The “Flair” user interface (seen above) has become a familiar sight for the users of Windows Live products and services. It has become the standard look for any of Windows Live’s websites or applications. Flair has been widely adopted throughout the Windows Live network since around last summer, although the UI concept was introduced on some sites prior to that. Despite being an excellent and recognizeable interface, we will likely be seeing the death of Flair in the near future.
The coming months will bring a complete visual revamp of both Windows Live websites and applications. This has already become apparently in the past couple of weeks with the release of the beta versions of Messenger 8.5, Mail, and Writer. Here are some examples of what changes we can expect to see. Most of these you have seen already, but we have a never before seen preview of the new Windows Live web UI.
Windows Live Header
This is the probable design for the new standard UI throughout Windows Live websites after the change.
This possible new UI header design takes up a little less real estate vertically than its Flair predecessor, leaving some more room for content underneath. It also provides some quick links to other Windows Live services in addition to the “Orb Menu” on the left. I also included the contents of the new Orb Menu, which has a few entries that you might find interesting. Since this search bar will, presumably, be present on all of the new Windows Live sites, I think that we can assume that it will react differently to the content on the page. For example, if you are in Mail, it will search your mail, if you are in Expo, it will search listings.
Windows Live Messenger
As you can see, the Flair has been removed from the top of the contact list and has been replaced with the new UI. Other than that, there is not a whole lot to talk about in regards to the UI upgrade in Messenger.
Windows Live Mail
The new Windows Live Mail application looks very similar to the Windows Live Mail desktop Beta. Obviously, the header displays the new UI feel.
Windows Live Writer
Writer has probably seen the most dramatic change from its original version. The new look is now much more consistent with the rest of Windows Live.
Although I cannot give an exact timeframe for when this new look will be rolled out completely throughout Windows Live, we are clearly already seeing it start to pop up in certain forms.