Microsoft shows off 'Z-depth layering' 3D feature in its Fluent Design System

Microsoft's new design language for Windows 10 is taking developers on by storm. The Fluent Design System has already started showing up in apps with the Creators Update, and in the Fall Creators Update, we'll see Fluent Design show up in even more areas throughout the system.

What is Z-depth layering?

It's important to understand that although Fluent Design has now officially been announced, we're still several Windows 10 releases away from it being everywhere in the OS. The Fluent Design takeover is a journey that spans across Redstone 2, Redstone 3, Redstone 4 and beyond.

Microsoft knows this, and it has even outlined some of the plans it has for its second wave of Fluent Design improvements. In a breakout session at the Build 2017 conference last week, the Fluent Design team talked about what they're experimenting with for Wave 2 of Fluent Design, including bringing features such as Z-depth layering to the Fluent Design System.

Z-depth layering is a neat user-interface (UI) feature that will allow 2D apps to have a 3D viewing experience when in a Mixed Reality environment. For example, in the demo Microsoft showcased you can have the background of an app further away from the content being displayed on an app page, giving it a sense of depth when moving around the window.

This feature is specifically focused on 3D, with either a HoloLens or Mixed Reality headset. Microsoft is all-in on Mixed Reality and honestly believes it's the future. So it makes sense to hear that future plans for Fluent Design are evolving to fit the 3D world.

This functionality is only really beneficial when using either a Mixed Reality headset or a HoloLens. 3D is a big deal for Microsoft, and Wave 2 of the Fluent Design System may also include 360-degree video playback, conscious headers and more.

Make sure you check out Fluent Design in the Mail app, and in Microsoft Edge too. Stay tuned to Windows Central for more on the Fluent Design System and what's next for Windows 10.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads