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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  • Please add 4 and 6 and type the answer here:
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  • I AM NOT A FAN OF THE ALL CAPS MENUS AND BELIEVE THE UI CONVERGENCE MICROSOFT IS AIMING FOR IS POTENTIALY DANGEROUS. VISUAL STUDIO IS SOMETHING I USE EVERY DAY AND TURNING THIS OFF SHOULD NOT REQUIRE A REGISTRY CHANGE. THE COMBINATION OF THE RIBBON UI, WINDOWS 8 AND NOW DEVELOPER TOOLS BEING AFFECTED IS PUSHING ME TOWARDS DEVELOPING FOR LINUX.

  • Kudos for the Quick search bar.   Minimal wasted screen real estate and rapid effective navigation.  Nice!

    However, EPIC FAIL on the all caps file menu.

    This design choice makes a fundimentally incorrect assumption.  As a developer, I DON'T want emphasis on the file menu.   In fact, the file menu it is a seldom used distraction.   My focus is on the task as hand: completing my code, reviewing test results, updating work items... and so on.   For almost every action navigable via the file menu, I use a short-cut key.   I really only go to the file menu when something is wrong with source control, project settings or my build environment.

    In a sampling of my team of 85+ developers and QA EVERY SINGLE USER has either employed the registry hack or used an add-on to make the style usable.   Not to mention every colleague or aquantence I interact with in Social media has over-riden the setting.   I don't know of a single user who has left the all caps file menu!   This design choice certainly isn't resonating with the developer community that I interact with.   Maybe we're all weird; but, judging from this post I'd hardly say that is true.

  • I'll be frank.  The VS 2012 UI sucks!

  • It seems to me that Microsoft have completely lost the plot, is there is no one on your design team who has a clue about usability, the interface changes are pathetic. VS2010 has its bad points but the UI was not one of them, when are you guys going to learn? We are your customers, I have not read all of the comments here but I cant see that there is much positive feedback, really ALL CAPS and no colour in the icons, get a grip and change the UI back to VS 2010 or at least make it an option.

  • A design with all-caps?  "I bet somebody got a really nice bonus for that feature" - blogs.msdn.com/.../922449.aspx

    Please wise up folks.  It's an IDE, it doesn't need "a strong signature element of styling" or any of that stuff; it just needs to run fast and get out of your way when you don't need it in your way.  The same applies to the UI in general - it's a tool, so drop the pretties.  Yes, there is a lot to commend in there, but it's despite these changes, not because of them, and the overall heaviness and sluggishness just ruins the party and undoes all the good work.

  • "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 experience"

    "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."

    I can expect to see this everywhere?  Surely the Zune, Azure and Bing do not represent the MS user interfaces.  Doesn't Metro have almost no upper case anywhere?

    Anyone else looking to replace their system fonts with fonts that contain no caps at all?

  • I don't think I can say anything that someone here hasn't already said but I will cast my vote for THE NEW UI SUCKS!  And if this "styling" is Microsoft's new direction for all their applications, I say good luck with that...  The developer world is really small compared to the Office user base.  Be prepared for corporate America to "skip" that release just like they skipped Vista...

  • I'm sure the ALL CAPS menu was ... backed up with sound arguments.

    It's not important to me AS LONG there is a way to revert that.

  • I've just taken my first look at 2012 today and can honestly say it's bad enough for me to want to stick with 2010. What have you done? Grey, grey and more grey. It's just dreadful. As I'm currently doing SharePoint 2010 development, I'll definitely be going back to 2010.

  • So Zune and Bing, neither of which I use, are driving how VS's interface is designed?  Not sure what you are smoking but you should stop.

  • please remove the caps lock... i don't care about zune, it's just HORRIBLE

  • GRRRRRR! ALL CAPS BAD!!!!!!  

  • press file.. I mean File .. I MEAN FILE ____ FILE!!!!!   ...

    joking aside, it just seems and odd change.  And to an earlier poster on "other software" , i'm currently staring at OFFICE 2013 and it's ALL CAPS CITY here too.

    Kudos to Microsoft (I really mean this) on adapting a uniform look N feel for the entire product line, especially as it relates to tablet/pad/touch/etc design.  But this one particular item just seems oddly unnecessary.

  • I would like to know if there is any way for the menu item to change its backcolor when mouse pointer in pointed on it. Please let me know

  • Can you please tell me, how "keeping Visual Studio consistent with the direction of other Microsoft user experiences" by using design technique, which is known to be flawed for a very long time will increase our productivity?

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