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Microsoft Ignores Usability With All-Caps Menu in Visual Studio 415

Posted by timothy
from the this-glass-house-sure-is-pretty dept.
mikejuk writes "The recent release of Visual Studio 2012 contained a UI element that few believed could make it into the final version — ALL-CAPS menus. After lots of user criticism and disbelief, Microsoft has moved swiftly to do something about it — by tweaking the typography. '... 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.' This must be a new meaning of the word 'structure,' because putting the menu items into all-caps means that they are all the same height. When each menu items starts with a cap then there is structure because you can see the change in height, marking the start of the next menu item. The idea that putting a menu into all caps adds structure is something that is very difficult to see. If you wanted to put structure into a menu, well how about color? Oh wait, I forgot the design department dumped color in favour of the 'everything-is-grey UI.' Developers are the people who invented CamelCase to make sure that the structure of run together words would stand out better — and now we are asked to believe that making a menu all-caps adds structure. I don't think so."
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Microsoft Ignores Usability With All-Caps Menu in Visual Studio

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  • Are you surprised? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:53AM (#40244509)
    This is the company that gave us the ribbon. Otherwise known as the chaos strip, since it seems to randomly rearrange itself to ensure that function you're looking for is never less than half a dozen clicks away. It's a bit like a supermarket, where they deliberately move stuff around in order to make shoppers seek out the things they usually buy in the hope they might chance across - and end up buying - things they haven't seen before.
  • CamelCase (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:58AM (#40244589)

    "Developers are the people who invented CamelCase"

    I think chemists has developers beat by a century or two. Now please pass the NaCl.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:01AM (#40244655)

    Oh great, another interface screwed up by the design department.
    Someone should fire a few UI designers stat!

    At least it's not the worst graphical interface sold at retail.
    That honor goes to Lotus Notes [mac.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:07AM (#40244721)

    They just upgraded us to office 2007 (yeah I work at one of those companies).

    All I can say is, nailed it on the head with the chaos strip. Fuck that thing is annoying. I mean the old way of doing things was painful, but we were used to it.

    And yeah, it's like they sat down and made a list of the most commonly used features, then made damn sure they would all be on seperate tabs.

    I work on fairly complex (actually out of scope for word.. but it's what has been dictated) documents with a lot of sectioning and page magic .. and I feel like I have to re-learn all my old hacks and workarounds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:16AM (#40244851)

    it's been circulating on teh internets _atleast_ since late May.Once VS start reporting back that more and more people are reverting back to regular style menus they'll make it an option inside VS itself, albeit hidden behind some rarely used obscure menu. Nothing to see here, carry on.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:21AM (#40244943) Homepage

    IÃ(TM)m horrified. Absolutely shocked. I tell you, this is the final nail in Microsoft and Visual StudioÃ(TM)s coffin. Oh, and ÃoeMy eyes, it burns! The goggles do nothing!Ã

    Your post burns my eyes.

    I assumed the joke was that he typed that text into Word, then copy-pasted it into his web browser and submitted it.

  • by hjf (703092) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:25AM (#40245005) Homepage

    You beat me to it. The guy is whining about "usability" and yet:

    his website is a horrible mix of:

    • Late 2000's Rounded edges
    • Late 1990's Awful Blue and thick lines
    • Early 2000's OS X style rounded button menu
    • Text in the buttons not vertically centered
    • Corners around the silly rounded "logo" aren't transparent
    • I had to move the jQuery picture window to see the stuff, and scroll horizontally to close it clicking on a tiny X
    • "Picture window -> click X to close". Really, usability guy?

    I could go on but I think I've pointed enough mistakes. I can't believe someone with a website like that has the nerve to criticize Microsoft (or anyone) for using uppercase menus.

  • It can be turned off (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ececheira (86172) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:31AM (#40245107)

    If you go to the source, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2012/06/05/a-design-with-all-caps.aspx [msdn.com], they note that there will be an option to disable it.

    There's also a blog post that shows the registry key that works today to disable it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @12:52PM (#40246185)

    Nah. Ribbon is objectively better than the previous office UI, just look at all the usability studies they did. Watch Jensen Harris's talk about it.

    On the other hand, this is just another fad. People have been capitalising letters in every possible way over time. We had the WordPerfects of the world, we had iPods, we had flickr and finally the obvious next step was to try FILE EDIT VIEW PROJECT BUILD DEBUG TEAM SQL DATA DESIGN FORMAT TOOLS TEST ARCHITECTURE ANALYZE WINDOW HELP.

    I personally believe the problem is that they themselves are so blind to their own UI through oversaturation that they will do anything to make it temporarily noticeable. Give them time and one by one they will suddenly snap out of it and go ugh.

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore

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