Tech Overlook

Power and simplicity: new Outlook mobile design helps you get things done faster


Today, we’re rolling out exciting updates to Outlook for iOS with recognizable avatars and optimized swipe and scroll usability that reflects the continuation of our design-driven journey and helps you connect, organize, and get things done. We’ve been meticulously tailoring both Outlook for iOS and Android, making it faster than ever to achieve your goals and maximize your time while on the go.

Design is becoming the heart and soul of Office, something reflected in the Office 365 user experience updates announced this summer and the new icons we revealed last week. Outlook mobile will be among the first app to adopt its new icon, and, much like the entire Office 365 suite, design thinking and craftsmanship have been driving Outlook mobile forward. It’s a key reason why we’ve exceeded more than 100 million iOS and Android devices and our app store ratings are consistently above 4.5.

Great mobile experiences don’t just shrink desktop designs, they rethink the process by understanding mobile’s unique design opportunities and constraints. Unlike a desktop, our phones live with us in our pockets and purses. This proximity and immediacy create the need for more personal, efficient, and even playful experiences that require a mobile-first approach.

Mobile productivity increasingly happens through a series of micro-tasks that take place in seconds, not minutes. This makes it vital to design experiences with less typing and taps, where your attention is brought to what matters most, and where key context is always available at a glance.

By creating resonant experiences that cater to these micro-moments, Outlook mobile offers delightful, simple, and powerful experiences that ensure you get in and out of the app quickly, gracefully, and with ease. We do this by following our core mobile-first design principles:

  • Deliver uncompromised craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • Create fast and focused experiences.
  • Provide key context at a glance.

Let’s explore these principles in practice.

Quality and delightful craftsmanship

Great experiences are felt as much as they are seen. When we craft them, we pay attention to the details that make Outlook mobile feel faster.

With the new design in Outlook for iOS, we’re introducing new sensory feedback to create a resonant experience with the device cradled in your hand. When you swipe right or left on an email, subtle changes in color, shape, and iconography unfold. The corners of the message transform from hard-edged to soft and round, metaphorically pulling that item away from the message list and sending it where you want it to go—with haptic feedback.

Animated image of a mobile phone showing a user swiping to archive an email in Outlook mobile.

Delight is brought to you through moments that happen within milliseconds, like the new animated calendar icon that fans forward or backward as you scroll through your agenda, or the instant insight provided in your inbox by signaling a potential meeting conflict. This craftsmanship makes Outlook mobile a gratifying, powerful experience as you quickly move on with your day.

Fast and focused

The first thing most will notice as we roll out the Outlook for iOS changes over the next few weeks is the bold color that creates a more vibrant experience. We recognize that people use many apps on their devices and quickly switch between apps to complete tasks.

A strong app header with bold color and typography helps you easily find your way to Outlook while rapidly switching between monochromatic apps to quickly complete your task and get back to what matters. The experience is consistent across mobile email, search, and calendar; and for those who use Outlook on a large screen, the blue header connects you to your familiar inbox and calendar no matter which Outlook you use.

Animated image of a mobile phone, its user swiping between Focused and Other in the Focused Inbox in Outlook.

As a native app, we embrace the native font and use of typography, so Outlook feels perfectly at home on your device of choice. The bolder, larger iOS typography, however, shouldn’t compromise the experience, which is why as you scroll on your iPhone and iPad, the size of the header is dynamically reduced to maximize your message list to view and find what you’re looking for.

Contextually relevant

With the new iOS refresh, we improved the usability of more core experiences. The Focused Inbox toggle and message list filtering experience now orientate you to your content and accounts in a way that provides clarity and confidence.

If you’re a single account user, the app is personalized with your avatar. If you have multiple accounts and calendars added to the app, new account icon cues help you easily switch between them. Bright, bold avatars are also added to your contacts, so you’ll instantly recognize senders in the message, top contacts in search, and attendees in meeting invites.

In addition, did you know you can schedule an event when you know your team’s availability without typing a single letter? When designing the scheduling experience in Outlook mobile, we brought forward all people, dates, and place elements required into context so you could simply slide the options around the calendar to quickly find the time and place that works, no typing required. Through iterations on both iOS and Android, Outlook mobile delivers a powerful experience that helps you achieve your goals and save you time—so you can get back to what matters in your day.

Animated image of a mobile phone showing a user adding brunch to her calendar.

Send us your feedback

We’re humbled every day by the support and feedback we receive from our customers that help us improve the app. We’re excited about the new experiences in Outlook for iOS and hope you’ll love them too as we start rolling them out today. Download Outlook mobile so you can experience the updates that will help you get things done faster and save you time. We’re sincerely interested in your feedback as we strive to create the best products to help you achieve your goals. Please don’t hesitate to tell us what you think!



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