Mar 4, 2012

The Visual Studio 11 Interface, With More Metro

Without getting into the “It sucks! No, It rocks!” debate about the new user interface there are some areas that people are particularly fired up about, including the use if colons as a placeholder for menu bars.

On the Visual Studio User Voice site there’s a request to tweak the UI and go “all in” with the Metro styling borrowing from the Zune interface (an interface I happen to particularly like).

Let’s have a look at the current UI as posted on the Visual Studio teams blog entry Introducing the New Developer Experience:

Now let’s look at the proposed user interface with it’s makeover (via http://i.imgur.com/Dh0zV.png):

Not to be left as the sole alternative, here’s a slightly different take on it (via http://i.imgur.com/EWH1R.png)

I’m not campaigning for votes for the feature (and at this stage the UI is going to be mostly set in stone in any case), but what I do want to do is point out that a consistent focus on the Metro design principles makes a difference.

If you go Metro, go full metro, not some halfway house. The alternate user interfaces work in that they remove as much window chrome and scroll bar noise as possible, letting developers focus more on the content and they realise that if typography is king, then make typography king!  Fix menu fonts, title fonts, and so forth and be consistent about it.  By improving the typography they also managed to retain the shouty tab names in such a way that they don’t grate anywhere near as much as the current UI does.  The UI also feels cleaner because the ::::: lines aren’t there adding unnecessary noise.

It’s interesting to see how much of a difference the Metro design language can actually make to a user interface, and definitely something to consider if you get asked by your users to create a Windows 7 or desktop application that feels like a Windows 8 Metro style application.

1 comment:

  1. This design has the same crappy icons colored with random colors == FAIL. The problem is the crappy icons. Putting lipstick on a pig won't fix it.

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