Slow and steady. Microsoft is on a long quest to fix the user interface of the Windows operating system and bring a semblance of uniformity to a UI that has been a mix mash of several different elements.
To that end, Redmond is enabling the Mica design and that acrylic look to all apps and applets in the OS.
This is, obviously, a lengthy and time-consuming process, yet one that is long overdue.
The upcoming version 22H2 release of the operating system is taking a stand in this regard, and offering developers the ability to enable this new material in their Win32 apps. They can now easily enable Mica or Acrylic in the container window of their desktop programs.
The company confirmed this in a new document that it published, confirming that the Mica effect now lives inside the Desktop Window Manage (WDM). Its arrival here now makes it available to a wide range of apps.
A new variable will let software developers specify either of these two materials in their applications.
So popular is this effect that there is, in fact, a 3rd party open-source tool called Mica for Everyone that users a method to force enable Mica in any program.
Mica, if this is your introduction to it, is an important design feature of Windows 11. It is basically an effect that aligns the background color of apps with the desktop. In that manner, it’s similar to Acrylic, but works in a slightly different fashion.
It creates a color hierarchy that aligns the background with the application in a bid to distinguish between multiple open instances of applications like File Explorer. This opaque effect is then applied to select areas of these applications like windows and title bars.
Microsoft describes this fancy translucent effect as one that is more than a simple transparency — it essentially samples the desktop wallpaper to create a translucent effect.
Getting back to this update, while this new development is good news for everyone, there is a catch.
Redmond has made the new variable exclusive to Windows 11 22H2, or build 22621 thereof. In other words, developers who are targeting prior versions of the operating system will not be afforded this luxury of painting their applications with this new effect.
They will be stuck with the old design.