Software Development

Visual Studio 11 RC receives updated UI

Microsoft has updated the look for Visual Studio 11's release candidate, and it looks good, apart from one minor menu thing.

It's been a little over two months since Redmond released its Visual Studio 11 beta, and now the company has cooked up a release candidate that has an adjusted user interface, gleaned from user feedback.

In my time using the VS11 beta, the UI hasn't really got in my way, but the user base wanted "more visual 'energy' and contrast". And, so, Microsoft has delivered.

Visual Studio 11's beta look. (Credit: Microsoft)

Visual Studio 11 RC's new look.

(Credit: Microsoft)

I like the lighter grey tint of the interface, and the return of colour to icons should help recognition — good job on those efforts.

Then, there's that all-caps issue of the menus. It's really baffling, considering that the choice was made to remove the caps from tool window titles, auto-hidden tabs, and tab group members. Having an interface that is less shout-y can only be a good thing.

Updated look for tabs.

(Credit: Microsoft)

So why would Microsoft throw out decades of UI practices, to re-create this?

Can I pass on this aspect of the new look?

(Credit: Microsoft)

I'm stumped. Hopefully, developers will give enough feedback to Microsoft on this issue to have them restore the standard menu style. Of course, I could use the RC and learn to love it. We will see, over the coming days.

How distasteful is all-caps regarded, as a usability choice?

This very week, workers from Melbourne's Metropolitan Fire Brigade conducted a number of work protests, one aspect of which was to use their computers with Caps Lock on.

If a group of people is using your new UI feature as a form of protest, I would recommend that you quickly reconsider that choice.

I look forward to your all-caps comments below.

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Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

4 comments
gak
gak

Sometimes an artificial fault is added to a system so that everybody criticizes it and do not see any real faults. Maybe the VS team has a boss that is known to ask to change something based on the feedback. With all caps menus everybody will be happy without any damage done to the VS.

tartufo
tartufo

I'm afraid I don't get the furor over 1% of the text in the UI being all caps.

dkwline
dkwline

Reminds me of the 16-bit days. I have a minor distaste for all-caps. I believe it should go.

Cheval
Cheval

ALL CAPS MENU? DOYOUKNOWHOWHARDTHATISTOREAD? YOU MIGHT AS WELL SATRT ASLO SELLPING LKIE TIHS AS WLEL! I STILL CAN READ IT AND SO YOU WILL LEARN TO LOVE IT. WHAT EVER happened (oh forgot caps) TO HAVING SEPARATION OF WHAT A TITLE, MENU AND TOOLBARS ARE? PLUS HAVING THE SOLUTION EXPLORER A LIGHTER GREY MAKES IT HARDER TO TELL WHAT IS CODE AND WHAT IS STRUCTURE! Fail! Back to the design 1.0.1 lesson.