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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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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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  • Mat commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is "Apple-Like" behaviour.
    We know what is good for you. Point.

    Why are you not listening to your customers, which are btw. the people paying your salery.
    Just bring back the old fashioned color icons and don't forget to make an update for VS 2012.

    Adventurous ones may look here:

  • Ian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is seriously one of the most important things in my mind. When 2010 came out it was the most wonderful piece of software on my desktop. Now it's just kinda ******. All in UI terms, here.

  • Eric C commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    VS2013 icons are still shite. Bring back the VS2010 ones now and sack Eric Zocher – Director of Design.

  • JMCF125 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I found the solution for this quite some time ago - using Linux. If you really like C# use Mono. If you really like something in Windows, use WINE (or even to run a program in Windows Forms). Problem solved.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Microsoft have just stopped listening to their users - pity as they use to and had better products then!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    To all frustrated Visual Studo 2013 users:
    Use the new Feedback-Feature of Visual Studio 2013 to give feedback EVERY TIME you are frustrated about something (i.e. the poor UI).

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Visual Studio 2013:
    The UI is still ****! That bit more color in some few icons is ridiculous.

    Icons don't have to be stylish, they are no decoration, they have to be informative. One important part of that information is color. If you take away color, you take away an important part (at least 50%) of the information. Without the color, you have to have a closer look at the shape of the icon.
    But if it were not enough to take away the color, MS changed the shape of every(!) icon, some more, some less, but they changed, without any need, just for the f####ing Metro style.

    All those morons, that find, changing the icons was a good idea, should try to work with it all day, all week.

    What a mess. I'm that disappointed.

  • Marcel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Sorry Anonymus, but for me 2013 IS perfect ! Just the right balance between color and black/white to find the right icon in one wimp. After working one week with it I find it even better (compared with 2010, and when I see 2010 now, it looks even like an annoying palette of colors ;-)

  • Xeon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Metro and the design philosophy behind it is probably something that came out of a kindergarten art class.

    I just smirk everytime I see metro inspired bile, basically it just means the product works as **** as it looks.

    Consumers are seeing just how **** win8 metro is, and Visual Studio has made me start using Eclipse IDE and working with Java more these days.

    @William Bosacker ...probably true

  • Xeon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Soooo fking bad

    just bring back the vs2010 icons you morons.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    VS2013 ist not that much better. There's a bit more color in some icons, but it is still hard to work with it. Unfortunately I have to.

  • Ofir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    vs 2012 & 2013 is ugly as ****!!! why why why..... bring back the old 2010 UI !

  • brian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @William Bosacker save for your comment about PhD's(!) agree 100%.

    There must have been zero amount of real user testing for both Windows 8 (also 8.1 unless 'its not as bad' counts as a positive endorsement) and Visual Studio.

    Both Microsoft and Apple have screwed up on their latest UI, there is nothing to commend either of them and they both break the golden rule of not doing Change for Changes sake,

    Kids in charge maybe , but probably unfair to kids!

  • SvenC commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    UPPER CASE MENU TEXT is really annoying. So VSCommands is always my first extension after a fresh install to return to sentence case.

    And I would like a compacter layout. The borders between the different window parts is 7 pixel in vs2013, the window title hight seems to be 40 pixels. Both could be reduced to give space for an additional line of code.

  • William Bosacker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    No one at Microsoft will ever read this, but Google is rolling around laughing at Apple and Microsoft. Google was thinking how can they compete with Apple and Microsoft and their UIs? The answer for them was easy, "We can't!" So, they decided to create an extremely simplistic UI that even a PhD could code too (this is not a joke), looked back about 30 years, and saw some applications running on a Commodore 64.

    The style that they came up with ended up being named Metro. Then some really stupid people at both Apple and Microsoft thought, "Hey, how the h3ll did Google get so far ahead of us in UI design?" Not knowing that the technology was over 30 years old, as the people making the design decisions aren't even 30 themselves. They didn't do any marketing trials, nor did they ask their customers which they would prefer, as usual, they just went with it.

    A year later, the people at Google look at the cr@p that both Apple and Microsoft have released and figured out a new way to be on top. Everyone at Google is laughing their heads off, while everyone at Apple and Microsoft is scratching their head and wondering where they went wrong.

    This is what happens when children manage children, and everyone believes that they know what the customer wants without asking the customer. Now that Microsoft is beginning to listen, VS 2013 is definitely better, but the Pending Changes is still cr@p.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Someone high up made an edict that Windows apps must use flat, limited colours to cut GPU battery use. As with Windows 8, desktop users are made to suffer to provide benefits to mobile devices.

  • chris commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I totally agree. Microsoft, your development tools and product integration is excellent. Laptops/Desktops are used one way, touchscreen mobile devices another. Don't "Metro" them both.

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