Like most of Office 2010, the new version of Outlook sports a slightly refined look. But do those changes actually serve a purpose?
The official Outlook 2010 blog has a fairly lengthy post explaining the design changes between Office 2010 and its predecessors. Quite aside from rolling out the Ribbon throughout the product, there's also been a lot of colour and design tweaking:
We have removed the glassy blue gradients and bright orange selection color so that the buttons are less distracting and more refined.
Not everyone seems to agree; several respondents on the site have noted that the new all-grey look seems uninspiring and depressing.
None of these changes seem wildly objectionable to me, and I'm all for a fairly minimal design aesthetic. At the same time, I can't help feeling that some alterations are more change for change's sake -- an easy way of saying the product has "improved" -- than something that would make any real difference to the end user. My own experience offering informal tech support to family and friends suggests that even minor changes can be disorienting, so that kind of switch isn't always welcome.
What do you think? Does the new Outlook 2010 look like a welcome shift, or is it a last gasp for a product rapidly being eclipsed by online mail? Do you want more colour in your inbox? Share your visions in the comments.
The Look and Feel of Outlook 2010 [Microsoft Outlook 2010 Blog]