When it comes to software, looks aren’t everything - but they’re definitely important. A well-designed app can be the difference between a program that gets the job done and a program that is a genuine pleasure to use. Microsoft has been on a redesign frenzy lately, modernizing everything from their home screen icons to entire applications in an effort to create an experience that radiates brand cohesion, simplifies the user experience, and creates a family of tools that consumers won’t just use, but that they’ll fall in love with.
This week features a lot of major announcements coming out of Microsoft Ignite, a digital event showcasing the incredible advancements that the company is making in the world of technology and artificial intelligence. However, alongside these major flagship announcements is a smaller debut that you’ll be noticing within a number of days - assuming that you’re a Mac user.
Alongside the launch of Big Sur comes a revamped and revitalized take on Outlook for Mac, a program that millions around the world use each day to work, communicate, and collaborate with each other. While the program currently accomplishes the goal (yes, it does actually send emails), it’s clear that this version has been on Microsoft’s back burner for months… until now.
Out with the Old and In with the New
The newest version of Outlook for Mac leaves behind its legacy design, ditching the ribbon and completely rebuilding the experience from its aesthetic to its functionality.
The latest update brings “a familiar Outlook experience that feels native on a Mac, the new Outlook for Mac has been meticulously crafted so that it feels smooth, easy to use, and powerful,” says Jessica Wilczek, Project Marketing Manager at Microsoft. Instead of fitting a Windows product into a Mac world, this version of Outlook is designed around the style, functionality, and modernity of the Mac space. Users will notice minimalistic menus, rounded icons, and cleaner fonts that bring it in line with what users expect from programs designed around the world of Macs.
Faster Than Ever Before
In the corporate world, speedy communications are key. In Outlook, your email is faster than ever before. Faster loading times, quick syncing, and enhanced search results shave time of each task you perform to help you work smarter and do more each day.
Simplifying the Way You Work
Let’s not beat around the bush - Outlook can be clunky. Between a cluster of folders on the sidebar and a cluttered ribbon in the header, it can be a lot to take in. With the new design, Microsoft has brought together the elements of Outlook that matter the most and make a difference in your day to day life. With a customizable My Day pane, an extended calendar, and your inbox, you’ll be able to access exactly what you need to prepare yourself for the day ahead - all across the same screen. Microsoft’s integrations come into play with the People view, instantly providing the ability to check contact information, write a new email, or kick off a Teams chat with just a few taps.
As if this wasn’t enough, it’s finally here: a unified inbox. Bring all of your inboxes together under one roof, eliminating the need to switch into different accounts while also keeping you from ever missing an email. Email monitoring isn’t the only thing that’s getting easier. You’ll now see calendars grouped based on how they were made - calendars that you created, those that were shared from another user, or those that are automatically shared within your organization.
Built Around the Way You Work
There’s only one characteristic shared across every person across the world - each one is different. This applies to their work life, too! No matter how you use Outlook, the experience can be deeply customized around the way that you get work done each day. From contact labels to toolbar buttons, you’re able to completely customize the program’s layout to fit a design that works for you. And, of course, yes... there is a dark mode. Personalizing your work experience is great, but Microsoft has taken it a step further - personalize when you’re ready to work. A snooze feature is coming to Outlook, providing users the ability to set another notification for an email at a time that works better for them. The days of jotting a note or setting a reminder in Microsoft To Do to reply to that late-night email thread are gone.
While no definitive release date has been given, the release window is right around the corner. The revitalized experience will be rolling out to all Mac users in late-October, which means it’s just in time to get put to work throughout Q4 of this year. While many users live entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of people around the world that live and breathe Apple products. For Microsoft to finally be rebuilding the Outlook experience for Mac users reflects an initiative that the company has been pushing across Windows and Xbox in recent years: meet the consumer where they are and provide value in that space. It’s this consumer-friendly approach that will pay dividends for Microsoft well into the future as their marketshare grows and their strategy evolves to connect with users around the world.
For companies interested in getting started with Microsoft Outlook or the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite of programs, our team at SeedSpark is ready to help. With a team of certified Microsoft professionals and a deep knowledge of the IT space, we’ll connect your company with hardware and software that helps your team work smarter each day, whether that be remotely or in the office.