Welcome, friends, to another exciting installment of Reader UI of the Week. I get more and more submissions each week from you guys, and that is super exciting. Thank you for all the great user interfaces you've been sending in, and keep them coming! This week, we learn a thing or two from reader Zerene -- gaze upon these screenshots, mortals, and feast your eyes on this week's Reader UI.
Zerene's user interface is interesting and gave me a new appreciation for more minimalist uses of panels and portraits. But first, as always, the floor is Zerene's:
Just thought I'd share my UI. It's a constant work in progress (as i'm sure most are) but I've reached one of those rare points where I'm happy with it for more than five minutes. I play a healer occasionally and I tanked through all of BC, though my main is currently my warlock. For all four of my raiding characters, I created a custom color scheme using skinner, eepanels (yup, it still works, and I'm too lazy to update it) Pitbull, and buttonfacade. I use a Nostromo N52te and a Naga mouse, so I have a rediculous number of buttons to bind everything to. I make heavy use of Opie, and Bartender's bar hiding, to reduce the amount of clutter.
I'm also slowing transitioning over to Skada from recount and omen. I use Elkano Buffbars to split long and short duration buffs - Long buffs are longer than 5 minutes and in the upper right hand corner of my screen, and short buffs come up right next to my character frame. Speaking of, my health and mana will change color when low - as will my character's name and title, turning from class colored to red at 50%, and black at 25% health remaining.
Other addons of note: WIM is awesome, Atlasloot and DBM (obviously), Mik's Scrolling Battle Text makes me happy, Clearfont (another "dead" addon that still works fine. And that I've added a few fonts to :/) I've got a Fubar, um, bar, running at the top of the screen set to autohide until I mouse over it, holding GuildFu, LocationFu, MoneyFu, MiniPrefsFu, HonorFu, FactionsFu, CraftTimersFu, and DuraTek. I run Baggins, which is great for me since I'm a huge packrat and keep all the tier gear that I've come across. I've got sections in my bank for all 10 tiers, as well as vintage and holiday or vanity gear. I use a very modified Grid. Basically it just shows names as classcolors, which tells me if they're alive or dead. Hey, I'm a warlock. The hell do i care how much health someone has?! Of course this is moved on my tank and healer to front and center...
The last two vital addons are Power Auras and ForteXorcist. I can't express how vital both of these are to raiding for me. I track all my procs through Power Auras, and all my affliction dot timing... and DK diseases... and basically everything else... through FX.
I run a ton and a half of addons, but lastly I want to toss some props at the simply awesome ZeldaLoot. Definitely the one addon that makes me the happiest - it plays sounds from Ocarina of Time whenever you loot something, from greens up to legendaries! It was awesome enough for Geddon to drop my warrior a binding - it was even better to loot it and hear the sound of pulling the Master Sword :).
-Zerene, Alliance, Haomarush-US
Thank you for the e-mail, Zerene! My first question, while not truly UI related, is how people love their Naga mice? Maybe that's a good question for the comments...
Alright, let's get to the meat of the matter. Zerene's UI is nice and compact, especially in regards to paneling. We can learn a few things from Zerene! There is a lot to like here.
I have talked about fonts before, but I love hammering home this point -- fonts give character, personality and emotion to the words displayed in those fonts. Zerene's font usage was off-putting to me at first, and then the more I thought about it and poured over the screenshots, the more the font choices grew on me. Some fonts are there for fun, while others are there for ease of reading. Personally, I like to stick to one or two fonts the bring the whole user interface more consistency, but Zerene's fun fonts are definitely eye-catching. A font addon such as Fontain or Zerene's preferred Clearfont are awesome for getting some excellent, interesting fonts into your addon collection. I especially like the target and player name font -- the Diablo-esque lettering gives the frames a more movie-esque quality, something fun and cinematic amidst a sea of information vital to the Lich King's downfall.
One of the biggest lessons to remember about fonts are that they are a personal experience. No one sees your fonts but you, which is a huge advantage.
Download Fontain at [Curse].
We begin with a confession -- I hate portraits. I never liked them. They take up a lot of space, distract me from other movement on my screen, and just felt completely unnecessary. I am happy to say that Zerene's stylized portraits as her player and target frames have significantly changed my opinions on portraits. Creating a slim, stylized portrait is an awesome addition to a user interface that wants to have a more game-y feel, which is something I don't see enough of. I'm part of that problem, I think. I choose function and style over the superfluous. Zerene's portraits are an awesome counterpoint to that philosophy. I love them, can't get enough of them, and want to include something fun and stylized in my own UI. Good show. Pitbull is an excellent choice in dealing with unit frames, target and player frames, and portraits -- just be ready to tinker with the options for awhile before getting it perfect. Definitely a plus.
Download Pitbull at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].
The Slim Bar
Not all framing has to be huge. Zerene's user interface is pared down out of combat to fit neatly into the small horizontal bar placed across the bottom of the screen, contrasting the buttons against the world around them. It's a beautiful setup and sets a defined location for where other pieces of the interface can cling to when in a raid or group. The user interface has a ground to grow from, so to speak. Creating a centralized point, or in Zerene's case, a line, allows the player to build off of a specific point and keep things clean. The slim bar philosophy is pretty neat, and definitely looks great in any situation. Zerene uses eepanels, but it is a little difficult to find these days, so I recommend kgPanels as usual.
Download kgPanels at [Curse].
The Raid Game
Zerene's Raid interface grows nicely upwards from the "at rest" interface. Key information is displayed above the main slim bar and the cooldown bar at the bottom of the screen monitors vital timers. Zerene is working with some pretty large real estate, so most raid addons are not going to be too invasive. Separating out buffs based on long and short duration is a great way to keep the screen clutter-free and to prevent one list of buffs from overtaking your screen. All in all, a decent raid setup for a DPS class.
That's it for this week's Reader UI. I hope you enjoyed pouring over fonts like I did. I guess, really, I'm too focused on the user interface as a tool and forget sometimes the fluffy stuff can add some real awesome character to the gameplay experience. See? My heart is not cold and minimalist. I can accept portraits and many fonts. Take Zerene's user interface and grab some awesome ideas!
Topic for the comments this week, as stated above -- Naga mouse? Yea? Nay? It has some pretty nifty interface options, but I don't know...
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.