Visual Studio is one of the most popular integrated development environments (IDE) worldwide due to its cross-platform development capabilities, along with strong support from Microsoft. The Redmond tech firm regularly introduces new features to the software, with the most recent additions being native support for Windows Arm devices and an accessibility checker. Now, it's working on improving the user interface of the IDE and is looking for some early customer feedback.
Microsoft has been applying Fluent Design principles across its core products recently, and Visual Studio is no different. The company says that the current visual language of the IDE has been mostly the same since Visual Studio 2012, and the feedback it has received from customers indicates that there are a lot of UI inconsistencies, visual noise, and navigation problems. As such, it's time to update Visual Studio's UI through Fluent Design principles.
The technology giant's UI updates revolve around three core aspects, namely: cohesiveness, accessibility, and productivity. Microsoft wants to offer a fresh interface that seamlessly blends with the OS as well as other products. It also wants to make the IDE more accessible to its wider community and provide a consistent interface to reduce cognitive load and mental fatigue. For those unaware, this metric calculates the "mental processing power" needed by a user to find UI components and accomplish desired tasks successfully.
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There are several changes that Microsoft is making to improve cognitive load. They involve using control styling of lighter weight and changes in their respective target size, so developers don't accidentally click on the wrong control while still having a lot of space in their coding environment. Other UI modifications include consistency across colors, spacing, alignment, and menu styling to get rid of extraneous visual noise.
Microsoft hasn't yet provided a timeline for when all of these UI improvements will become available for developers leveraging Visual Studio. However, it has emphasized that it is looking for feedback from users in its dedicated Developer Community Ticket, where you can compare the current design and the proposed changes.