Welcome friends! I hope your weeks are all off to wonderful starts. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the servers are back up, life is dandy and Dalaran hasn't crashed to pieces on you. Once you log in to your server of choice and choose your character, gaze and marvel upon the user interface before you, for it could one day be here in this very column. Another Reader UI of the Week is upon us!
This week, I chose to feature Ymïr's user interface. His UI is tailored to his shaman, and as I have recently had a renewed interest in my own orc shaman I might be a little bit biased in the selection. For this UI, I wanted to focus more on functionality and spatial concerns, especially with respect to where buffs and debuffs are placed, as well as the tooltip.
Let's hear from the reader himself. What say you, Ymïr?
This is a UI job I came up with recently that was inspired by Aliena's UI(included under uiexp) on Tankspot. The primary philosophy behind the UI is that it cannot burn my eyes, as I've done with previous UIs. I only need a few buttons that actually click(potions, bloodlust, etc) so those that I use regularly are small on the bottom bar. Everything else is handled by Geist. CBH Viewpoint creates a bottom area to work in and KG Panels gives the blank space some style. Satrina's Buff Frame keeps track of most buffs, while an extra frame near the bottom keeps track of Maelstrom/WS/ES/Tidal Waves. I have Gear Score because my server is obsessed with it, and Tip Tac to move the tooltips out of the way.
I use Bartender because the Dominoes Totem bar is lackluster. I also Have WIM which isolates whispers to a different window to keep them from cluttering the chat log.
One is edited to show the different addons(Screen) on the screen. The other UI is unedited.
Names are blacked out to protect the innocent. Also to conveniently hide my shaman's previous life as Alliance.
This UI uses:
- CBH Viewpoint
- Satrina's Buff Frames
- Tip Tac
- Gear Score
- Shields up
- KG Panels
- Grid(Mana bars included)
- Sexy Map
- HuD Map
- Mik's Scrolling Combat Text
- WIM(WoW instant messenger or something)
- Smartres- Not seen
- Clear font
- Rating Buster- Not seen
Ymïr, Slightly Above Average, US-Gurubashi
Thanks for the email, Ymïr. The UIs that are coming in to my email lately all share a very common bond -- Satrina Buff Frames. This addon is ripe for spotlighting, so look forward to that in the future.
I wanted to spotlight Ymïr's user interface because I feel like his UI is indicative of a lot of people's setup. It is not a masterpiece of minimalism, sure, but it has the successes of a user interface that is well-worn and unobtrusive. Ymïr makes ample use of kgPanels and some easy on the eyes textures, as well as a very compartmentalized approach to buffs and debuffs.
Ymïr's user interface hits a few points that I would love to discuss on a more general level. As a shaman, Ymïr has a few key parts of his user interface that are adequately represented, namely the totem bar and a range finder.
Totem bars and range finders
Ymïr makes use of HudMap, an addon I recently had on Addon Spotlight. While this addon is a powerful tool for raid positioning and general situational awareness, its hidden strength lies in its totem range finders. Circles overlaid on the screen represent the radius of your totems, with a small marker in the middle of the screen representing your position relative to the ranges. Staying inside the circles means you will receive the totem buffs.
Totem bars are important to a shaman, and keeping them close is always a good move in case the shaman wants to switch totems on the fly. Keeping the totem bar central on the user interface is a good choice of position. The choice between Bartender and Dominos for totem bars comes down to preference, really. I am a fan of Dominos, but Bartender works just as well.
Bento box buffs
Ymïr has an excellent little user interface element down on the bottom right side of his setup. Tucked next to the healing meters is a Satrina Buff Frames bar that includes a "specific buffs" section. This area could also be used in the reverse for special debuffs applied to the player. A good example of a beneficial buff or timer would be trinket procs or seeing the remaining time left on your Bloodlust/Heroism. Some good raid debuffs to add to a separate Satrina's frame would be the number of stacks of Mystic Buffet on the Sindragosa encounter, or for tanks a count of Putricide's Mutated Plague.
I like to deal with buffs and debuffs in a specific fashion, hence invoking the bento box imagery. Imagine your user interface like a bento box -- pieces of your user interface can be compartmentalized into little areas allowing for easy separation and categorization. Setting aside some of these little boxes can be advantageous when dealing with buffs and debuffs, so that raid and common buffs can be pushed off to a more remote area, whereas the mission critical buffs and debuffs can take center stage closer to your eye's focus.
Why haven't you downloaded TipTac yet?
TipTac is another common thread in many of the user interfaces that come into my inbox. Tooltip addons have been a great boon to interfaces everywhere, but none really come close to utter customization as TipTac does.
Why should you consider TipTac? This versatile tooltip addon boasts an incredible host of options, as well as the ability to show vast amounts of information. Since we are talking about user interfaces here, let me focus on the aesthetic value of TipTac. Changing the scale, font, colors, information displayed and the location of the tooltip is incredible. Having the tooltip in an easy to see location allowed the center of my screen to be free of floating boxes. Keeping the tooltip at my cursor would always find a way to annoy me, and the default bottom right configuration was never conspicuous. TipTac can relieve these problems immediately, much like Ymïr has done here.
Thank you very much for your submission, Ymïr. Functionality is the most important thing and his UI does what it needs to. Can it use some polish? Of course. I bet with a little tweaking and a lot of love, Ymïr could shrink down the bottom bar a good 20% and still have all of the information available to him. The user interface is lucky enough to have the power of malleability, and over time it will change into any shape it needs to exist in. All in all, I'm definitely a fan of the compartments, light action bar usage, and plenty of real estate left bare.
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.