FAQ on MSDN Redesign RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • We launched a new design of the MSDN network over the weekend, in conjunction with the new MSDN and Visual Studio brands that went live today. The primary goals behind the new design are to improve consistency and discoverability of the content on the network. This is just the first wave in a series of updates we will be doing in the next few months, and following are the main goals for today’s global update:


    1. Implement global site design improvements for better discoverability, readability, consistency and global experience
    2. Provide a richer more effective learning experiences and connection to community through new features and controls (note that this relates to ratings and commenting on video, which we’ve been piloting on the Visual Basic Dev Center)
    3. Enable additional flexibility for customization:
             to integrate new resources into the Developer Centers, with a focus on community contribution and participation
             to allow unique and differentiated site experiences geared to specific customers needs
             to enable an agile global deployment of new and updated features
    4. Improve the rendering performance of key pages
    5. Introduce additional viewing options and performance improvements within the MSDN Library


    Following are some of the more frequently asked questions regarding the new design:


    Q. Why did you change the page layout for the Developer Centers?

    A. As part of the redesign project we produced a new set of templates for use across the global network. To ensure consistency, and ability to deploy new controls and features, we chose to move to a fixed-width layout. The change was made only to the Dev Centers – not the Library, Forums, or galleries. This approach allows us to do better at controlling the positioning and experience of site navigation and information architecture.


    Q. How did you decide on the new color scheme?

    A. The new colors largely reflect the color scheme associated with the new MSDN and Visual Studio brand changes. As we look forward, the goal is to move the Dev Centers to a closer alignment with Microsoft products, since the centers are really an extension of these products. So in the coming months, you will see some of our major sites (Windows Dev Center, Office Dev Center) adopting color schemes and other design elements that are much more in line with the products.


    Q. Why are you adding animations to pages?

    A. This redesign launch included a number of new Silverlight controls, such as the community content control on the home page of MSDN and the blog visualizer on the community page some of which include the option to animate the feature. We’ve received feedback from some folks that the animations are distracting, and have already taken action on this over the past weekend. The first change we made is to turn off animation for the new video scroller (10/18). Today (10/21) we also decided to turn off the "autoplay" mode for the Community Activity control on the MSDN Home Page, and across the Dev Centers. We plan to re-introduce this feature with the option for running in autplay mode, but with the default turned to "off".

    Q. How many pages were updated as part of this?

    A. There are over 11,000 pages across the global Developer Centers, and the new design and templates have been applied to all of them. We chose to do this as a global project, so that we could keep the global experience in synch across all the international sites. In addition all of the Library, Forums, and Gallery pages have been updated with today’s launch.


    Q. How can I give feedback on the design?

    A. For any topics discussed in this FAQ, please reply to this forum thread. For other feedback, suggestions, and requests, please click “Ask a question” to start a new question or discussion.

    Chris Dahl
    MSDN UX/Design

    • Changed type CH Dahl Monday, October 19, 2009 6:30 PM
    • Edited by CH Dahl Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:43 PM
    Monday, October 19, 2009 6:29 PM

All replies

  • Very useful..... very into the new web tools era.....

    this MSDN works very quickly.....

    very clean style....

    well, do i need any other helps!

    congratulations !!!

    Monday, October 19, 2009 10:29 PM
  • Hello Mr Dahl

    The new look is very refreshing. The readability is definitely better now. Thanks.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 4:47 AM
  • Is there any chance of getting the "Sign In" link to use https by default? At the moment it's using http, and I don't always remember to click the tiny "Use enhanced security" link at the bottom of the page.
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:59 AM
  • Indeed a very nice redesign :)
    Keep it up :)
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 1:00 PM
  • Please, Please, Please - take the flashing, changing, moving stuff off of the home page!  The only way to actually concentrate on anything useful is to take a screen print and view it.

    You say:

    Q. Why are you adding animations to pages?

    A. This redesign launch included a number of new Silverlight controls, such as the community content control on the home page of MSDN and the blog visualizer on the community page some of which include the option to animate the feature. We’ve received feedback from some folks that the animations are distracting, and have already taken action on this over the weekend.

    Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 3:11 PM
  • On the new MSDN homepage in the Community Activity section, the font color you guys used for the dates is too light and I think the blue should also be darker. When the dates are italicized it makes them look faded, blotchy and hard to read.

    Also, one of the cool things about MSDN sites of old was the cool menus and buttons. The new buttons at the top of the page seem very plain and ordinary. They don't even change color when you roll over them. 
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:44 PM
  • Hi Chris Dahl

    It's cool and great design, and i'm also running free .net resource website to help microsoft technology developers and others www.codegain.com.

    thank you

    Best Regards RRaveen
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 1:49 AM
  • Although the colors are nice, the main page itself looks a little bit chaotic according to me. The icons used look very cheap and the whole site gives me the idea that it's been made in 1997 and hasn't changed ever since.

    The 'community activity' section seems to be harder to read (As Godlikesme already said)

    The MSDN Library looks very good. I really like the switch view option. (although there's no need to put it in the right bottom corner (above the scrollbars), why not just at the top of the page?)

    In Metal We Trust
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:17 PM
  • Hi folks - we've decided to turn off the autp-play mode in the Community Activity area, and will reintroduce that option at a later date.

    Thanks much for your input.

    Chris Dahl
    MSDN UX/Design
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:58 PM
  • Chris - I applaud the decision to turn it off - but why are you planning to REINTRODUCE it at a later time?  Just waiting 'till critcism dies?  Waiting for people to give up?

    Moving and flashing effects on a page draws attention, so marketing folks and some designers like it.  I use the web to find information that I am looking for, not to be distracted by some bad designer's idea of what is cool or what I should look at.  If you want to highlight some things - find a better way than using distraction techniques.  If I was browsing aimlessly, it might be different.  But I don't expect Microsoft to target aimless surfers, and especially not at the MSDN site...

    Again, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    I really hate animations (flashing, moving, changing things) on "normal" pages - did I mention that?  Some are worse than others, and I put the ones on the new MSDN site in the "worse" category, both due to placement and due to their intrusive behavior.
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:28 PM
  • Sorry my message wasn't clear. If and when we do re-introduce, the experience will be different and much more restrained. Along with the negative comments, we've received feedback that a "brief" animation that then stops would help highlight the information contained within that section. This applies to animations for the video scroller and a couple other features as well.

    Chris Dahl
    MSDN UX/Design

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:56 PM
  • Nice redesign, generally cleaner less cluttered appearance - but the animations are just kind of silly.  They would be fine on an advertisement page or something like that, but not at MSDN start page.  I think that almost falls into a matter of "just because we can do something, doesnt mean we should do something".  e.g., it doesnt bring anything to the usefulness of the MSDN site.

    If possible, please avoid over-complexity as you continue 'improvements'.  Speaking as one who spends his life in Visual Studio, the complexity thrown into (that product and) other products is just becoming useless and intrusive "visual noise" with probably the greatest example being TFS.  We used SourceSafe for years and it was a good product, did what we wanted it to do and didnt have too much "fat and grissle".  TFS is just loaded with completely unneeded stuff for the purpose it is supposed to serve.  Kind of like ordering an 8 ounce steak and getting 6 ounces of useless fat and grissle.

    As a long time Vista user and with excitement peaking over Windows 7, it appears MS has learned some vital lessons by de-complicating Win7 vs. what Vista did.  This is something that should be applied to all MS products and sites.  Too many features are simply useless and just get in the way.  We experience that, and that is the biggest complaint we get from our MS users.

    Great work though, great look, and great promise for the future!
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:09 PM
  • In general, I like it. See my blog post at: http://tfl09.blogspot.com/2009/10/msdn-has-new-look-and-feel.html

    However, I hate what you seem to have done to community content. First, seemingly, one can not submit community content using the lightweight skins. And second, a more personal issue, you've lost thousands of posts credits - every one of the top ten posters to MSDN have seen their post counts go downwards dramaticlally. As a modest poster, this is sad.

    And please - when will you bring the post editor we have here to the MSDN wiki content. The editor there stinks.
    Thomas Lee - doctordns@gmail.com
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 7:27 PM
  • Great FAQ list that answers a lot of my questions. Also, I love the new design of MSDN: it is much easier to navigate now than before! Keep up the good job folks! :)

    Sunday, November 22, 2009 10:56 PM
  • sux sux sux

    We used to be able to press "T" to get rid of the TOC tree on the left.

    Now, it's bigger and it can't be resized. This leaves very little real estate for acual content.

    sux sux sux

    Friday, April 9, 2010 8:21 PM
  • There seems to be no way to report MSDN BLOG problems since the redesign.  Is there?
    Thursday, June 10, 2010 1:09 PM
  • Hi there,

    There's a feedback link in the "Got Feedback" section on the blogs homepage at: http://blogs.msdn.com/ .


    Kerby K [MSDN]
    Thursday, June 10, 2010 10:16 PM
  • Ahh, that's handy, thanks man :) Hopefully the feedback will be actioned upon.


    Warren @ UK Search Marketing

    Friday, June 11, 2010 1:42 PM
  • This comment section seems to be degenerating into a free ad-spot where the posts contain a brief praise and a link to their company?

    Maybe innocent - maybe not.  But I'd say the usefulness of the responses have decidedly gone down while the number per week has gone up.

    Sign me:

    No company or product link, nothing to market... :-)

    Monday, June 28, 2010 10:10 PM
  • It's a shame there is so much comment spam here. I've reported what I can, but MS need to get more active in killing off this stuff.
    Thomas Lee Doctordns@Gmail.Com
    Monday, August 23, 2010 9:12 AM
  • Loving the new design, thought the old one was good but this is THE business! Keep up the good work guys! swimming pool maintenance
    Sunday, September 19, 2010 4:19 PM