Microsoft announced a slew of "user experience updates" for Office 365 on Wednesday, which will become available in the months to come. During its roll out phase, Microsoft will continue to experiment and garner customer feedback on the changes, according to the announcement.
Part of the changes includes simplifying the Office 365 ribbon. Users can still expand their ribbon to "the classic three-line view" to use more screen space for commands. Before Microsoft launches the ribbon change widespread on apps like Word and Excel, it is collecting customer feedback so it doesn't "disrupt" their work too suddenly.
The aesthetics of apps are changing to include "scalable graphics" with different colors and icons. The search function is also undergoing simplification with predictive "zero query search," enabled by AI and Microsoft Graph, according to the announcement.
Microsoft's announcement comes just after Google's Gmail renovations in April, but both companies are reacting to a larger push around improved user engagement.
While some of the updates Microsoft is introducing are purely aesthetic, they speak to human nature and employees' willingness to engage with something that is more visually appealing. Though Microsoft is one of the largest and most respected names in technology, its legacy reputation could limit its desirability when compared against companies like Google.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has credited Office 365 as being the "bigger than anything we've achieved," and that includes bringing personal computing to life for the 43-year-old company. Though Microsoft has an impressive mark on the enterprise IT market, it is one the company still trying to grow in.
Technology is the most promising tool for maintaining a competitive edge in companies' market space and hiring. Nearly 60% of potential hires take an organization's technology offerings into consideration before committing to a position.
User experience updates could help attract and maintain the workforce companies want and need. Yet 64% of employees already think their company could become digital laggards if new technologies aren't integrated.
Employees look for reliable resources with ease of use. Digitalization creates a company culture that employees can praise. In contrast, nearly 40% of workers whose company lacks digital progress don't have a positive view of company culture.