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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  • After reading all the comments here I hope the person that designed the 2012 IDE was fired or at least jumped off a building

  • I found this web site and changed Caps to lower wrgms.com/.../tired-of-all-caps-menus-on-visual-studio-2012

  • ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING!  I DON'T WANT MY APPS SHOUTING AT ME!

  • i have to say this is AS STUPID AS WHAT YOU DID IN WINDOWS PHONE.

    STUPID IDEA, AND YOU SAID YOU'VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

    stupid WINDOWS PHONE... oh sorry I'm off the topic but just cannot help.

    but i believe THIS STUPID IDEA is because of the sin of STUPID WINDOWS PHONE modern UI (metro? haha). you are neglecting users! and making requirements!

  • I DON'T CARE.

    I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR REASONS.

    I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR EXCUSES.

    STOP SHOUTING AT ME.

    EVEN AS AN OPTION, THIS IS BAD.

  • The solution to this all caps issue is simple.  Give people a choice that can be easily changed under Tools / Options.  

    I won't impose my preferences on you if you reciprocate and don't force your preferences on me.  

    Seems like a win-win proposition.

  • If the menu is what breaks Visual Studio, then clearly people aren't using it for what it is intended.

    IT = change and evolution, deal with it.

  • Why some random designers decide what is better for practicing developers?

    Why noone care about developer opinion and invite new and new ways of how to make developer work more difficult?

    Why instead of real work I should look through internet trying to find solution to a problem created by designers?

  • For what it's worth, I hate it just as much in Office and other Microsoft products. Awful design decision company wide

  • "Our view remains that this is the right design for the Visual Studio user interface for the reasons I mentioned above."

    Well you're wrong.

  • Consider the following two sentences:

    1) "All-Caps can only ADD emphasis when not EVERYTHING is emphasized."

    2) "ALL-CAPS CAN ONLY ADD EMPHASIS WHEN NOT EVERYTHING IS EMPHASIZED."

    Did you notice the subtle difference? So, when the entire menubar is emphasized, then nothing is.

    I appreciate the efforts of whoever wrote this article-- they are obviously attempting to do what all of us have had to as some point in our careers: soldier bravely on and put the best face onto a stupid directive from higher-ups. I once worked at a router company that built weather and map widgets, and a full-scale paid-app store, into their browser-based Web UI. Why would anyone want to hit their router configuration page for weather or a map? NO REASON. Did we still have to build it that way? Yes we did. (BTW, did you notice the very effective, eye-catching use of all-caps for emphasis in that paragraph? Eh? Eh?)

    So, anyway, kudos to you, Microsoft-engineer-or-PR-person, for your gallant attempt to keep a straight face as you explain that We Hit Upon This Amazing Concept It Turns Out That You Can Use All-Caps And They Add EMPHASIS!! Did You Know That?? Isn't That Incredible?!? I, for one, appreciate knowing that you basically did it because someone in Corporate got a wild hair and decided this is the new "look" for all the company's software. I have sat in a lot of design meetings, and I know (at least from this engineer's perspective) how arbitrary it all is-- like fashion. You're basically saying, "Our new line of jeans is boot-cut this year because jeans are boot-cut this year."

    It is certainly true that, in the search for novelty, things that are stupid, ugly, and non-functional can become fashionable and carry the day for a while. At least Visual Studio isn't hanging its butt out of its pants.

  • "Ballsy.  Stupid, but ballsy."

  • I think the all caps looks ugly, and is bad form in typography. It is an unnecessary and unwarranted change with previous behavior (change-for-change's sake) and I don't buy the arguments that it is necessary for consistency reasons with other Microsoft products or especially that it provides any sort of structure -- that latter argument sounds very thin, and like one that is an after-the-fact justification.

    The fact that the design decision was further perpetuated into VS 2013 is astonishing - would the dev team care to publish what their own telemetry tells them about users tweaking the register to revert this behaviour?

  • ALL CAPS IS A LITTLE HARD TO READ I'M AFRAID. I'VE BEEN A GRAPHIC DESIGNER FOR OVER 20 YEARS AND ALTHOUGH FASHIONS CHANGE, TYPOGRAPHY, IN RELATION TO READABILITY AND LEGIBILITY, DOESN'T.  BESIDES, IT'S PLAIN FUGLY. AT LEAST THE REST OF THE INTERFACE IS PLEASING TO THE EYE (PREF. IN LIGHT/DARK MODES RATHER THAN BLUE) AND IT'S NICE TO SEE MICROSOFT DESIGN IMPROVING (AERO GLASS - NO! NEVER AGAIN!)

  • After reading all the comments here I hope the person that designed the 2012 IDE was fired or at least jumped off a building, or fired, oh wait it must be Stiv Balmer!

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