Cortana gets major UX refresh in the latest Windows Insider build

Microsoft today released Windows 10 Build 17063 to Insiders in the Fast Ring and Skip Ahead with several new features. One of the key improvements delivered in this build is for Cortana. Microsoft is finally redesigning Cortana UX on Windows 10 devices. Cortana’s Notebook has got a new look and it is now more organized with tabbed view, new Organizer and more.

  • Your content has a new home called Organizer that lets you access your lists and reminders with ease. And all Skills are together, so you can easily configure Cortana to suit your needs. Configuration experience has also been significantly simplified.
  • Tabbed view to cleanly segregate your content and configuration and single page to manage Cortana’s Skills and easy way to discover more.
  • Simplified configuration experience page with easy interest management.

This UX change is a server side update and Microsoft is now rolling out to English (United States) users and will be rolled out to other markets in the coming weeks. Apart from the UX change around Cortana Notebook, Microsoft is moving the account entry point out of Cortana’s Notebook and into the navigation menu to improve discoverability and consistency.

Microsoft is also merging Cortana Collections with Lists. Cortana will offer personalized suggestions and help users in List creation with all new interface. Cortana will help users in keeping track of their To-Do’s and manage Grocery lists. It will offer suggestions on items of interest –  restaurants to try out, recipes to make, books to read, movies & shows to watch, things to shop for and more. This feature is limited to English (United States), users who are logged into both Windows and Cortana with their Microsoft Account. Since Microsoft is changing how Cortana’s Collection works, you need to migrate your existing data to their collection APIs. Your existing lists will appear on suggestions, you can drag and drop them back into the list.

With this build, users can now use Cortana to control music playback on more of their favorite music apps. In the US, they are enabling natural language compatibility for Spotify with support for queries like below.

  • Play Christmas music on Spotify
  • Play my discover weekly playlist on Spotify
  • Play <Artist/Track/Title/Genre/Mood> on <AppName>
  • Play some Drake
  • Play focus music
  • Play rock music
  • Play my tracks

Once music is playing you can ask Cortana what’s playing like this:

  • Hey Cortana, what’s playing?

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