This week on Reader UI of the Week I've decided to focus on helping people in need of user interface tips for smaller screen resolutions or the need to have buttons larger, as you will see in just a short time. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with more video games and less mouthy grandmas. The Community has been great in its response to sending in your user interfaces, so keep them coming! Without further ado, let's go a user interfacin'...
I would like to use the Reader UI of the Week column occasionally to offer advice as well as showcase some of the ideas and innovations people come up with. I also like to take a look at the community's user interfaces that present a solution to a common problem. This week is one of those weeks. Jake wrote to me with a very interesting issue. Let's see if I can help out a little.
While most people like to make their UI small as possible, I need it to be big and bold as I am legally blind (I have Keratoconus, which means cornea's are cone shaped and thin.) Which is why I make sure everything that contains text is nice and bold, I play most games at 1024x768 res (including my desktop)
The Addon's that can be seen in the screen shot are:
CTmod - Download at [WoWInterface]
Bagnon - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Sexymap - Download at [Curse]
Fubar - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Gatherer - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Quartz - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Prat - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Recount - Download at [Curse]
MoneyFu - Download at [WoWInterface]
PerformanceFU - Download at [WoWInterface]
Healbot - Download at [Curse]
Thank you for the e-mail, Jake. The plethora of addons available for World of Warcraft do not favor smaller screens or scaled up UIs on the whole. As more and more addons are taking up more screen space, the less area we have to see the game itself. However, there are many tools and tips that we can discuss to help you get more of your screen back, while allowing you to keep the UI scaled up to meet your own needs.
Jake's UI looks pretty good and is scaled up appropriately for his needs, but let's throw out some general tips to see if we can help reclaim some vital screen real estate.
Tip 1: OPie
Tip 2: Unnecessary Buttons and Action Bar Addons
Bartender4 - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Dominos - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
ButtonFacade - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
In addition, if you haven't remapped the buttons, I would remove the Menu buttons, or at least scale them down. Most of the Menu buttons are bound to keys (C: Character Info, P: Spellbook, N: Talents, Y: Achievements, O: Social, Guild and Raids, I: Dungeon Finder, etc.) so trimming the bar down in size or removing it altogether might be a good way to save some space. The only downside is not having the Help Request button.
Tip 3: Simpler Unit Frames
Pitbull - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Shadowed Unit Frames - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Tip 4: Quick Suggestions
Here are a few quick suggestions that can help to save space. First, if you're 80, remove your experience bar. Using an addon like Dominos will give you a floating experience bar that can be hidden easily. I'm torn on the reputation bar. I personally do not have mine up since reputation is just a keyboard click away (Pressing "U" opens reputations by default), so I usually disable it. That one is up to you. Second, integrating your cast bar onto your unit frame is a great way to save space. Most unit frame addons allow the player to do this, and it can be scaled larger just like the health and mana pools.
Hopefully some of these tips will help out people who need to allocate a little more space to make your buttons bigger, or for people having to use smaller screen size resolutions. Remember, just a little tinkering with the options in an addon can provide some excellent results.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to all the readers who sent me so much awesome feedback on my user interface from last week. We seem to have a really large and dedicated user interface group here, and I'd love to foster that as best I can. So please, keep sending in suggestions and tips, and especially addons you would like to see profiled as well as your UIs so we have tons of fodder for this column. Second, many people asked for a UI pack of my personal UI, which I will see about doing in the near future. Third, and finally, many people brought up an excellent concern - a user interface at rest is not indicative of the cluttered UI while in combat. Truthfully, the only difference in my UI in combat and in a raid setting is that Grid shows all of my raid members, and there is fairly unobtrusive scrolling combat text to the sides of my character. Otherwise, the user interface remains the same.
Interested in getting the most out of your user interface? Come back once a week for more examples of reader UIs. For more details on individual addons, check out Addon Spotlight, your source for everything addon-related.