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.

13,330 votes
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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.

    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.


    Doug Turnure – Visual Studio PM


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      • Gustavo GannaGustavo Ganna commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Anonymous ... Well maybe the UI is the first major issue ... some devs don't want to invest time trying to decrypt what means such bicolored icons.
        I personally start to check the product capabilities "only if" the GUI is in some fashion ... usable ... if not (like this case) I simple close the **** out and return to a well know & productive enviroment ... almost there is no such feel of increasing stress by trying to adopt and work with those products designed by marketers.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Are you ******* kidding me? There are major issues, and the top problem people vote up is that there isn't enough ******* color?

      • brianbrian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please you are still not listening:

        a) Its not enough!
        b) VS should come out of the box with a usable and workable interface

        Why can't you take the feedback on-board? The tools group are becoming as bad as the Windows group at turning what should be a winning product into a lame duck with such amazing gusto and arrogance.

        The comment from Anonymous April 24, 2013 2:20 p.m about says it all for a lot of us developers

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As a longtime developer all I can say is wow. I've invested 25 years in learning and promoting the use of your products and managed to build a career for myself. Why? Because you had a successful business image and Exec's were comfortable with me using your products. I followed your design cues and produced applications that solved business problems i.e. we put some serious money on the table with good custom software. It looks good and it works even better.

        I've said it before and I'll say it again - there's real work to do out here. Giving serious development tools a modern or metro interface treatment is not necessary. It's a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. We need elegant development tools that are aligned with how we work today and are not being mocked by the entire user community as consumer oriented toys. Whatever your goals were with the desktop - it hasn't exactly been a hit.

        VS2012 needs the VS2010 skin and icons. The Windows desktop needs Aero, the Start Button and the Start Menu. Why? Because we need a consistent development platform to innovate and move technology forward. Out here in the real world it takes time and by extension money to change things. You're not helping us at all by giving the development tools a consumer interface treatment. Stability is everything. I see it. My customers see it. Why don't you?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's the most minging UI I've ever had the misfortune to have to use, but with some of the third party hacks coming online it's possible to make it usable.

        Visual Studio Icon Patcher is a good start but misses all the Class View and C++ Project icons. Just release an official patch to reinstate the VS2010 coloured icons and all will be calm again in the land of the Windows developers.

      • Axel GrudeAxel Grude commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        add userChrome.css, like a xulrunner app. support gradients and background-image / list-style image overlay and border-radius, then I will style it back to something usable.

      • angieKangieK commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Typical Microsoft; some team needed to justify its existence so they cook up some bogus research data to show how this new UI will be great for developers and everybody will love it. In reality, it's just **** being shoved down customers' throats and since the people who sign corporate purchasing agreements can't tell the difference between a C++ project and the Matrix screensaver, people who have to do real work get screwed.

      • brianbrian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The art of not listening is going to be Microsoft's downfall. The sooner they start listening and correct the serious usability problems in Windows 8 and VS 2012 the better.

        You have let the new boys and girls on the block try their new look and ideas - its been a failure now go back and keep your real users and customers happy!

      • Ben BowenBen Bowen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The Color Theme Editor doesn't begin to address the usability issues introduced by this version of Visual Studio. Give the option to restore the window borders, return to the familiar and usable icons that we all loved in VS2010. This new version is almost unsable, even after applying the third party hacks to return some of the look and feel of VS 2010.

      • exaltingexalting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        >Just give me a real UI or bring back VS200X!
        No. ZOG decided all must become imbeciles, and that's why all will work in square-clustered monochrome indistinguishable ui.

      • UI SucksUI Sucks commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Fµckìnġ UI, NiceVS and "Color Theme Editor" can go to the same **** as all other fµckėd-up toolbars crâp. Just give me a real UI or bring back VS200X!

      • MichaelMichael commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I used to work with Visual Studio 6, 2003 and 2008 on Windows and MonoDevelop on Mac. And up to now I never had the "need" to change the UI of an IDE immediately after starting it the 1st time. But with Visual Studio 2012 before starting to code or explore any new features I spent 2 hours of customizing the UI, using the "Color Theme Editor" and the registry patch for disabling the uppercase style in the main menu bar. And up to now Iam still not satisfied.

        Other comments talk about bad usability regaring to the UI I don't know if this is really the case.
        but if I look at Studio 2012 it does not feel good and positive, no matter what I do to the colors.


      • ITMAGEITMAGE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You know I was just thinking about something. We've all been under the impression that Microsoft has changed the UI to be more inline with metro and such. However,,,, I wonder if there's another plan at work here. In not using the Windows themes, colors and icons, maybe they're trying to make VS more platform agnostic, which would mean this might be a step in making VS easier to port it to another OS. I'm probably way off base here, but hey who knows.

        Just thinking out loud.

      • ITMAGEITMAGE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        " should support the features of the given operating system. In other words - VS 2012 running on Windows 7 should support Aero and the other visual features"

        Absolutely agree.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        To be more specific, I think Microsoft products running on a Microsoft operating system should support the features of the given operating system.

        In other words - VS 2012 running on Windows 7 should support Aero and the other visual features.

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