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 8 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • Man, looks like you really believe users will like your ugly product just because you are paid too think so..

    For your information: WORKING WITH VS 2012 IS NOT FUN AT ALL!!

    colors, icons, menus, fonts - each by itself and all together make it a pain.

  • THE CAPS ARE AWFULLY DISTRACTING; BUT they can be switched off, which is sooooo cooool!!!

  • Hi,

    At least give people the option to turn off the upper case menu. Another option to turn off the monochrome color.

    We don't like this.

  • The CAPS are truly awful - I just don't get it.

  • Is it just me or most of you who thinks that the Metro thing is ruining all Microsoft products?

  • i THINK YOU MIGHT MAKE A BOLDER STATEMENT BY INVERTING YOUR CAPS.  mAKE THE FIRST LETTER LOWER CASE AND THE REST ALL CAPS.  

    fILE

      sAVE

      pRINT

      eXIT

    iSN'T THAT REFRESHING?  

    iN FACT, MAYBE YOU COULD SAVE EVERYONE A TON OF SPACE BY STORING ONLY THE CAPITOL LETTERS IN A NEW TEXT ENCODING STRATEGY.  wE ALL NEED YET ANOTHER FILE ENCODING TO WORRY ABOUT, AND I THINK mICROSOFT HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THE INDUSTRY HERE. iMAGINE THE SAVINGS IN LABOR AND SPACE IN FONTSETS ALONE!  lEAVE THE LOWER LETTERS TO THE ImAC CROWD.

  • It is really ugly. Have you guys attended UI design training class? .NET 4.5 is great but VS 2012 UI is as ugly as new Windows 8's. Please rollback to VS2010.

  • Because of the capitals, the menu (with a lot of extensions installed) rolls over on two lines. This gives me one less line to focus on the code.

    Because of the capitals, you had to add extra spacing between the menu-items to make the menu clear, that also does not really help in making the menu stay on one single line.

    Maybe you could add some color to the menu- and toolbars to add some structure. Adding some color would could make some icons stand out more. This would allow me to spend some more time in the code and less searching for the gray icon I need to click on.  

  • Idiots!

  • I can't believe I missed this post the first time around and I'm only finding it now.  JUST CHIMING IN THAT I AGREE THAT ALL CAPS IS EXTRAORDINARILY ANNOYING NO MATTER WHERE IT IS FOUND, WHETHER ON THE WEB, IN VISUAL STUDIO, IN WINDOWS 8, OR ELSEWHERE.  IT IS A BAD DESIGN.  PERIOD.  EXCLAMATION POINT.  MICROSOFT NEEDS TO GET AWAY FROM IT.

  • "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."

    Is it really necessary to emphasize the menu area? really?, as a developer I don't want to emphasize it, I don't even use it in many sessions, because I use shortcuts, and as Gary Cooper points out in his book "About face", it's not absolutely necessary to follow ideas based on other programs only to make them uniform, at the end truth wins.

  • Why is it that so many otherwise fine developers & designers exhibit the height of arrogance when making UI changes?  This problem isn't restricted to MS, but is on display in most companies and institutions.  MS does have its fair share.

    This is another example of MS arrogance: arbitrary changes that serve no real purpose for the vast majority of users, imposed on us with little choice.  Even if many of the ALL CAPS changes are optional at first, past experience tells us that this won't last.  Rather than provide a friendly, customizable interface, we'll end up with a klunky, MS-imposed interface.

    Here's news for you:  people hate this sort of arrogant imposition.  If you keep this up, people will flee MS products.  In case you haven't noticed, MS's monopoly is breaking apart.  In the future, you'll have to win customers the old-fashioned way: good customer service.  Hint: this isn't it.

    Pride really does go before a fall.  Wake up before it's too late.

  • I have tried the ALL CAPS menu for several months.  I have to say... IT SUCKS and I've finally turned it off.  Good thing there is a registry setting to overcome this silly UI decision.  I am glad VS IDE is getting more and more like Eclipse with every release.  It makes it much easier to work in multiple environments.

  • Yes, you do need some added structure to the top area, and you know why? Because you blended the title bar with the rest of the program.

    What an ugly release. Honestly. Metro-style is nice... for the Metro mode. On the desktop, this is exceptionally ugly. Exceptionally. Ugly. As far as I'm concerned, you guys have failed at designing pleasing visuals. Utterly so.

  • So you tuned it? Tune it back! Also icons and look and feel to Visual Studio 2010. It looks as even awful as Windows 8 Metro-stuff!! Boahhh!

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