Visual Studio 11 UI Update - Improvements in RC

I see by the Visual Studio Blog that Microsoft has backed out the worst of the darkness in the default Visual Studio 11 interface. Many of the ALL CAPS headings are gone and they’ve even added some colour to the previously monochrome icons.

This is certainly an improvement that we can live with. However, I still don’t understand why they’re being so stingy with the colour pixels. I call it the Visual Studio “Dungeon” theme.

The most intriguing part is that they’ve retained ALL CAPS for the main menu headings while conceding to mixed case for submenus.

I have no inside knowledge of this, but I speculate that someone high up at Microsoft has mandated an unappealing ‘Metro UI Standard’. Obtaining an exemption is tough. Thus, you can negotiate mixed case submenu items where it doesn’t show as much. Hmmm… Is it that ALL CAPS on main menus had to remain so as to be consistent with ALL CAPS on forthcoming Windows apps like OFFICE?

It sounds like somebody in a position of authority declared that icons must now be flat, dull and hard to recognize. If their consumers scream loud enough, a group (like VS) might be allowed to add some colour pixels back into the icons. Not too many, mind you. We need to retain some dungeon-like consistency.

All this is simply conjecture on my part. I really love the development features in Visual Studio. The productivity I get from Intellisense, syntax colouring, and the debugger far outweighs the minor annoyances of someone fiddling with the user interface colours.


No Comments