Hands on with Microsoft Edge’s new modern look for Windows 11

Microsoft Edge redesign

Windows 11 introduces new features and opportunities for
everyone. For developers, Microsoft has introduced a new design
feature called “Mica”, which is an opaque and dynamic material
that will allow apps to respect the theme and desktop
wallpaper. As expected, this new design is also coming to
Microsoft Edge along with Fluent Design.

Fluent Design is not a new feature and it’s already available
in Windows 10 or Windows 11, as well as recent Microsoft apps,
but some effects are currently missing in the company’s Edge
browser.

Back in 2020, the Microsoft Edge team said the transparency
effect that so many people seem to love is not the company’s
number one priority. However, with the latest update for Edge
Canary on Windows 11, we’re finally seeing a proper
implementation of the Fluent Design language, including an
acrylic transparency effect for the menus.

Edge UI update brings Fluent Design’s acrylic effect to the
right-click or context menu and the browser’s primary menu (aka
three dots menu). At the first glance, Microsoft Edge’s new
design looks much more modern and is something that will
improve overall consistency on Windows 11.

Microsoft Edge context menu

It’s worth noting that there isn’t a pivotal focus on Fluent
Design’s transparency in the latest Microsoft Edge overhaul.
For example, the title bar is using a new design element called
“Mica”. At the first glance, it may look like the traditional
transparency or acrylic effect, but that’s not the case.

Microsoft Edge title bar

Unlike Fluent Design’s acrylic transparency, Mica is an opaque
and dynamic material that uses Windows 11’s native theme and
desktop wallpaper to paint the background of the app’s title
bar, as shown in the above screenshots.

Developers can apply Mica to their app’s backdrop to create a
“visual hierarchy” and improve the clarity of the window which
is in focus. At the moment, Microsoft is testing the Mica
effect for the title bar only and it’s very subtle, so you may
not notice it on darker backgrounds.

Microsoft is also making the Edge menus brighter and the
browser’s window comes with additional space around the
minimize/close buttons.

To try the new look, you need to be running the Canary build of
Edge and visit edge://flags and then enable the flag “Windows
11 Visual Updates”. Note that this flag is under development
and Microsoft could be working on additional improvements for
Edge on Windows 11.

In addition to design improvements,
Microsoft Edge has also received support for a tabs sharing
tool, improved built-in game, and more in the latest
updates.

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