Visual Studio 11 ALL CAPS

The following is my response to the VS blog post about the design for all caps in top level menus:

First off, why would you want to add *EMPHASIS* to menus when the design philosophy stated for the new look of VS was it didn’t distract from the content we are creating?

Second, the examples provided of Bing, Azure portal and Zune are complete mismatches.

Bing doesn’t add top level menus in ALL CAPS, quite the opposite: they are all in proper case. What you see in Bing is all caps used for pane titles. This difference is very important. Bing was more like the first beta of VS 11, not the latest bits. Also note the use of all caps is only about four or five items over the entire screen. VS top level menu is **SEVENTEEN** distinct items!!

Zune uses lower case at top level (quickplay, collection, marketplace), and all caps at the individual pane level, again not totalling more than 5 distinct items on any pane.

Azure portal on the web does use ALL CAPS for the top level menu, but it is only six items and uses a LOT of white space around and between them.

From a visual design perspective the examples given show use of white space, and clarity, whereas the VS 11 menu is cramped and way too busy. You cannot relate fourteen items to designs of five items, especially when the five item designs use copious whitespace, whilst VS menu does not.

It’s great we will be able to change this, but sad so much effort is being wasted on a design implementation that really adds no value to VS, contradicts both its own design philosophy and those of windows guidelines.