A DESIGN WITH ALL-CAPS

A DESIGN WITH ALL-CAPS

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Let’s talk about the all-caps menus.

When we shared the RC design preview with you, we expected the uppercase menu would generate mixed feedback and emotions. We had seen similar reactions from early adopters and from our own internal users prior to posting about it. Rest assured that we’ve heard you, and we’ve been thinking through what should be done here. Using uppercase for the menus was not an arbitrary decision, and I think it will help the discussion to frame why we made this change.

We’ve chosen to use uppercase styling in the top menu for two main reasons: 1) to keep Visual Studio consistent with the direction of other Microsoft user experiences, and 2) to provide added structure to the top menu bar area.

On the first point, the use of uppercase text is becoming a strong signature element of styling for navigation and headings in Microsoft user interfaces. You can see it in the Azure Portal, in Zune, and in the latest Bing search results update.

On the second point, we explored designs with and without uppercase styling. In the end we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area in Visual Studio 2012.

Standard Case

Uppercase

Based on early feedback on this application of uppercase styling, we made two modifications to our design. First, we tuned the typography of the menu to better adjust to uppercase text, including increased spacing between menu items from 14px to 20px to make menu items stand out better. Secondly, we moved Quick Launch to the title bar to make more room on the menu bar, especially for cases where a user has installed add-ins that add their own top-level menus.

As with most style changes, there has been both positive and negative feedback. We realize that some of you will continue to dislike this change, and you’ve been very direct in expressing your opinions on this subject.  Our view remains that this is the right design for the Visual Studio user interface for the reasons I mentioned above. That said, we will enable you to customize the casing, and we are exploring options for how to expose that choice. We will post again once we’ve settled on a final approach to be available in RTM.

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  • Then please, DON'T make ALL CAPS the default... If a developer wants it, he or she can opt-in.

  • YOUR REASONING AS TO WHY YOU MADE THIS CHANGE ONLY MAKE ME MORE CONCERNED THAT YOU HAVE LOST YOUR WAY! THIS IS NOT ZUNE OR A WEBSITE! THIS IS A TOOL THE WE RELY ON TO BE AS PRODUCTIVE AS POSSIBLE. IT SEEMS AS IF THE PERSON WHO MADE THE DECISION DOES NOT USE THE PRODUCT ENOUGH.

    ANYWAYS THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING A WAY TO MANUALLY REVERSE THE STUPID DECISION!

  • So first you screwed up the UI, then you tried to fix it by adding ALL CAPS. Really? VS 2010 was doing just fine without all caps.

  • "On the second point, we explored designs with and without uppercase styling. In the end we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area in Visual Studio 2012."

    You guys CAN'T even explain it, what a joke!

  • 1) All caps is bad design; the fact that other apps choose to have bad design is not a good excuse. I understand there is probably some internal politics involved but I hope whoever is pushing caps comes to their senses soon.

    2) Menus don't need emphasis. They've been the same literally from the beginning of Windows. We're used to them. We know where they are. We know what they look like. And they're one of the most universal and intuitive pieces of UI.

  • This is a post attempting to justify an all caps menu bar on a site which has a non-all caps menu bar.  

  • As long as the IDE works well then I could care less about the use of caps.  I simply don't care.

  • I don't like the all caps but good work for finally coming out and talking about it directly. Talk like 'we are internalising your feedback' is just BS.

  • ALL CAPS DESIGN IS ALMOST ALWAYS BAD. I IGNORE IT IF IT IS USED ON SOME WEBSITE OR IN SOME MINOR SOFTWARE I SPEND ONLY FEW MINUTES IN. BUT I SPEND SEVERAL HOURS A DAY IN VISUAL STUDIO AND I REALLY DON'T LIKE IT. PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE, SUCH AS VS AND OFFICE SHOULD NOT USE IT. IT MAY BE FINE FOR MEDIA PLAYERS, GAMES ETC. BUT NOT FOR REAL SOFTWARE.

    MICROSOFT, PLEASE, FORGOT ABOUT ALL YOUR UI DESIGN IDEAS. ALMOST EVERY YOUR NEW UI DESIGN IS A DISASTER. STARTING WITH OFFICE 2010, CONTINUING WITH METRO AND VS11. ONLY BRIGHT EXCEPTION WERE SOME PARTS OF W7. FOCUS ON THINGS YOU'RE GOOD IN - FEATURES, INTEGRATION, PRODUCTIVITY.

    For everybody who does not like WHEN VISUAL STUDIO IS SHOUTING AT YOU go here www.richard-banks.org/.../how-to-prevent-visual-studio-2012-all.html and learn how to disable this "feature".

    JACOB +1, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

  • I dispair.

    ALL CAPS MENUS?

    DO YOU KNOW THATS LIKE SHOUTING?!

    - I don't like applications that shout at me.

    "We realize that some of you will continue to dislike this change" - you misspelled "most"

    Seriously, developers rarely enjoy change unless they can see value in it.

    Go look up 'Cognitive dissonance', and how it applies to user interface design and stop messing with what works, and has worked well for around 20? years.

    Begrudging thanks for a checkbox hidden deep in the options somewhere for turning this brain dead feature off.

  • I don't see any upper case in the Azure management portal - what am I missing here?

  • "On the second point, we explored designs with and without uppercase styling. In the end we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area in Visual Studio 2012."

    Why do menus need emphasis? They are a utility, they don't need my attention unless I'm actively looking for them.

  • Keep the All Caps, don't deviate from the cross-product design patterns established by Zune (which is a beautiful app). You can't please everyone, the haters 'll get used to it - whether they acknowledge it now or when it happens. Can't wait for VS2012, looks slick ...

  • I wonder how long it takes before someone comes up with a way for VS2010 to do .net 4.5? I mean, 2010 had a lot of issues that kept people on 2008 because of the awful state WPF was in, but it had more than enough going for it (multi-monitor support) to be a compelling Update.

    VISUAL STUDIO 2012 ON THE OTHER HAND REALLY LOOKS LIKE IT WAS DESIGNED BY A PROGRAMMER, AND AS IF SOMEONE WITH A CORPORATE BACKGROUND FORCES IN THAT IT HAS TO LOOK LIKE METRO REGARDLESS IF IT MAKES SENSE OR NOT. CONTRAST, FOCUS ON THE IMPORTANT PARTS OF THE SCREEN, EASY TO GROK WHAT'S GOING ON - THE STAPLES OF ANY VISUAL DEVELOPMENT TOOL, ARE GONE IN 2012. I REALLY, REALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON, IT LOOKS LIKE MICROSOFT REALLY WANTS TO GAMBLE THE COMPANY ON METRO. APPLE MAY HAVE PULLED THAT OFF ONCE, BUT ONLY BECAUSE OS 9 WAS TRULY ANCIENT AND OS X WAS TRULY EXCITING. WITH MICROSOFT, WINDOWS 7 AND VISUAL STUDIO 2010 ARE COMPELLING, MODERN PRODUCTS. THROWING ALL THAT AWAY SEEMS MADNESS. I REALLY HOPE THAT THERE'S A 64-BIT VERSION OF VISUAL STUDIO NOW?

  • COMPARING VS WITH WEBSITES IS JUST INSANE.

    BING/ZUNE HAS AROUND 5 MENU WHILE VS HAS AROUND 17 MENU. THAT IS A LOT OF DIFFERENCE AND IT FEELS LIKE VS IS SHOUTING AT ME ALL THE TIME.

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