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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  • We can add this to the list of other famous GUI blunders from Microsoft:

    1. Bing search website with the big wallpaper that visually distracts the user. Hence, most people prefer the cleaner UI option that google provides.

    2. The black and white menus in Visual Studio 2012. WHY ? WHY ? WHY ?

    3. The crappy GUI in Windows 8 - calling it different and expect the users to adapt is just an excuse for poor design.

    4. User Access Control in Windows Vista - we all know how well that worked out.

    5. TFS Pending changes menu in VS2012 - very ugly design

  • AT LAST, I CAN FINALLY THROW AWAY THAT ANNOYING SHIFT KEY, LOVE THIS NEW STANDARD IN TYPOGRAPHY!

  • WHILE I DON'T HATE IT PER SE, IT IS NOT 1980 ANYMORE.  I DEFINITELY PREFER NORMAL TEXT.

  • The whole "direction of other Microsoft user experiences" is simply insane. The flat, washed out, everything looks the same, guess if there's anything clickable at all design is both ugly and nonfunctional and if you gave developers a way to switch back to the old VS2010 design I do believe at least 90% would do that and never regret the decision. Even if you forced the new misdesign on them for a month before allowing them to switch back to sanity.

    Fire your design department!

  • I remember a guy working for Microsoft, giving a speech about the vision of Microsoft. It went like: "Developers, Developers, Developers, ....".

    Maybe the designers should go talk to this guy.

  • Microsoft's designs are usually awful but this is just a joke.

  • Visual Studio Engineering Team-

            It's good to see that you've thrown out the last 20 years of HMI design guidelines. I wanted indistinguishable icons in Source Control, no separation of toolbar controls & menus, and guaranteed eye strain through the use of dull, poorly contrasted, non-primary colors.

  • <irony_mode>

    I think the next step should be to remove the letter "i" from all menus/commands/names. It is simply ugly from the user point of view, who prefers a fashion interface in any case. And of course, it could be confused with a lowercase "L" when used in the uppercase menu. Please make this additional improvement to your almost perfect interface. Doesn't WNDOWS 8 sounds and looks better than Windows 8?

    </irony_mode>

    Why should you care about functionality and content when you can sell a product pretending it is innovative just because it has a different User Interface?

    - Functionality, like: FULL support of C++11.

    - Content, like: describing in the Visual Studio website if Visual C++ 2012 FULLY supports C++11. I still don't understand if it is supported or not. I needed to check Wikipedia to know that it has "improved" support...

    - Content, like: provide in the Microsoft main website a way to easily find the Visual Studio website (I had to use Google...).

  • The defense that this is is what Microsoft is doing elsewhere reminds me of the words of my beloved mother: If everyone else jumps off of a cliff are you going to?

  • The all caps styling is a terrible design direction in any form. All caps words aligned horizontally are difficult to scan quickly and the menus in VS only underscore this since there are many of them. It is even difficult to quickly differentiate one menu from another.

    I truly hate this look in VS, Office, and everywhere else it is used. All caps titles occasionally can work in limited design situations but generally this is a very bad design.

  • I'm not sure why so many people are being so negative over a relatively small issue.  I personally like the upper case menu given the overall styling changes in 2012.  Without the upper casing, the menu just gets lost in all the other things happening at the top of the IDE.  

  • Over 600 comments and I counted less that 30 comments pro-caps. Removing caps is the 2nd most voted UI change on UserVoice.

    But never mind that, ignore your users, carry on regardless with some very weak justifications and then say absolutely nothing for over a year.

    Smoothe

  • The horror, the horror... For some time, people in Redmond have started smoking every crap that they find along the alley and it shows. Windows8, VS2012, VS2013.

  • THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS I HAVE BEEN TELLING EVERYONE THAT THE BEST WAY TO WRITE ANYTHING IS ALWAYS IN ALL CAPS WITH NO PUNCTUATION IT IS SO MUCH MORE STRIKING YOU CAN SEE I AM A GREAT DESIGNER JUST BY THE WAY THAT I WRITE THIS TEXT I REALLY FEEL LIKE MICROSOFT FINALLY HAS JENIUSES JUST LIKE ME TO DESIGN STUFF IT MAKES ME HAPPY TO KNOW THAT FINALLY MICROSOFT HAS PEOPLE WORKING ON DESIGN THAT ARE AS SMART AS I AM

  • I find that the ppl at MS have no idea what the developers using their products want.

    This is all just dressing and is meaningless.

    1) stop changing stuff, to is expensive to retrain developers to find stuff when you move it around or change the icon

    for example, i use 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012

    in 2012 I have to search around to find the icons since they changed in look, waste of my time for something so meaningless

    2) the look is important but the functionality means more.

    the intellisense in 2012 does not work right

    3) There is a coding standard and interface standard that is used by MS and this breaks it.  

    4) NO YOU ARE NOT THAT SMART AND YOU MAKE OUR LIVES DIFFICULT WHEN YOU THINK YOU DID SOMETHING COOL THAT IS REALLY DOGMA

    FOR EXAMPLE

    ENTITY - it is garbage

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