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Bring Back Full-Color Icons to Visual Studio 2012

The mostly black & gray glyphs used in Visual Studio 2012 are very difficult to distinguish between. Familiar icons that we have known and used for years are now gone, and it takes (wastes!) a ton of time trying to find the right icon/command/object. Please bring back the tried-and-true, full-color icons that clearly represent each command/object and are easily identifiable.

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TIM shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this issue. Visual Studio 2013 has added color in several broad reaching icon categories. We classified the icons we focused on into three sets: icons which represent common actions, icons which indicate code hierarchy, and icons that provide some kind of notification. By utilizing a systematic and broadly applicable approach to color use we are better able to effectively convey critical meaning or affiliation through color, to attract attention through color, and to improve scan-ability through color. This approach translates into color being applied to ~80% of standard toolbar and debug toolbar icons, ~75% of code hierarchy icons, and 100% of active notifications.

Based upon the design goals outlined above and design decisions reflected in the existing scheme for each of the core icon sets we will continue to apply and extend our approach to icon colorization as we move forward. 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

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  • JAck commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I can not stress enough how aggravating the new UI is. It takes us back 20 years to the times of black/white monitors. Is this why we have been pushing the technology to give us milions of colors?

    I am holding off from buying VS until that pressing issue is addressed. What were they thinking?

  • Wayland Young commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    A show of hands...how many people were "distracted" by the color of VS 2010? Or at least that reasoning was put forth by one designer at Microsoft. I've never felt compelled to write a critique of the Visual Studio UI in all the years I've been developing since VS 6.0. Up until now, everything has seemed like an improvement.

    Microsoft knew after the horrible reviews given during the VS 2012 preview that people hated this yet they chose to force people to use it with no way to even change a setting to go back. Good job!

    This is atrocious and time consuming to differentiate icons now so a big thumbs down if the intent was to have me "less" distracted by the development UI. While you're at it why don't you just take away all icons and we can go to a text-only UI so the icons won't be distracting?

  • Raymond Gota Toudji commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Microsoft, please, not everybody is colorblind...!
    The one who let this happen is a spy of the competition in your organization. Now they are laughing their organs out.
    Mission accomplished: The Great MS has hereby made a fool of itself.
    Why don't you guys, as you're at it, change the name into something murky too, like 'Zombie Studio' or something!

  • Ifthekhar Hasan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    VS 2012 will be biggest flop if they keep this UI. I, as a dedicated 8 years experience .NET developer have decided not to use this ugly ******* UI. What the ****..desigers lost theirs eyes!!!!!!!!

  • Ashma Doodh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Guys, Microsoft is following the footsteps of Windows 8--ugly and that's a single word that describes both Windows 8 and VS 2012

  • Luke Latham commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Agree ... The new UI is hideous! The new icon is stupid. Taking out the color DOES take out information that provided helpful visual cues around the interface. I have to agree with all of the negative comments: It's pretty horrible compared to the last version. You should have at least given us an option to turn color back on across the UI and keep the old file icons.

  • Bryan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I really like the new interface, seems like much simpler code focused interface. Good Job!

  • Martin Odhelius commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes, the new GUI is horrible. Just a few examples why:

    * If you are using any other version of Windows than 8 it does not follow the manner of the rest of the OS.
    * It lacks clear dividers for tabs, sections, buttons etc which makes it very messy and hard to look at
    * Gray in different variations isn't very accessible, even with the theme monitor it is horrible: With the blue theme I get white text on light blue background!
    * Unselected buttons and tabs does not look like buttons and tabs but just flouting text
    * Icons are monochrome which make them hard to separate for some people
    * It doesn't offer much of a choice, only small variations in colors.
    * And finally: It is looks terrible in all possible ways

  • Richard commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    THIS IS INSANITY, WHY THE **** ARE YOU MAKING THINGS SO DIFFICULT! THEMES FOR A GUI? WHO CARES? I DO NOT CARE WHAT THIS TOOL IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE I USE IT TO MAKE APPLICATIONS THAT NEED TO LOOK PRETTY THE TOOLS I USE ARE IRRELAVENT AT TIMES I STILL USE NOTEPAD. KEEP IT SIMPLE. OH THE CAPS? I THOUGHT THIS WAS THE NEW WAY TO DO THINGS NOW? SERIOUSLY MICROSOFT WAKE UP YOU ARE SLOWLY TURNING PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED YOUR PRODUCTS FOR 10+ YEARS AWAY TO OTHER SOFTWARE BECAUSE OF THE STUPIDITY AND ARROGANCE OF THESE TYPE OF CHANGES

  • Ethan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It seems like the marketers and UI designers (who don't use the tools, really), got bored with what was a very functional interface and revamped it without regards for usability. This is true of the whole Microsoft "look and feel" now. Examples:
    - instead of making things easy to find and use, they are trying to hide menus and features. How can hiding and increasing the number of steps needed to get work done be a good thing?
    - Alt-tabbing between apps no longer has a good visual clue which app is active. Used to be that the bar at the top changed to show this.
    - The base assumption that everyone will be doing everything on tablets is wrong. It is correct for many media consumers, but not for anyone getting work done. I have two high-pixel count monitors, a nice mouse, and a great keyboard. Being lazy, I never want to reach up and touch my monitor because my mouse and keyboard are closer.

    If usability studies were done, it seems they were either done within the group that designed the UI, or instead of asking "Is this better?" they asked "Could you get by using this?"

    Please, make the tools that workers use to earn their living usable, even at the expense of Metro, or touchscreens, or whatever the 'interface-du-jour' happens to be.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    btw, the logo seems something like a super hero mask as the green hornet have :/

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    can be that microsoft is contracting monkeys as designers to apply new UI design ideas?
    well... not more words than that vs2012 UI can be a good design... for a 2 years old child designer...

  • Cyclops commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I was also rather disappointed in the look and feel of the new interface, as well as in Metro. Obviously, my experience with computers over the years has made me expect to see some colour and style in apps, so the bland UI was a shock. I am amazed Microsoft gave up the very thing that allowed them to beat IBM's OS/2 product in the first place.

  • Alex commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm getting eye cancer!

    The GUI is absolutely loveless designed. The icons looks cheap and are bad recognizable. Why is the menu in UCASE? No Ribbon?
    The standard themes are horrible, using the theme editor makes it better.

  • mrdev commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Loss of drag and drop toolbar customization occurred during WPF rewrite of Visual Studio 2010.

    They gave up "drag and drop" and caused a performance debacle in VS 2010 all for the ability to brag about being able to use WPF in Visual Studio -- a library that is so advanced that they can't even implement drag and drop and a library so advanced that Windows 8 tablet won't use it. WPF is a failure but the MSDN camp won't admit that even if it means destroying their flagship product.

    Just goes to show you how incompetent the managers running Visual Studio are.

  • Dan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The best thing about the Microsoft tool bars was that you could add/remove any button you wanted. Now, I don't think you can do that anymore. At least not with drag and drop. At least Firefox still conforms to the old standards.

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