My condolences, again, to those of you stuck without your server of choice on this 24-hour patch day. The cataclysmic rewards for your patience, however, are without question! In the meantime, how about checking out some tips and tricks for user interface customization while you wait to play?
This week, we dive into Stärs' user interface, a simple user interface that totally doesn't put the minimap in a corner. Stärs is looking for a little advice as well, which is great, because this week was supposed to be all about advice! Shall we?
What's up, Stärs? Get us up to speed:
It's a pleasure to write to you. First, let me say that your articles are great. For people like me who tend to modify their UIs in search of the best UI composition available, I gotta say they offer me loads of good ideas to play around. Finally, I've come up with this UI I'm using and I would love if you could take a look at it and help it improve.
Here's the list of addons I use:
- Quartz Nice bars that are both beautiful and provide information.
- Healbot I use it to heal and dispel stuff. Kinda of a must-have for a healer (that or the Grid-Clique combo).
- Skada Being a disc priest, Skada provides more reliable information regarding healing and absorbs. That way I can really compare myself to other healers.
- Satrina Buff Frames Gotta love the positioning of my buffs.
- Sexy Cooldowns Tracks trinkets, internal cooldowns and abilities cooldowns. It's nice to know that when things are gonna be ready so we can plan ahead.
- Dominos I use it to shrink things and leave just a few bars on my UI.
- IceHUD I really don't like the Blizzard targeting UI nor its similars. This one provides me with easy-to-find info and saves a lot of space.
- Chatter Changing chat is a must-have to me. I use this so the chat panel will fit UI and will look how I want it to look.
- DBM A must-have for any raider. Awesome addon.
- Fontain Pretty fonts.
Those are the major points on my UI. What I really wanna know is how can I improve it and save more room without losing any of its functionality? Also, if you know, is it better to use Grid + Clique or stay with Healbot? I heard some comments about the refresh time and that information could be delayed leading to a healing catastrophe, if you know what I mean.
One other thing I want is to be able to use MIK Scrolling Text. I find it very hard to configure. I want it to just show how much I healed, regardless of overhealing, all the time, pretty much like Blizzard's scrolling text does. Also, I know it can tell me when my abilities cooldowns are done, which is a good thing since cooldown management is really important.
Thank you for your time! Im looking forward to hearing from you! Hope you can help me!
Stärs <Betrayers>, Kalecgos
Thanks for the email, Stärs. I'm sure we can help you out and give you some pointers.
My primary advice is always build your user interface around your main role in game. Stärs' user interface is sufficient on the addons needed to heal effectively, sporting healing essentials like Healbot and Skada for absorption tracking. IceHUD handles the frames aspect of the UI, and Chatter floats happily in the corner as a nice, neat little box. Addon-wise, Stärs is set. Design-wise, we can give a couple of pointers.
Take a cue from what works and build on top. The action bars/Sexycooldowns/DBM raid warnings in the bottom center of the screen works very nicely, providing a nice little tower of easily accessible information. The same can be said for the healing and absorbs/utility bar/menu bar. Keeping things nice and neat is the best way to clean up your screen real estate.
Positioning is fine, but the second, sister component to positioning is precision. Take some time to get your addons to line up, scale addons up or down to create a more seamless addon setup. Scaling the minimap would probably help here, or at least move the minimap into a position where it is better flanked on the sides by different addons. As it is now, it feels a little clunky and lost, mostly because of the asymmetrical distances between the two other addons.
One of the coolest features about chat addons these days is the ability to detach the edit box, that box that you type things into, from the chat frame itself. This allows chat frames to be placed snugly up against the bottom of the screen or even up against other addons. By moving the edit box, you can move the chat frame down, creating a little more room and a more seamless experience without losing functionality.
Mik's is an awesome addon to have and is a great stand-in for Blizzard's competent scrolling combat text. Mik's can also do exactly what you want it to. Open up Mik's scrolling battle text's options by typing in /msbt. In the events tab, you can set the types of information you want Mik's to display. In your case, just select the certain options you want for your healing. Under the triggers tab, you can set the types of cooldown or proc-related triggers you want to show, and even add your own if it doesn't appear in the options Mik's has as its defaults.
Mik's does take a bit to configure perfectly if you want to have that incredibly detailed and personalized experience, but in my mind, it's worth it.
On Healbot versus Grid+Clique, it's totally personal preference. Whichever style you like better, I'd say go with. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day, it's all what you are most comfortable with.
Stärs, your user interface is on the way to becoming something excellent. Your best bets are to start with tidying things up. All the furniture is there -- you've got the right addons working the way you want them to. Now, you get to add the flair and style that makes a good UI great. Start by rescaling and moving addons around to give your setup a more cohesive feel. The minimap, as stated above, could be scaled or moved just a tiny bit in order to give the whole setup some more symmetry. Try also looking over some other submissions here on Reader UI or other user interfaces out there on the web.
The best part, however, is that once you have all the addons you need, you get to be the architect. From here on out, it's all personal preference. If you want to have your buffs up top doing their thing, you get to put them there. Maybe you'll want to be able to see them more easily, so you'll add a kgPanels background or something. The sky's the limit!
If anyone wants to give Stärs some awesome ideas in the comments, please do. You've got a good start, Stärs. Now tighten up those graphics, and you'll be well on your way to a UI that looks and feels perfect.
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, or visit Addons 101 for help getting started.