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 3 and 2 and type the answer here:
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  • It disclosed the policy of "impose". Why do not adhere to the policy - "to provide a choice"

  • This design debate sucks and waste so much resources. The facts are easy: the vast majority of VS users don't want CAPS, and somewhere in MS teams a few designers with a lot of credit (and ego) decided that CAPS is the future.

    VS2012 is the result of a tremendous effort in several areas including performances and ergonomy. It'll be suited to focus VS2012 early-users attention on this.

    VS2012 still lakes improvement in the extensibility model. And this point is particularly important for the future of VS, particularly poorly handled, and particularly ignored. Exactly the opposite of this CAPS debate thing.

    Put an option for CAPS, but please be wise, stop the waste, move on.

  • What about the purple status bar? The whole UI is minimalistic and monochrome and then the purple status bar just ruins it.

  • I don't want my IDE yelling at me.

  • Thanks for providing the option to revert to a non-agressive look, otherwise I would have had to lose time coding it myself.

  • So you've defined spacing using absolute values (pixels)? Doesn't that inhibit increase of DPI etc.?

  • BILLY MAYS HERE SPEAKING FOR MICROSOFT! YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE OUR NEW DESIGN! WE HAVE UPPERSIZED THE MENU... FOR FREE! ACT NOW TO GET YOUR NEW SUPERSIZED MENU AND WE WILL THROW IN, FOR FREE, THE GREY, WASHED OUT WINDOW CHROME. FINALLY, WINDOW CHROME THAT LOOKS LIKE CHROME, BUT NOT HAVE ALL THAT SHINE TO GET INTO YOUR EYES. TWO PRODUCTS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!!

    BILLY MAYS.

  • I just got a look at my solution icons now that I got past the menus. DAMN, they are ugly (I left off a letter on that last word). Whose idea was it to use 8-bit era dotted lines for open folders AND separators (I don't recall Metro design guidelines mentioning thick dithered lines as separators...thought it was more about simple, clean lines)? This thing looks like it was drawn in geoPaint...by me....in the 80s.

    I tend to believe that a lot of Metro's simplicity is for the sake of battery life (like MS' decision to default Mango's color scheme to red of all things), but does *any* developer spend the majority of time using VS unplugged? You might as well single-thread the compiler if you care that much about battery life.

  • I think the choice to model a productivity tool's menu bar off of web sites that have no similarity to the target product was a poor design choice.

    The menu bar in a Windows app stands out already (in mixed case) because the menu and content are separated by a multi-colored toolbar.  Oh wait...  I forgot that we degenerated back to 3 colors in the toolbar.

  • Microsoft is kidding with us. They say: 'please, please, download our latest beta/ctp/RC, install it, work with it, test it, w, tell us what is good, what is bad, write comments please, please...'

    At the same time they do not care about problems screamed by users, about feedback, about comments and suggestions.  

    Why ?

    Because they are releasing all this beta software, only to gradually accommodate users to their plans.

  • Caps off by default - if you want ALL CAPS it should be an option, not the default.  The bigger question is why is it that Microsoft feels the need to keep changing the UI on VS (and all the rest of their products for that matter).  Most devs are used to VS2010s UI why not leave that as the default UI for VS2012.  Better still default to VS2010 UI and give the user the ability to change the colors, sizes, caps settings etc in the options.  Stop trying to dictate a UI style direction.  There is a strong chance that Metro will crash and burn as most people hate it already.  Forcing devs to have to deal with some bad design is not the correct idea.  Besides, dont you Microsoft folks have more important things to address in VS2012, like actual features that devs need / want to help them build apps faster and easier.  How about focusing on that!

  • All caps are bad and you should feel bad.

  • Please don't put any more time into exaplning ALL CAPS.  I don't want to know how many thousands of dollars have gone into this.  Please move along and put that money into R&D.  People are rediculous to even complain.

  • please, tell me this is a joke

    is this the only missing 'feature' from your products?

    haven't you better things to do in your time than talking about caps?

    geeee-sus

  • WINDOWS HAS ALWAYS LOOKED LIKE IT WAS "DESIGNED" BY ENGINEERS, NOT BY DESIGNERS WITH AN EYE FOR GOOD LAYOUT.  WHY SHOULD THIS BE ANY DIFFERENT?

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