Microsoft has rolled out Windows Insider Preview Build 25197 for the Dev channel and it introduces two major changes to the Windows User Interface. The first one is something called Tablet-optimized Taskbar and it is reserved for Windows 11 Tablets and 2-in-1 devices. The other is Animated Icons in the Settings menu which is available to all Windows 11 PCs.
Tablet-optimized Taskbar in Windows 11
The Tablet-optimized Taskbar feature was introduced a while back as a part of a different build, but for some reason, Microsoft decided to pull it back. Now, with the latest Windows Insider Build 25197, the OS development team has reintroduced an improved version of the feature.
The updated version of the Tablet-optimized Taskbar activates automatically while using Windows 11 Tablets and the new Folding Display Laptops when you’re using them without a keyboard (when you disconnect your keyboard). In the case of Flip-mechanism Laptops, it’ll activate when you flip your laptop into tablet mode.
This feature minimizes the taskbar, only showing the most important System Tray Icons at the bottom right in a thinned-out taskbar strip. This prevents accidental interactions or app launches while using your computer as a tablet. However, if you need to access your taskbar in those situations, you can swipe up from the minimized area to get the full-sized taskbar back and swipe down to hide it again.
Animated Settings Icons in Windows 11
Another big change comes in the form of Animated Settings Icons inside the settings app. Now, while scrolling (or switching to) the Settings Navigation Bar on the left, the respective Settings icons, will show micro-animations to make the UI look more fluent.
Among all the productivity improvement based tweaks Windows 11 has been getting lately, these Animated Icons are purely aesthetical. It seems like Microsoft has been taking some lessons from Apple’s design philosophy and trying to walk somewhat on the same path to make Windows a little more interactive while still keeping the major focus on functionality.
Changes to the System Tray
As I’ve just mentioned, Microsoft is also focusing towards visual queues and alongside the Settings menu, they’re also bringing changes to the System Tray in the taskbar. The focus on tray icons is now rounded instead of rectangular. The build is not allowing to rearrange the tray icons, but that’ll probably be implemented in a future build.
However, as this feature just started roll-out, it’s still not available to every user in the Dev Channel. So, if you have this channel set up on your Windows 11 computer, and not seeing this feature in build 25197, it may appear later after the development team monitors the feedback and figure out how well it’s working.
Source: Windows Blog