debut today, but it’s something that will appear in a future update.
The design changes also extend to just making things quicker and easier to use. You’ll now get prompted to setup custom swipes if you go to use that feature, and there’s favorite folders to make mail management a little quicker. Microsoft has also included avatars within the inbox, so it’s easy to glance at your messages and see who they’re from. Even responding to calendar invites has been improved, simply by adding an inline view of your calendar when you’re about to hit accept or deny. Search now includes recent people and queries, just to make finding things a little more convenient.
All of these little changes add up, even if people don’t even immediately notice them. We do a lot of research and understanding if it actually increases positive feelings for the product, explains Jon Friedman, who leads Microsoft’s design efforts for Office. What we’ve found is that if people have more positive feelings towards a product, which is different than just how they rationally think about it, there’s a correlation to higher net promoter score, higher retention, and longer life time value of that people using the app.
The new Outlook will be available in Apple’s App Store today from there you can easily try it out.