Monday 17 September 2012

Visual Studio 2012 and those... CAPS

Anyone who’s glimpsed Visual Studio 2012 has seen it shouting at them and wondered why, given the luxury of having both lower and upper case available, Microsoft has chosen to go for all upper case in the menu bar. Well, if you really want to know, read the post on The Visual Studio Blog as that explains their reasoning.

I read it. To be honest it didn’t seem very convincing. There is mention of All Caps being a strong signature element of styling for navigation in Microsoft UIs. They do point at some upper case in a web site and on the Zune, but given the main UI thrust at the moment is Metro^H^H^H^H^H the Modern UI in Windows 8 and on Windows Phone and those don’t appear to focus on upper case I remain dubious.

I am aware that Office 2013 will also be using the upper case motif (you can see it here). This to me and to many who share a certain sensitivity of eyesight is somewhat regrettable.

Fortunately, with Visual Studio at least, you can instruct it to forget all about the upper case fad and just ‘be normal.’ This involves a little registry hackery. Run regedit.exe and in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive navigate to the Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\General subkey. Add in the DWORD SuppressUppercaseConversion and give it a value of 1. As you might expect, a value of 0 reverts to the short-sighted choice of upper case again.

This trick is getting reasonably well known around the Arpanet, but I’m posting it to help ensure the message is spread as far and as wide as feasible. I’ll cross my fingers that Office 2013 also offers up a trick available to turn off its SHOUTY MENUS.

1 comment:

  1. So all those years of research that proved our brain is better at reading lowercase done by the UK Highways agency(it has also been proved using fMRI scans) has been usurped by user feedback!?? Looking the governments that get voted in, I can only surmise asking users might not be the best approach, but testing them be more experimentally accurate, I guess asking them is cheaper and quicker... and then you have someone to blame in the end...