It’s well past time for flare in Windows

Greysen Paige
3 min readOct 25, 2023

Every time Microsoft puts out a new promotional video for any new product or service, I find myself in awe of the beauty and fluidity of every element and animation. The most recent example was at their most recent event showcasing Copilot AI Assistant and the new lineup of Surface devices. I was interested, excited, and honestly, thrilled with what I saw.

Then I received my Microsoft Surface Laptop a few days later.

Not only was the fluidity missing, but compared to my Google Pixel (or iPhone 15 Pro before it), or compared to my M2 Max powered 16" MacBook Pro, it felt downright cold and rigid. A digital rigidity that felt like plastic in cold temperatures, ready to crack, snap, and shatter. Technical issues aside, it didn’t feel joyful to use, a far cry from the inviting and fun animations in their product videos.

Microsoft has great ideas, but they need to deliver them in their final products.

One thing that stood out to me more than anything was the fun and engaging nature of these animations, which led my eye exactly where it needed to go. Reminding me of the basis of Google’s Material Design, that the design and animations had to be realistic to real life. Nothing could appear or disappear like magic, all windows and elements had to come from somewhere on screen and go somewhere. I saw this most evidently in asking Copilot to enable dark mode, and when it did, it smoothly took over the whole interface. Alongside the Windows Hello smiley animation, which actually does exist in real life, I was optimistic this was real.

To no surprise, this does not actually happen. But why doesn’t it?

While I’ll grant you, not all computers can handle this type of extra load, many can, and that number is growing. Every computer I have could, and I should have the ability to enable these types of magical experiences. But this goes much deeper, and I hope Microsoft will look at where I feel this starts. Scrolling.

Smooth scrolling on a Mac web browser with elastic bounce for a realistic feel

Scrolling on Mac & Mobile is smooth. Scrolling on Windows is janky.

This is a view from a Mac web browser (Arc Browser, which I’m thrilled to say will be on Windows by the end of the year.) Unlike your mobile device, or any Mac, Windows does not have truly smooth scrolling. While scrolling on a Mac feels like an infinitely smooth stream of water, with a nice elastic bounce at the end, Windows is rigid and choppy and as the company that supports extremely high frame rate monitors it creates a dissonance that I just can’t stomach.

The new Windows design language and new versions of Outlook & Teams gives me hope ahead of the Windows 12 release in 2024.

The recently released versions of Outlook and Teams are both beautiful and provide much better performance. While I think the Mac version of Outlook looks better than Windows at this moment, (especially it’s LGBTQ+ theme in dark mode), I have hope that this is just the first step towards Microsoft’s love affair with beauty and animations that match their promotional videos. With a toggle of course, for all my efficiency and performance focused friends.

Like all things in life, power of choice is key, so please give us the option to make everything as smooth as silk.

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Greysen Paige

He/Him 🔵 • Executive @ Firebrand 💼 • Formerly @ Apple📱 & Google 🔎 • Eco-Warrior 🌍 • LGBTQIA+ 🏳️‍🌈 •