Twenty-four-hour downtime is upon us again!
Oh, the humanity.
Well, settle down, because you've got some words to read about user interfaces and ... stuff. Look, I'm going stir crazy over the downtime, too. Maybe we can make the best of this together by checking out Ve's user interface and helping him out with some suggestions.
Ve deserves praise for some excellent user interface decisions, which we will soon get to. The call for suggestions and feedback was also sounded, and you know we'll get to that as well. First, let's let Ve take the reins and put this whole ordeal into perspective.
Thanks for the email, Ve! We can start off with what I like about Ve's user interface and then take some time to give some feedback and suggestions.Dear whomever it may concern,
I'm Lucas and I control a human warrior named Ve on Area 52 who is part of <TheGreatSouthernTrendKil>. My interface is composed to suit the needs of a fury warrior, as Ve is my main and the character I have accumulated the most play time on. I will describe my UI clockwise, starting at my player frame. I have used AG units to give me a simple look but display the necessary information required. Above that, is one of my custom TitanPanels. It exhibits the information and statistics I most look at. Now, at the top right, I have my minimap (SexyMaps) as a clean, glossy square that suits my desire to know where I am and my buff/debuff bars (CT_MoD) that stacks accordingly with time remaining. Buffs in blue, debuffs in purple, passive/active buffs in white.
Now, lead your eyes downward to find my skada meter showcasing my damage for my heroic run, you might think in 25 man raids it would clash with my buff/debuff meters but I have circumvented this dilemma by making it so my skada meters only display the top 10 for whatever category I choose. Below my skada meters, I have a collection of miscellaneous items and macros that I use often, what with hearthstone, food, max camera distance macro, mounts, and even the delightful Direbrew keg and remote (When I just feel like getting lost in BRD).
Now, to the left of that is my micro menu and to the left of that, is my shouts. As a warrior, quarantining my shouts helps me keep organized as they govern my buffs. Now, my favorite part, my action bar. With a minimalistic approach, I tried keeping only the needed skills so I could make room for my information in blue text that displays tid-bits of numbers and words that I frequently look for, such as whether or not I have new mail or my current gold count, or even some basic melee stats. Last but not least, is the chatbox.My UI was designed to accommodate the new Real ID button, much dissented by many as it clashes with many simplistic UIs.
Before I take my leave, I would like to add that I play on a 1980 x 1020 resolution with a 21 1/2 inch monitor and my graphics maxed. My video card in an NVEDIA GTX 260, and by that standard alone you should be able to surmise I am a gamer at heart. I would love some feedback on how I could possible further improve my UI in practicality and functionality, and I thank you for your time. For the Alliance!
What I like is crisp
Crisp always stands out to me as one of the hallmarks of a solid user interface. I am, of course, referring to stark lines, smooth, blocky fonts and, above all, segmented compartments that easily segregate the entire UI into pieces. Ve's user interface does all of these things fairly well. I am a big fan of unit frames that are very solid and unambiguous, and Ve's ag_unitframes setup does the job right. I talk about fonts a lot, but only because they are very important, especially when you're reading all sorts of information being thrown at you at any given time. Information that you second-guess because you couldn't read the font is information potentially lost or vital to the group or raid.
Colors are just as important as fonts in the crispness category, and Ve's interface delivers. The textured blue borders easily separate out the different elements of the UI while maintaining a good contrast with the world underneath. Remember, the scenery changes a good deal in World of Warcraft, and having a good border color that doesn't blend too easily in with the rest of the world can make for a wildly different experience. Creating an opaque background also helps in that area, making the user interface elements completely separate from the game world.
There are definitely some places that Ve can improve upon in his user interface that will help with space saving and potentially better addon management. My first reaction to the user interface was asking myself why there were two Titan Panel bars. Many people know my unwritten rule of either top or bottom Titan Panel bars, but not both. Both bars never sat right with me, and I always thought that all of your addons and notifiers could fit on one bar. Otherwise, you had too many addons. Ve's UI suffers from addon bloat, completely dominating two Titan Panel bars on both the top and the bottom. How do you find something quickly with this setup? Ask yourself this one question: Is all of the information displayed on the bars vital to my gaming experience? If the answer is yes, find a way to slim down the number of bars you use for broker addons. I promise you, most of the functions are one button away. If the answer is no, trim it down! You do not need a million addons in broker bars. Lots of the modules present on Ve's bars can be cleaned up and rolled into different addons.
The bottom left portion of Ve's user interface is nice and proportionally works well, in my opinion. The right half of the bottom HUD, however, leaves a bit to be desired. With a change in location of the menu bar from the right side of the shouts bar to the bottom, Skada could be made to fit in the newly created space. Then, Skada will no longer jet up into the right side of the UI, freeing up some delicate screen space. Make sure the newly created panels match up nicely, and you'll feel a nice, refreshing feeling. Kind of like brushing your teeth before bed.
Other than those two quibbles, Ve's user interface is pretty solid. I have not seen the raid setup or group setup, since only one image was part of the submission, but if those two elements take any clue from the UI as a whole, they shouldn't look too bad.
So there you have it. A very solid user interface that could benefit from some serious attic cleaning. What was that show that I saw on BBC America on a flight I took once? A British guy went into a lady's attic, took a bunch of crap out and sold it at an auction. I liked that show! Let's start selling off some of those broker bar addons and slim things down just a bit. Easily readable, Ve's user interface makes good room for statistics, but could benefit from some tidying up of the bottom right area to accommodate the damage meters.
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.