Microsoft's OneDrive Cloud Storage Gets Made Over for the Web

After releasing redesigned OneDrive apps for Android, iOS and Windows, Microsoft turns its attention to the Web application.


Microsoft is closing the gap between the OneDrive mobile and Web app experiences. Users logging into their accounts using their browsers this week will notice an enhanced user interface and new functionality, announced Tyler Rasmussen, principal design manager for Microsoft OneDrive.

The company's cloud file storage, sharing and syncing platform now features a new, more responsive layout. "In order to achieve a truly cohesive web experience across the breadth of devices people use to access OneDrive, we had to start from scratch," which involved rethinking the product's visual grid, color palette and typography, Rasmussen said in a statement.

OneDrive's Web application now conforms to a "4px grid" layout, a change that provides the flexibility, visual density and stability his team was seeking. "Every component was reworked to snap to the new visual and responsive grids: Panels, dialogs, file list, left navigation, commanding, and even buttons," said Rasmussen.

New hues await OneDrive users, but they don't stray far from the distinctive blue used by the company in its branding.

"Our brand color is a well-established #234fa2," said Rasmussen, referencing OneDrive's telltale hex color value. Using it as a basis, "we started there and worked up a full set of complimentary tonal grays with a few accents. We did a deep accessibility pass, made a few adjustments, and arrived at the color palette you see in the product today," he continued.

Finally, Microsoft's designers tackled typography using the Segoe font in a disciplined way, he reported. "We limited the number of treatments used and created a type ramp that created a clear hierarchy of size and weight. We wanted it to feel balanced while providing clarity into the relationship of elements to each other." On screen, the result is an uncluttered interface with crisp text and neatly arrayed files.

Consumers will be treated to the updates before OneDrive for Business users. "The new experience is rolling out to all OneDrive users over the next couple of days and we'll bring this to our business users before the end of this year," said Rasmussen.

Meanwhile, OneDrive for Business customers gain a new Compliance Search feature for those times when a full-blown e-discovery process is overkill.

"Compliance Search is ideal for quick searches across content in Office 365, such as searching for specific credit card numbers in SharePoint as part of a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) project," said Quentin Christensen, senior program manager lead for Office 365 Information Protection, in a June 17 announcement.

"You can use Compliance Search to find data in individual Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint sites, OneDrive for Business locations, and Skype for Business data that has been placed on hold in Exchange mailboxes," he said. "There are no limits on the scale of these searches."

Compliance Search supports Keyword Query Language to fine-tune queries and permission filtering to set limits on the scope of user searches. The feature is available now and will be enhanced over the next several months with the ability to export search results and case management options.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...