I suggest you ...

Add some color to Visual Studio 2012

Usability studies have shown that both shape and color help to distinguis visual elements in a UI. The upcoming/current beta release of Visual Studio 2011 has removed color from the toolbars and from icons in e.g. the Solution Explorer.

Please make this optional so those of us that want a more accessible and user friendly IDE can have their cake and eat it too.

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    MichielMichiel shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Thomas Krueger MCTS Thomas Krueger MCTS shared a merged idea: Visual Studio 2012 need mor Color. It is increadible bad the black and white !  ·   · 
    Umar RiazUmar Riaz shared a merged idea: I hate the chrome of the new Visual studio 2012. PLEASE BRING COLORS BACK!  ·   · 
    Anonymous shared a merged idea: fix the color theme for VS2012, cause it causes too much eye strain  ·   · 
    Ray CarpenterRay Carpenter shared a merged idea: Colors, Colors, Colors!!! Visual Studio 2012 reminds me of the old Monochrome monitors days.  ·   · 
    Ifthekhar HasanIfthekhar Hasan shared a merged idea: Go back to drawing board to design look and fill of UI of VS 2012  ·   · 
    keyur shahkeyur shah shared a merged idea: Please make the developer life colorful with new VS2012. We finding ourself more busy in identifying new tool rather doing our development.  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: Color in Visual Studio 2012  ·   · 
    VS11VS11 shared a merged idea: Add some color.....  ·   · 
    AnonymousAnonymous shared a merged idea: Add More Color to Visual Studio 11 RC and remove the CAPS!  ·   · 
    zerqzerq shared a merged idea: PLEASE!!!!!! Switch to a sane color scheme who ever had the idea to remove colors and contrast have him tared and feathered!!!  ·   · 
    Roman SallinRoman Sallin shared a merged idea: Use of color in Visual Studio 2011  ·   · 
    completed  ·  Visual Studio TeamAdminVisual Studio Team (Product Team, Microsoft) responded  · 

    Updated Status: 7/2/2013

    Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this issue. Visual Studio 2013 has increased color and contrast use within the user interface while continuing to focus on giving the content you are creating and editing visual prominence. We’ve utilized the feedback you gave us to help refine our approach to color and contrast within three main areas: 1) we added color to icons and reduced line weights to improve icon scan-ability and to better communicate icon meaning and categorization; 2) we added line work and raised contrast levels to increase visual separation between screen regions; 3) we included a built-in “Blue” theme option at product first launch to better support user choice.

    In keeping with these three areas we have made many changes to the Visual Studio 2013 built-in themes. In high utilization and icon intensive areas of the product, such as common toolbar actions and code hierarchy elements, we refined the color and/or line weight of over 1,000 commonly used icons resulting in color being applied to ~80% of standard and debug toolbar icons, ~75% of code hierarchy icons, and 100% of active notifications. In both the Light and Dark themes we increased contrast levels and introduced more border line work to better highlight the edges of content areas such as input fields, tool window borders, active selection states, etc. We also introduced the ability to choose the theme that best meets your preferences and work environment needs as a part of the product first launch experience.

    Many of the changes we’ve made are subtle in nature but broad reaching in their application. As Visual Studio 2013 Preview has now shipped, we’re closing this item to give your votes back for you to use on emerging topics. We encourage you to try out the changes we’ve made and then share additional feedback you might have.

    Thanks,
    Visual Studio UX Team


    Hi folks,

    Take a look at the VS 2012 Color Theme Editor – it is an option for creating and editing your own Visual Studio themes.

    http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/366ad100-0003-4c9a-81a8-337d4e7ace05

    thanks,
    Doug Turnure – Visual Studio PM

    1210 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I was happy with VS2008, it was perfect, UI wise. Then came VS2010: no borders and messed up colors. I tried the classic theme, but it's buggy: active files drop down, close cross and scroll arrow in document well is invisible until hoovered. And it had no way of fixing the missing borders. Also customization was messed up: drag and drop no longer works for customizing menus and toolbars. Several steps backward and loss of functionality, to satisfy your perverse need for UI change. Then came VS2012: no colors in menus and toolbars, and where you have colors, they are without shadows or gradients. Tree view is messed up, no lines and non standard icons. No support for XP. IntelliSense is messed up, don't work if file has a compilation error. I could go on.
        Remember the reason you exist today is because of developers.

      • les bakerles baker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am a Development Manager with a small but effective team. I feel it is important to say i have worked for various teams and used every version of Visual Studio from version 4 and up.

        However this new interface, quite literally, gives me migraines. I've tried the theme editor, but after several attempts of it crashing my install I broke through and found it made no difference as the icons are still confusing and cause me eye strain to the point that I still suffer from Migraines after using the program for more than 10 minutes. I even tried a hack from one of my fellow develoeprs to replace the icons with those exported from 2010. This kept crashing and still I found the eye strain coming back.

        I am REFUSING to upgrade my developers and our projects to 2012. As a result I am also refusing to start new projects using any technology incompatible with Visual Studio 2010.

        Why? Because firstly i value my own health and secondly because EVERY MEMBER OF MY DEVELOPMENT TEAM FEEL THE SAME WAY. Come ON Microsoft, how many developers does it take before you will admit you got it WRONG?

        Until Microsoft reverts the interface to something more akin to a development environment I am refusing to upgrade and if it goes on much longer i will have to follow my development team's idea of switching to Sharp Develop. At least that won't lose me my sanity.... or my team.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I see where VS 2013 will have an option to expand the pending changes window so I'm going to have to give them a pass on the "fiddly and small interface" remark - provided it works.

        I do hope there's some attention being given to the icon coloring. It's amazing how much it helps.

      • Mark SMark S commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The theme editor does not fix the indistinguishable icons and the complete lack of borders/etc between UI elements. Every time I see VS 2010 again it reinforces how godawful the 2012 UI is. The only reason I use 2012 is because of async/await.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I thought there was going to be a new focus on CSS in VS 2012. You have completely removed all of the color cues from the Manage Styles window. The fonts are "larger than they have to be" and all we get now are green check marks to indicate use of a style. I seriously, and I mean SERIOUSLY keep trying to give you guys a chance but every time I do, another feature is missing or has been re-worked to where it's difficult to use.

        For example:

        The lack of color in the solution and team explorers. It's tough enough to get a visual cue with everything mono-chromatic, then you try to check changes into TFS and find yourself having to drag and drop the ID's of your tasks into a fiddly and small interface. Pending changes is now just a hyperlink to the source control explorer full of more mono-chromatic icons and text. We used to have a docked window that took up no space what-so-ever when auto-hidden and was easy to look at and understand. It grouped your query and source control functions into one window with enough screen space to read the descriptions.

        Sorry, but this is not progress.

      • brrrdogbrrrdog commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        A couple of years ago I sat thru a Microsoft sponsored metro development intensive and I remember them talking about guidelines for a clean and crisp UI replacing rules and separators with spacing instead. There is justification in such guidelines in order to bring uniformity to applications and a seamless user experience from OS to app (we all watch how Apple sells iphones on its "features" otherwise known as apps).

        But here comes a news flash - Visual Studio is not another messaging, calendar, or mp3 application that some bubble gum chewing brat uses on a 4" screen. It's a massive collection of hundreds if not thousands of features and points of functionality that working professionals use for 50+ hours a week and we NEED color and dividers as more dimensions that helps us slice thru it all. I get that apps for the masses is what makes money and tech companies are no longer catering to the geeks of the world. However, this is one of the few cases where you stop the rant of your new hot shot Jonny Rocket "UX" developer cold in his tracks and say "Sit down son, this is a **** of a lot more than the wooppie cushion app you just pooped out."

        I've used ever version of Visual Studio since it's original release and it has been the gold standard of IDEs (I laugh when the poor Sql Developer guys show me a feature I got back in 2002). This is the first one that left me with a look on my face that should belong to somebody that just watched a mother peel the **** off a toddler's face after a good sneeze.

      • AshleyAshley commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        MS is simply pretending we are all resistant to change. Its not something they can possibly know. Its insulting and bullying. We simply don't exist to them in a real way.

        The scientific world justifies actions with research into what works best for us. MS just has a ridiculous agenda and is prepared to talk nonsense.

      • exaltingexalting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Maybe cause of all this f****try with monochrome indistinguishable icons is - that ms developers unlearned how to correctly show images? In WPF when image scaled or just shifted on non-integer quantity of pixels, it looks blurry (try scroll horizontally some VS toolwindows with wpf trees, and you'll see this effect). Maybe monochrome icons "invented" because of incapability to show crisp images? (With monochrome it is not such noticeable).

      • brianbrian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is so like the 'New Coke' disaster - the only difference is that Coca-Cola was listening and fixed it!

        As for Doug Tunure Visual Studio PM - try taking the cotton wool out of your ears - your customer are complaining, and they don't want to try and fix your 'New coke' they want the classic coke back

        Is that really so hard for you to understand? Or maybe you need to follow in the footsteps of the person responsible for the disaster that is Windows 8?

      • Ryan JohnsonRyan Johnson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The color theme editor help a bit, but a huge part of this issue is missing the borders/boundaries of controls in the IDE, and changing colors doesn't bring those back. For example, changing colors does not help me see the camouflage scroll box in the scroll bar, changing colors does not delineate the text across my document well (there are actually tabs there, but it just looks like one long string of text), and changing colors does not keep my empty project space from bleeding into embedded window borders. It's like someone erased all my lines that organized my tools into boxes, much like when my little kids dump all their toys out of boxes onto the floor, and there's utter disorganization.

        As others have mentioned, the font colors are also missing, and the color theme editor does not bring those back. Are they trying to make it hard to recognize the tools? I have to hand it to the designer of the icons, because it sounds like a difficult task to make a whole new set of icons using just one color, however it was a task that should have never been assigned. Let's take advantage of the color palette, and make it easier to use the IDE.

      • ganimetganimet commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        the mere number of votes - compared to those given to other topics - tells me that the vast majority of people using visual studio seems to be deeply disgusted by how some color-blind untalented designer f*****ed up the almost perfect userinterfacedesign of visual studio, and the only solution coming from MS is that each single customer should repair that disaster manually on his own ?? must be kidding right....

      • MarcelMarcel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I work on win8 with .net 2012, not really happy but after installing the bluetheme I was satisfied, I thought I could work again like before...
        Like I said : I thought...
        Until this weekend : I had to take over from a co-worker who's using win7 and 2010. Damned, did forget those colors (and the not-metrostyle) make such a difference in working-speed.
        Now I'm sitting back on my own desk, feeling f**-up working on metro and 2012 again, thinking how to explain my boss I do have to get win7 AND .net 2010 back...

      • Kris SweeneyKris Sweeney commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The only reason I use VS2012 is to edit XAML, and this is only because I am unable to purchase a new copy of Expression Blend 4 and in MS wisdom, I could only install my original copy TWICE (once following purchase and the second following a hardware upgrade).

        Yes that is with the 3rd party Icon fix removal of the SHOUTY MENU and 'blue' colour scheme.

        Absolutely everything else I write for windows is written using VS2010 or Notepad++ on a machine running Windows 7 Ultimate!

        I have used every version of VS since 6.0 and I want my friendly, usable Visual Studio with ALL of its easily identifiable icons back!

        If anyone from MS is reading (which i doubt) trying to force people that actually bring value to your OS by writing software for your OS (users purchase an OS to run applications on) to use a visually crippled development environment is bizarre even by MS standards...

        TIFKAM is great for tablets, passable and even an understandable choice to simplify web pages but turning your back on years of user focussed changes to try to strip all colours and definition from your development environment in a homage to a hated OS change is bizarre.

      • Dave CousineauDave Cousineau commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The theme editor does not fix the icons, which of all the horrible UI changes, are easily the worst.

        The problem is not necessarily that VS2012 was made "metro" (which is stupid enough already), but that whoever metro-ized it didn't know what the heck they were doing. "Metro" is ugly and annoying, but it's still relatively usable when implemented properly. This very webpage is metro-ized, but the colors were chosen intelligently and nothing is particularly hard to visually understand.

        In contrast, the VS2012 UI has been utterly destroyed by bad choice of color. The themes editor helps somewhat, but the icons are still ruined. Icons function by shape and color, each of which reinforces the other. You have literally crippled them by taking away their color.

        I want to enjoy using VS2012, and I might have even bought myself a copy by now, but I will not be buying it until I hear that MS has fixed the icons. I can't believe it's been over a YEAR now, and something that should be trivial to correct is still this broken. smh

      • abatishchevabatishchev commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        >I just find it stupid that people are still whining about the UI and I find it worrying that this is actually the 'biggest suggestion' on here, over all the wonderful other ideas which would help enormously. Makes it seem like people prefer eye-candy over productivity

        ********. UI ergonomics IS about productivity. Especially if you spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week looking into this UI.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Anon - with all due respect to your position on this, I think you're missing our/the point. This is part of a larger rejection of the direction Microsoft has taken. There's serious work going on in many industries to improve the availability and the security of data. No one I have ever been in contact with said "hey I think the Windows desktop stinks, wouldn’t it be great if they would deprecate 4 decades of hard work and change it into a consumer oriented toy”?

        I work in health care. Our top concerns are security and data integrity. Touch screen operating systems are not on the list. As a matter of fact, the more changes they make the more vulnerable your data becomes due to unknown security issues and the inherent lack of familiarity with the operation of a new OS. The changes they are making to their eco-system are not trivial – nor are they popular.

        The developer community was very actively involved in this recent tools release. We applauded almost everything they were doing until we saw the new interface. This thread represents the development community’s response to the change.

        What you really should be upset about is the company who makes the tools you use every day to earn a living is not listening to you. They asked for feedback and ignored it. Where does this end? How far are they willing to take this and what impact will it have on your ability to provide for yourself?

        It’s up to you, but personally I would pay more attention the lack of concern for the development community who helped build Microsoft.

      • Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "Just remember when XP came out it received just as many complaints as Win7 / Win8 did on the UI, it is like you people have amnesia."

        I don't remember that. Such protests would have made no sense anyway because in both Windows XP & Vista/7 you could switch back to a classic interface style that looked identical to previous versions of Windows. The complaint here was that the old familiar interface style of VS was completely removed.

        "When Win8 was in dev preview, where were the mass protests? When VS changed the UI from the previous one, where was the mass protests?"

        Uh... they were here? You're in one right now. This particular topic was opened just weeks after the Beta build was released. The previous Developer Preview build had the VS2010 interface.

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