Reflecting your feedback in Visual Studio 2019

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Jamie

We started sharing Visual Studio 2019 Previews with the goal to deliver the best possible experience through a more open dialog.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen lots of thoughtful and passionate discussion throughout the community, on the blog, in Developer Community, and a bunch of social media sites. Through these previews, we were able to share some of the UI changes in this release.

We want to say thank you for sharing this feedback. Everyone working on the team has read through all the comments and we’ve done our best to respond to the different themes discussed in the threads.

Hopefully, by now you’ve had a chance to try the Visual Studio 2019 Preview. If not, we encourage you to try out some of the new experiences. There were a few popular themes in the feedback that we wanted to acknowledge and talk a bit about the changes we’ve already made based on your feedback.

Combining the title and menu bar

With the combined menu and title bar, we took an opportunity to give back valuable vertical space and update the layout of the upper shell controls. This also makes the new more accurate VS Search more discoverable and accessible. While we strived to do this without impacting your workflow many users highlighted the title bar was home to several information elements including solution name, administrator mode, experimental instance tag, and the preview badge the were important for navigating between multiple instances of Visual Studio running at the same time.

When we first combined the title and menu bar, we were careful not to remove the solution name from the app title that appears when you ALT+TAB or hover over the app icon in the start menu. We found in controlled studies testing these were the most commonly used elements for establishing context across instances of Visual Studio. As we started to test the changes internally though, feedback surfaced that users still found the missing solution name jarring so we started working on some potential solutions.

We heard another piece of feedback from the community that we’d heard in our studies; users often need more context than just the solution name. Having seen this feedback before in some of our studies we experimented in Preview 1 & 2 with a new home for solution name in the status bar next to the existing branch switcher. While this design had the benefit of bringing solution and repo information closer together it wasn’t very discoverable and didn’t work well with cascaded windows. Preview 3 now brings back the solution name into the combined title & menu bar and updates surrounding controls to reserve space for the name.

The Preview 3 title bar with the solution name as well as instance and preview tags

The title bar included other information in addition to the solution name. We took steps to preserve the other contexts that were previously available in the title bar including Administrator mode, experimental instance, and preview channel by displaying them in a badge under the window state controls. The “Send feedback” and “Live Share” controls are available on the toolbar row while the notification icon has a new home in the bottom right of the shell to better align with common notification patterns.

Blue theme changes

Another goal for Visual Studio 2019 was to make it easy to tell the difference when you have different versions of the IDE open, be that 2012, 2017 or 2019. We refreshed the blue theme, which we’d not touched since 2012, to indicate this step into the future.

What we found through the feedback is that some functional elements from the original Blue theme were lost with the first iteration of the theme update. While most of you generally liked the new theme some customers gave us feedback that it removed some spatial definitions in the UI that helped navigate around the IDE quickly and intuitively. Comments also pointed out that the blue theme updates had gotten too bright adding eye strain over longer periods.

The changes in the blue theme from 2017 to 2019 as well as changes to the title bar, which increases the vertical height available.

For Preview 3, We’ve heightened overall contrast which in turn helped improve legibility, accessibility, and wayfinding throughout the IDE. We reduced the brightness of the base color and added a set of complementary and analogous accent colors. These changes preserve an at a glance difference between versions while tackling the functional feedback.

New Icons

While not the most glamourous part of a new release, the new product icon is an important way to identify our IDE in a busy taskbar, start menu or desktop. It’s also another way that you can tell the difference between versions of our product. In our original post we explained the approach we’ve taken to simplify the icon for Visual Studio as well as create a system for showing the difference between a Preview and full released version.

Visual Studio for Mac 2017 (left) Visual Studio for Mac 2019 Preview (Middle) Visual Studio for Mac 2019 (Right)

We’ve now applied this approach to the Visual Studio for Mac icon which is available to download from our website. One of the challenges with the icon for Visual Studio for Mac was how to create an icon that was closely tied to the Visual Studio Family line of products but that stood apart from the Windows version of Visual Studio so as not to confuse you into thinking they’re the same (just on different platforms). We experimented with many ways of showing a differentiation between the two applications but settled on tying them together as a family, with a background shape that echoes the form of the Infinity Loop, and adds a macOS flavor to the icon.

Let’s continue the conversation

We are truly grateful for all the feedback we’ve received so far and hope to use this to continue to improve the experiences we’re delivering throughout the product. As you find bugs or have suggestions the Developer Community site is the place to log these items for the team to review and the benefit of the community. We’re eager to continue the discussion as you continue to use Visual Studio 2019.

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Jamie Young

Group Principal Design Manager, Visual Studio Family

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44 comments

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  • Avatar
    Nick Arellano

    Make it so app work under android and windows. For some reason my app complies as android but not windows. It is your software, how can that be. I can’t find away to solve the problem.

  • Avatar
    Yuri Shutenko

    > “Let’s continue the conversation”
    Yeah, no. The title-bar is a prime example how you DO NOT listen to your user feedback! See the comments and complains in the original issue thread (https://developercommunity.visualstudio.com/idea/381901/do-not-remove-title-bar-from-visual-studio-2019.html) and try to find how they were asking for over-crammed “compact” bar (spoiler: they did not, they asked for it to be optional). It’s not a “conversation” if you don’t actually listen to the other party, it’s a monologue.PS: I guess it’ll be the same as ALL CAPS text in menu bar debacle…

    • Giovanni Van Geel
      Giovanni Van Geel

      I can only concur with the above comment. Please, bring back that title bar. Lots of developers (myself included) don’t want that compact thing! And please(!) listen to your community next time!! The comments in the referenced link clearly state that lots of users don’t like the change, so don’t enforce it. If you want to prove that Microsoft has changed attitude over the years, then please prove that to the community if you want to keep their support.

      • Avatar
        Yann Duran

        Yes, I agree. The only reason I can think of that MS would be pushing this so hard (against popular opinion) is to help make VS fit better on a tablet. Personally, I don’t develop on a tablet, and I don’t want my UI squished just so tablet users can get more vertical space! Keep the squished UI for tablet users, but give those of us that don’t develop on tablets the option to revert to the way it was. Easy! Both sides can be happy. Stop forcing change on us, when you leave us with no way out of those changes if they don’t suit the way we work.Also, be more transparent about the motivation behind new “features” and you’ll find you’ll get better feedback. PS – when dark themes are being used, the poor man’s solution of adding the title into squished menu bar is dark writing on a white background. Non-dark themes’ color selection is more subdued, and the title therefore doesn’t stick out like the dog’s proverbials like it does in dark themes.

    • Avatar
      Dean Jackson

      Agree 100%.  It’s a monologue, not a conversation.  Yep, I remember the ALL CAPS….and also the the beta of VS 2012 that had all gray and low contrast and all black icons….that was rough.

    • Avatar
      nicolas.musset@nomura.com

      Same here. I reported in several locations that it was a bad idea to remove that vertical space (seriously who ever complained about 10 pixels) and that it should at least be an option.
      I am using the “Customize VS Window title” and I need to display custom information there that are not available anywhere else on the interface. I can’t move to VS 2019 until that is fixed.
      When you said that you “listened” to feedback it is aplain and smple lie: you did not. Nobody ever asks to have the space removed, lots of people complained, and yet you kept it. Don’t be surprised if less and less people trust Microsoft being a “developer first” company while blatantly ignoring feebacks.

  • Avatar
    Kyle Brown

    Personally I’m okay with not having a title bar, although I think it might look better if the solution name was centered in the space between the search box and the sign out button. Seperate it from the other stuff a bit.

    • Anthony Cangialosi
      Anthony Cangialosi

      Thanks. Our initial design had the solution name more centered. Getting the stack panel behavior right was going to take more time so we opted to ship a simpler design in time for Preview 3 to make sure we could quickly get feedback.

      • Avatar
        Mike Andrews

        Why can’t we have the option of having a title bar, or not?
        I personally like the title bar.  The title bar in windows 10 allows you to “tear” it away from a maximized state into a normal state.  I use that quite a bit with several visual studios open at once.  I’m sure I can still do that, but when you have extensions that add more top-level menus, you run out of space.  I’m not sure why this much time is being spent on “maximizing” vertical space. when there is not that much vertical space reclaimed from a combined title and menu bar.  I find all of this rather odd and confusing.  I was hoping for more advanced IDE features, not more “compactness.”  I can live with a little bit extra “lost” vertical space.

  • Avatar
    Ladislav Burkovsky

    Hi,
    please show some love to .NET Core. We need a professional support with edit and continue. Memory and performance analysis.
    If possible prefer completion over hunting new shiny things.
     
    Regads,
    Laci
     
     

  • Avatar
    Martin Müller

    Regarding “valuable vertical space”: Agreed. Personally, I never wanted to have a 16:9 monitor. Maybe Microsoft can influence the industry to sell 3:2 monitors so that vertical space won’t be that valuable any more?
    The company with the fruit sells its own monitors (although they are 16:9).

    • Avatar
      Phil Barila

      If you turn your monitor to portrait mode, you have a 9:16 with lots of vertical.  Several of my colleagues do that, but I prefer to have two (or 3) docs open side-by side. On a standard landscape, that’s quite easy to do if you stay narrower than ~150 columns, which is way too wide for me in any case.
      I will note that the devs who use portrait mode tend to write longer methods.  I hate it when they do that.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Smith

    The “blue” theme still looks overly purple to me (maybe it’s just the monitors I use?) – if the brightness was dialed down just a fraction more, I think it would look perfect.
    I’d also suggest thinking carefully about the new bright orange used on the tab titles.  That sort of colour usually indicates a warning, which is jarring to see on your screen.  I’m sure you don’t want to alarm your users!  Something closer to the light yellow used in prior versions would be preferable.

    • Avatar
      Dean Jackson

      Agree 100%.  It’s not just your monitors, it’s purple instead of blue, and it hurts my eyes.  Also, the orange tabs instead of the previous yellow introduces lower contrast and is harder to read for me.  They should include the previous blue theme and call it “Blue (Classic)”, or at the very least include the previous blue theme in the next version of the “Theme Editor” extension.

  • Avatar
    Jeff Jones

    The items listed are mostly superficial.  Where is the Xamarin Forms XAML designer to enhance productivity?  Why isn’t Blazor fully completed and available?  There should be truly substantive changes and new features in VS 2019.  How about automating the mobile app deployment process for Apple and Google?  Perhaps a tool that can take a bitmap and make the various sizes that iOS and Android require.Productivity is the edge developers need.  Time wasted on repetitive, hand-coding or following complicate dprocess that can all be automated is time taken from being productive.
    I don’t really care what shade of blue or purple the theme is.  If I want more space, I can get a bigger monitor.  I sure wish today’s VS team had the ingenuity and insight the VB team had 20 years ago.

    • Avatar
      Dean Jackson

      I don’t see any substantive changes either, but in this case it may be best…if they’re mainly fixing the tremendous amount of bugs in VS 2017.  VS 2017 was horrendous; crashing frequently.

  • Avatar
    Keith Patrick

    I must be blind, because I don’t see the solution name anywhere on any of those windows (the first one only shows the top of the window, and unless the solution name is “Roslyn”, I don’t see it next to the branch (status bar) either.  The world doesn’t need Visual Studio (or Office)drawing windows differently from anywhere else in the shell. Personally, I’d put the solution name where the words “Solution Explorer” or (better) “Search Solution Explorer” currently are, since the words “Solution Explorer” already show up 3 times in that area.
    BTW: The biggest thing I want is the ability to just fiddle with code.  Whether I’m debugging or not, with E&C enabled or not, I want to be able to edit code at my own whim, at any time.  Currently (and for as long as I’ve used VS.Net), it likes to lock files into readonly mode, whether it’s because E&C is turned on (this is why I haven’t used E&C since VS6!) or because I’m in a WPF codebehind or some modal popping up on monitor #4 (modals should be largely deprecated IMHO), I don’t want the source files to be locked. 

    • Avatar
      Eric Richards

      I’ve been using extensions for years that will replace the default title with the full path to the solution – it’s less of an issue with Git, but with SVN, it used to be a cluster to tell which branch you were on, when branches meant different checked-out file paths.
      I can’t say I’m a fan of junking up all that space in the top right-corner – the general trend is that anything that gets put there is sort of a buzz-wordy hot thing that some PM wants to have get exposure, but would really be better served by having it’s own dedicated tool window.