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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  • I think you were trying to use this post as a way to explain your reasoning for a change to all caps, but failed.  You reference that other MS products are using caps and it adds structure.  Your article fails to explain why MS is making their change in their products?  You reference Azure and Zune and those are web products, not a desktop app that is usually designed differently.  

    Will we see this in MS Office?  IE?  WMP?  If so, then a more thorough explanation as to why the design change is happening would be helpful.

  • What is wrong with you people? What's the problem? It doesn't matter, caps or not. Just move on. Shh...

  • It's a Windows Desktop application (not a Metro one), and it's running in Windows. A menu in Windows applications don't use all uppercase...be consistent for a change.

  • Why don't you rewrite Visual Studio in Javascript and HTML5 while you're at it....good luck with that one.

  • Too much time spent on fixing things that 'aint broke - nice job if you can get it :-)

  • So do y'all have an ambulance / EMT on standby for all the times you shoot yourselves in the foot?

  • What it is missing is cleartext, no all caps! Use font smoothing!

  • Is this a joke?

    You mess up the menu bar  to the extent its visually just a grey mass by removing all visual cues, and you decide the best way to fix this is by making the menu buttons caps?

  • Will you also provide an option for coloured icons better than what you gave us in RC ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    right!!,

    you should also provide that option.

  • Indeed, they deliberately made the text look FUGLY in the normal-cased version of the comparison screenshot.

  • This discussion makes me nauseous.  We asked them to explain why they made the changes, and they did.  We asked them to allow us to turn off the all caps, and they did.  I'm done reading this discussion now, as from my perspective we're now the problem, not them, and I'm not going to continue enabling that.  Good bye.

  • YOU ARE WRONG.

  • I'll be calling Visual Studio "Loud Howard" then.

  • Why not caps and small caps?

  • All caps stops being funny when the menu bar wraps around, showing a second line with only the "Help" or "Window" menu on the second line and me knowing this is completely unnecessary.

    File Edit View Project Build Debug Team SQL Data Design Format Tools Test Architecture Analyze Window Help

    FILE EDIT VIEW PROJECT BUILD DEBUG TEAM SQL DATA DESIGN FORMAT TOOLS TEST ARCHITECTURE ANALYZE WINDOW HELP

    So if you want to make it all-uppercase by default, fine, but DON'T DARE TO REMOVE THE REGISTRY KEY TO FIX THE VISUAL STUDIO UI!

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