Windows 10's Cortana gets a splash of color for the weather

An issue in trying to make your user interface minimal and clean is sometimes you can go too far. In the past, Microsoft has been accused of making their Windows Phone OS boring with 'wasted space' and only dark and light themes.

One of our readers recently noticed that in Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile the weather in Cortana is a little brighter. Specifically, a splash of color has been added to the forecast to add a little pizzaz.

As observed in the above screenshots you can see the new weather layout versus the older, monochrome one on the right. Although this is a small change adding some color back into the text-driven and chrome-defying OS is sometimes a good thing and we like the new look.

The new icons are present on both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 preview builds.

Do you like the new look? Should Microsoft add more color to some parts of the OS, and if so, where? Sound off in comments!

Thanks, Mohamed W., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Still would like it to have the black theme as in WP8.1. :)  The yellow color would pop even more on a black background.
  • Yeah, I do wonder if that is coming back and I agree, it'd really contrast nicely.
  • Hey Daniel, has MS said something about black themes in things like Cakendar, Email etc?
  • No idea, sorry. Use UserVoice/Windows 10 feedback to let them know ;)
  • Well, the reason I'm asking you is because black theme has been repeatedly requested, but anyway, thanks for responding!
  • Looks good! However, it seems they are removing useful information.   I.e. Precipitation information is not there... I think this needs to be included. .  
  • I really hope so because now it looks kinda messy. It looks like a mini white webpage is thrown into that fancy Cortana menu. Dunno how to explain it better.
  • Count++
  • This. I really hope that they don't dismiss the dark theme.
  • They wont as its meant specifically for led displays
  • If I had to guess I'd say they may save Windows 10 Theming for a future update.  Dark theme support seems to be a popular request for all the apps and system.  But I am a bit concerend that Windows 10 for Phone may have less theme support than 8.1 did.  Cortana looked very nice in 8.1 and I agree with the poster above that the white boxes look slightly out of place.  Lets keep hitting them with the feedback requests! :)     
  • I agree with you.
  • Same here. Been using the dark theme since day 1 and I love it. If MS gets rid of the dark theme...idk what I'll do
  • Use the light one?
  • Ew, no. I hate the light theme. I'll bitch and moan until MS brings it back lol
  • Agreed
  • LOL. I vote for the dark theme. I never really thought about it but that would look incredible on my desktop as well as my phone as it currently does.
  • Agree, the dark theme is a must. Love it with the accent colour.
  • White is nice, but when you meet Black you can't go back :) ;) color indeed
  • Once you go black there's no going back*
  • Hahaha lmbo
  • Once you go back, there's no going black
  • @michail71 Totally agree. I love the dark theme. It's all I ever use. It's definitely my preferred theme color option. I hope this persistent white theme with no hint of a dark alternative is not indicative of Microsoft "choosing" for us what theme we're going to be sporting. #bringbackblack :-)
  • Colouring the insides of white strokes on black background could be a pain to the eyes.
  • I prefer black theme background as well.
  • Try setting > personalisation > colours > show colour on, taskbar and action centre > set to "off". Is this what you mean by dark theme?
  • It must come back. It's not just a matter of taste or style, the black theme saves quite a lot of power in phones with AMOLED screens, as black pixels do not use any energy.
  • I think the old one is better. The only color allowed in Cortana should be blue (and black/white, of course).
  • Cortana already has color for the photos ;) I dunno, monochrome does get a bit too boring. Using color sparingly can really draw your eyes toward what is important.
  • Heh, maybe. But I still don't like the yellow :P
  • The yellow rlly throws me off. It's not even pleasant to look at. Im sure there are other shades of yellow that could work better. That's just weird :/ I like monochrome
  • I think they should use the icons from the Windows 10 Weather App
  • You know nothing lordsnow. (I can't belief nobody said that) Jokes aside I agree with you. The yellow has no place there. I do like the light gray background container. It adds a bit more depth and it looked more organized.
  • Nice GoT reference.
  • Do you know why Cortana does not work on Windows 10 mobile
  • Older definitely looks better. Plus, it has daily precipitation percentage. New version doesn't. That's a deal breaker.
  • The new one is amazing.
  • Looks more beautiful
  • Lookin good :)
  • What I really would like to see in Cortana in the Bing vision!
  • MS should have put the "vision" icon since Cortana's release. I miss it too.
  • Its sad the shorcut hack for 8.1 doesn't work if you change back region to non-supported
  • Count++
  • You should be able to say..cortana..give me your vision
  • In 10 can you still turn off Location, then hit search button? It should be at the bottom Does that work in 10? Did it carry over from 8.1?
  • I definitely like it
  • Looks okay but it's kind of a slipperly slope. More color here, a drop shadow here, a gradiant here, etc. I guess in the end to doesn't really matter much though since MS basically already flushed most of their design standards down the toilet.
  • Disagree on that. Using Windows 10 desktop and this is one clean, minimalist and modern looking OS. Those wireframe icons and flat design is really an extension and evolution of what came before.
  • Flat design, yes, Wireframe icons, no. iOS-style toggles, no. Circle profile pictures, no. Those aren't an evolution of Metro, they're MS changing stuff for the sake of change and failing badly at it. I'm not even going to mention hamburger menus and the other idiotic UI changes. There's a lot of stuff to like about Windows 10 desktop but some of the design decisions are disappointing to say the least.
  • "Those aren't an evolution of Metro"
    I'm not sure you or I get to decide what is or is not a continuation of Microsoft's Design Language except for Microsoft. It's like telling an artist what their style is supposed to be. Design is not an ideology, it's fluid and in motion. It changes with the times and it is far from dogmatic. Personally, I think many of you treat Metro/Modern like a borderline religion with strict and specific guidelines that must be upheld. If not, it's sacrilege. Regardless, it is all opinion. I like a lot of it. You don't, that's fine.
  • A continuation would mean building on what is there. I just don't see it with Windows 10. Evolving also doesn't mean dropping stuff that worked well for poorly designed iconography and awkward to use controls. MS may be the artist but it's becoming clear they've lost their way when it comes to design. Zune, WP 7-8.1 W8/8.1. They all share the same language but the UI still evolved with each iteration. The Metro style was there. Now it's bland and watered down with akwardly placed menus/controls and apps that look more like mobile websites than real apps. If that isn't a total deviation from what we had before than I don't know what is. You don't have to be a devout follower of the Metro religion to figure this out. You're right on one thing though: it's all opinion. I don't like the direction MS is heading. No one is paying me to write articles about it though.
  • Windows 8 didn't work at all (I personally like it, but it just didn't take off, poor market share, poor apps, too limited), now they're moving away, far far away (they're even jumping over 10 branding because of it). There's no "continuations", they're starting again.
  • The things you mentioned not working with Windows 8 have more to do with MS' poor marketing and other boneheaded decisions than with Metro design itself. Unfortunately MS didn't figure this out.
  • "MS may be the artist but it's becoming clear they've lost their way when it comes to design"
    Once again, I just see opinion and not anything "clear". They didn't suddenly adopt skeuomorphism, added back drop-shadows and make it look like OSX. The focus is still on content, motion, and information clarity as a Windows developer reminded me. That is what Metro meant to do and I still think Windows 10 does that.
    "You're right on one thing though: it's all opinion. I don't like the direction MS is heading. No one is paying me to write articles about it though."
    Try harder?
  • I mentioned 3 things: Wireframe/hollow icons. They are a backwards step in design as they are harder to see than solid/filled. They also visually fall apart at lower resolutions if the lines are too thin and the icons too small which MS is fond of using in W10 mobile. Why suddenly switch to this style when it introduces these kind of issues? Just a poorly thought out un-Modern change. Circle profile pictures. Basically cropping the edges of a square picture in order to look cute. Not at all usefull and end up butchering a lot of pictures that aren't centered. Again why? Round toggles. Subjective but the amount of hate they get isn't suprisingly. They could've done a much better job. Try harder? You should tell that to MS.
  • To the first point, if you use SVGs then you can control the thickness of lines, etc as the icon scales. I haven't tried W10 mobile so I don't know what they are doing (also current icons are likely not final) but just using those kinds of icons does not have to introduce the issues you mention.
  • That wireframe icon is indeed a bad design. They don't look good on low res screens.
  • Hi, I think I agree with Kram Sacul to a lot of extent. The beauty of Metro Design language lies in the way it differentiates itself. Microsoft is definitely playing safe here with all these new changes. Suddenly people who loved those 3 dots at the bottom right corner to access settings and stuff now are forced to use hamburger menu (which I think is nice to have). I think it is okay to criticise Microsoft if they are not up to it. Especially in a situation like this where they badly need a hit. No one improves without crticism/feedback.
  • I do believe the people working on windows 10 design are mole plant by the twin of small apple. They all use IOS at home.
  • The design standards have been and are basically focus on content. I do get your point regarding the rectangular, monochromatic design we got used to and fell in love with, but MS calls it Modern design language, not Static.
    They have to widen the user base or they can flush the whole Win10 for Mobile (or anything not desktopish) down the toilet, and therefore have to pick up new users by presenting them a fresh, positive and distinguishable UI.
  • The UI is not distinguishable. If anything it's adopting elements of Android and iOS to be more familiar to mobile users. A distinguishable UI is what got us here in the first place.... Well that and MS not giving a shit about mobile.
  • Relax Kram, they won't exactly go overboard on the colour.
  • I like the added color. You can see the weather without looking directly at each day's weather.
  • Agreed
  • Cortana's today trivia feature it's awesome!!!
  • No precipitation percentage anymore? I like to know what are the chances to rain.
  • Right? But that's probably coming back later.
  • Agreed, I could care less about the color. The old layout looks better and I want the % precipitation.
  • Here's the thing with weather apps and info: what people value as important varies greatly. It's the number one reason why there are hundreds of weather apps on the Store, as everyone's definition of what looks great and the app needs to show depends on the individual. In that regard, people will always differ. Having said all of that, Cortana is all backend programming anyway, so Microsoft can (and likely will) keep modifying it. To assist in that, use the Feedback portion of Cortana to tell them your thoughts ;)
  • Cortana is not available here in Brazil, sadly.
  • Looks nice! I can't wait
  • I can dig this especially if Cortana is going to be visiting other platforms soon. The dark/light thing might not work as well.
  • Cool Cool.
  • Haven't seen a change yet. Rolling out in phases?
  • Eww.. the old look was much better.
  • Finally some colors!!
  • You are missing IOS so bad
  • Lets see the final product first. I don't like/use the white theme so I don't think the color looks good with it at all.
  • Did you notice that cortana in Windows mobile 10 is no more in alpha or beta?
  • Yuk, much prefer themed color scheme. Yellow inside the black outlines looks especially ugly. This looks like they are abandoning the principles of Metro even more. :(
  • "This looks like they are abandoning the principles of Metro even more. :("
    As I noted above, Metro is not a religion. They are evolving their design and we need to stop living in 2012. Also, adding color to icons was not a principle of Metro, unless your definition of 'chrome' is so broad that even color is too fancy. Shoot, if color is now in question why even bother with icons? Those are chromey too. Just text-driven EVERYTHING, right?
  • I have zero issue with them evolving Metro, if course they should continue to improve their design language. But in this case, they are regressing, not evolving. I not 100% opposed to using other colors here, but in this case they did it poorly. As a designer myself, I'm often a little more nit picky about these things. But in no way treat Metro as a religion, I simply appreciate the aesthetic principles it followed and am sad to see MS abandon the good ones, just for change. In this case, comparing the before and after, I don't see any value in the change. I don't think it has any impact here on improving the comprehension time for the user. In fact, the new version looks more cluttered and harder to follow visually.
  • FFS already. Metro is dead and rightfully so. A typography driven UI language just doesn't work. Smartphones, PCs and Tablets are not only entertainment devices. Their primary job is to get stuff done and Metro just doesn't cut it in this regard. What you are witnessing right now is the birth of a new, much more straight forward design language, that takes some influence from metro. Also, I feel like not a single person in this community has even the slightest idea of what metro is/was, especially of what principles it consists of.
  • "A typography driven UI language just doesn't work." Really? So what OS have I been using on my Windows Phone all this time? It sure seemed to work fine.  Please put more thought into this.
  • I don't like it, if you asked me, they should just use wireframe icons in either monochrome or accent color.
  • Smaller font. yuk.
  • Live Wallpaper support? Will we ever get it?
  • Seems faster
  • I love it! In fact, I love everything about Cortana
  • Ugh I just wish that some way we could get big windows on mobile in a form that scales the desktop transparent effects, colors, background and even a hibernate or sleep mode would be brilliant on our phones
  • yes
  • Metro is a typography-based design language by Microsoft, primarily for user interfaces. A key design principle is better focus on the content of applications, relying more on typography and less on graphics ("content before chrome") Metro 2.0: Chrome before Content
  • Another religious Metro person. So color is now Chrome? Really. And what about the rest of the OS which has color including accents? Here, I can read the Dead Sea Scrolls of Metro Design too:
    "Metro is a typography-based design language by Microsoft, primarily for user interfaces. A key design principle is better focus on the content of applications, relying more on typography and less on graphics"
    Hey, Microsoft, what's the deal with those icons (graphics)? We don't need fancy ICONS for weather, just text and NO CHROME. And if you disagree with me that icons are chrome, then you are not adhering to your own system that you invented and presumably can change.
  • I hate the new direction Microsoft is moving in. They're completely abandoning Metro's principles. They should have text only, content first philosophy. You know.... Like DOS. I WANT DOS BACK!!! These new "icons" just look too modern :/
  • I think he's just pointing out that it goes a little against the grain of what Metro is about. I agree a little color here and there is nice and some yellows and some blues in a simple weather graphic are fine. Any more would be pushing it although this is Windows 10 where the standards are fuzzy at best. Continue your tantrums against us "religious" fanatics though. We need some comedy around here. ;-)
  • You have literally no idea, what Metro is all about. You know why? Because Microsoft designed Metro with no clear direction or goal. So please quit your bullshit. Sorry to shit on your parade but there is no clear explanation on what content before chrome is all about, either.
  • No distinction or goal? They produced many papers and web pages with very specific guidlines on text, fonts, colors, formatting, etc. Do your homework and spare us the BS, please.
  • I must say i'm with Daniel Rubino here in this discussion.
    More and more people stand out and bitching about design of new OS. Please note where typography-based design language get's Windows Phones ? Market share is pretty low. They have to adapt a little to more people than thy 3% of us in the World. And personally i like the direction where they are heading with Windows 10. Looks fresh and will keep getting polished until release time (for Mobile). Look at this . Look how Outlook should look like in the end - Way way better than Windows Phone 8.x email client.
  • they removed the probability of precipitation (content) and put a new color ("chrome"). Tomorrow will be shadows, gradients ...    
  • Good god, man.  Even if that were true, in this case, the weather IS the fricking content!  You people are mental.
  • I wish they would enable it (Cortana) in more countries... MS+US != MS-US :(
  • Hate that aliased large font. Looks so archaic especially in comparison to the clean look of IOS and Material Design. The thinner line icons look so much better.
  • I use the dark theme on my Icon because with, for example, remote PC apps, I can leave my phone on forever with the remote without it draining the battery because only a few pixels are lit up on the screen.
  • Prefer the monochrome logos tbh.
  • I don't like the vertical alignment of the new sun icon. It's too high. Could be on purpose as in rising happy sun, good weather...
  • They could add more color to the messaging and phone app in windows phone
  • Like green color in the phone symbol which is made inside the default phone app icon
  • There could be the microsoft color i.e. Blue,red yellow \ orange green in the windows 10 symbol
  • Where to suggest Microsoft about windows 10 ?
  • cant wait for the andoird app. i gothound but i am more interested in cortana
  • looks beautiful. i will be checking out it on VmWare rigth now
  • I think Microsoft should add more color to the OS as they have been with Windows 10. I honestly prefer it to just a lifeless black and white them with the accent color. That's just my opinion.
  • I think Microsoft do more with its UI because at present windows look like bore. I like the minimal concept but with more colour presentation in its applications.
  • I saw this today on my W10 phone. Pretty awesome.
  • Old one looks much better for me. Hope is coming back.
  • That's beautiful
  • Siri is coming up now on IOS 9, keep it up Microsoft.
  • I love that they are adding more color to the OS.  I especially would like to see more of it on the phone.  Too much dark becomes bland and gloomy in my opinion.  I've seen too much black on black on gray.  I like dark theme but not for every single menu and app.  The tipping point for me was seeing the dark theme edge browser.  I felt that was over doing it way too much.  Besides 90%+(android/ios) of all smartphone users don't seem to mind having colors throughout their OS of choice.  Microsoft goal is not just to please its own choir but to also appeal to others in hopes to get them to make the switch.  And getting new users is the only way our platform will grow. 
  • what's it matter Cortana doesn't work on Windows 10 anyways
  • Too much white on the mobile phone picture, I hope I'm not the only one that thinks this but both Android and iOS have too much white.
    One of the reasons I love WP is because you can switch black as an overall theme in Windows Phone that affects look and feel of all apps.
    I hope that in Windows 10 Mobile this capability is not removed, the last time I tried WP 10 on a phone, the calendar didn't had this theme propagation and it was all white.
  • Miss Cortana
  • So, we've lost the location name (sometimes useful), replaced the simple word "now" with "Current location forecast," added a line linking to, and added boxes behind each day's forecast. This all just makes things busier, making it more difficult to quickly glance the important data. As you can guess, I'm not a fan of this new look.
  • Black themes are much better on the eyes
  • Wow that's lovely, add more, add more
  • It never worked on my UK 520 with win10. Any help?
  • New one is better
  • Definitely like the new look. It seems interesting now that Windows Phone design language is making its way into the Windows desktop, aesthetics are being polished up. As if Windows desktop designers are reigning in Windows Phone because maybe they had less of a presence when Windows Phone development was more separate from desktop Windows than it is now?
  • They need to give us the option of using a dark theme or accent color on title bars of Win32 apps just like every other version of Windows. Those white title bars are so bland, not to mention too bright when in a dark room.
  • I'd wish to see all places with sprinkles of colour, but black theme everywhere.. Bright colours in the white theme and dull colours in the black theme.. I guess Microsoft should just give it a try.. And then wait for feedback..
  • Im an inch away to leave the windows phone. I would like to try android or iPhone. With my surface for sure. Opinions?
  • Dont leave bro.. Hold on just a bit longer!
  • Same here, windows phone lack far behind android and app problem is another thing to sort out, infact I would love to have app icons like iOS and android have instead of that single line of apps
  • The app list in Android M has been inspired by the Windows Phone app list. That's also now a single vertical line.
  • Leave.
  • Does win10 improve the battery life and they should provide the option of grid view and all like in Symbian for aap menu
  • Hey danny boi! I think its awesome that they're using hint of colors on the OS. I love windows for the fact it is colorful. So good job!
  • cortana, what is cortana? I guess at the ''omega'' stage of development the rest of the world might be able to use this ''Cortana'' thing!
  • Looks good! I like that the low temp is a lighter font, makes it easier to differentiate. Where did precipitation percentage go though? I think I look at that more than the actual temperature
  • What happened to the precipitation percentage???
  • Guys what feature win10 will bring to the phones running on win8.1 update 2 and does it brings the stability and smoothness like iOS or we have to still bear that resumeing problem
  • No, it won't be like iOS. It will be like Windows 10, just the way it should be.
  • Think the old one is better. It looks tacky and frankly awful with a random yellow sun.
  • To misquote Carly Rae Jepsen, I really really really really like this.
  • The rain probability percentage has disappeared! Please bring it back, I need it!!
  • More color!!!
  • More color is good. But, reducing the font sizes is bad. IMO
  • I personally like the color... I think it will look much better in the dark theme.... Going to go make a suggestion in Windows 10 hub to allow for more color settings... Like being able to specify the color of Cortana's rings... I would rather see them blue than my theme color... And also maybe a setting for hypertext color... I like more options rather than less when it comes to customizing... But aa far as the splash of color goes, I like it... Hope the do a little more... Makes it less bland.
  • I liked it when showed the possibility of rain... :(
  • Haha
  • It should have the black coloured theme and also in windows 8.1 it was like u search for anything and u get it all information as news web video and local in just one touch in one theme and in windows 10 it looks just like a browser and looks like Bing's website or home page. So I think in windows 8 it was better in look.