Incoming giant email. What have you got for us, Naovi?
I don't see many healer UIs posted on here, so I thought I'd post mine. I tweak my UI several times a month (and sometimes a little tweak here and there every day), but I like this general layout. I heal on my pally, priest, druid and shammy, and use this same UI for my DPS specs too (I am a bit of an altaholic). I read this column every week, and the biggest request I see is, "How do you get it to look like this?" Well, that would take the space of an entire blog, so I'll just share my general process.
First things first: I load each addon one at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. I think what throws most people off is that they go download all the addons they see on a particular UI, load them all at one time, then open
WoW and see everything clustered in a confusing pile in center screen.
Step One: I set up the bottom space using Btex. Install Btex and open WoW. Type /btex menu to open the option and toggle the settings. I used the default texture, set transparency to 50% and height to 325 (for my monitor, yours may vary). Then, to set up the rest of the addons, I click the Grid Option and close the menu. You will now have red lines running vertically and horizontally. I use these to line up every other window. There are other skin programs that have this option, too.
Step Two: Install Chinchilla (or another map addon). You can right-click on the map to adjust settings and drag the map where you'd like it. After the map is in position, click the Lock button. I prefer to keep the button checked that allows you to access the menu by right-clicking, but you can turn this off if you aren't a tweaker like me. Choose where you would like your buttons and which button you want to show. I have my world map, calendar, and tracking options barely visible under the map. They are there when I want them but almost invisible when I don't. Keep in mind that more buttons will pop up around the map as you install other addons. You might have to shut these off in the individual add-on, or use Titan Panel addons to manage these.
Step Three: Install Titan Panel and define the top bar. You can access the menu under Interface after hitting Esc. The options are pretty user-friendly. I centered the text, turned off the modules I didn't want and reduced the real estate used by toggling off module names in the menu. Titan Panel has tons of additional addons you can install to complement it. I use the basic package, but the options are worth looking at.
Step Four: Install Bartender4. This addon looks scarier than it is, but it is pretty user-friendly. Type /bt4 to access the menu. Either click the minimap icon, or toggle the Lock button and drag your bars from the middle of the screen to the approximate location you want them. I started with my bag bar. I have a mouse button keybound to open all bags, so I went into the main menu and turned off the bar. Next, my Micro Menu (character pane, etc.) is hidden mostly under the Titan Panel in the top left-hand corner. Before you put it under the bar, make sure the size is small enough to be hidden yet large enough to hang slightly under the Titan Panel so you can click it. If you accidentally make it too small, you will have to disable Titan Panel to re-adjust. (I used some of the keybinds early on for other spells and got used to using them, so I need the menu). Next, adjust the stance bar/totem bar right on top of the map, and move the bars where you want them for spells (mine are the two rows on either side of the map and one under the chat box).
Step Five: Install Satrina Buff Frames. Type /sbf options to access menu. You have to adjust the buff and debuff columns separately. I have the buffs to the right of my map and show them smaller and more rows. My debuff column is on the left, closer to my raid frames, and much larger icons so they practically scream at me even though I am healing in ignorant bliss. I have timers and stacks enabled, which are useful for hard modes. SBF is a little less user-friendly than I like, but it does have options for bars instead of icons, and many features I don't use. Play with it, though; it's worth the time setting it up.
Step Six: Install XPerl. Type /xperl to access menu. The menu seems huge and has a lot of hooplah already active when you first open it up. My suggestion is to turn it all off and bring each option back one at a time until you only have the options you want showing. Drag your personal frame over the map and size it to your preferences, then ask a buddy to hop into a party with you (it makes it easier, trust me). First, arrange your 5-man party (mine isn't here in a screenshot but basically is the same as the raid layout with only group 5 and pet columns). You might try to duel your buddy too, so you can arrange the debuffs/buffs that show (this is inconvenient to adjust mid-raid; without adjustment, these can run all over the other columns or obscure the bars themselves). Then, do the same for 10- and 25-man raid setups, also arranging the buff/debuff setting. I have buffs disabled, but keep all debuffs, since some fights require action on non-dispellable debuffs (think Saurfang). Make sure you move the target and target's target into position. I keep cast bar and buffs active on my target so I can track what the boss is doing in a fight.
Step Seven: Install any other addons needed. Not everyone needs the same addons for raid, but I have Blizz Classic Threat Meter, ClassTimer, Clique, DBM, OmniCC, Spell Reminder (I use with ClassTimer just so I can have in a different location for different spell types), ZOMGBuffs, and TipTac. Most of these need minimal tweaking, mostly drag where you want it.
Step Eight: Type /btex options and uncheck the Grid box. Enjoy.
Hope this helps.
P.S. Here is an alphabetical listing of my addons:
Satrina Buff Frames
Thanks for the email and submission, Naovi. As I said before, it's nice to see a healer user interface that isn't center-screen-focused, despite my better judgment telling me things are usually better in the center. I can't judge, though, because my healer's user interface is sort of off-center left, for the most part.
Nobody puts healer in a corner
Corner healing is a controversial topic. On the one hand, you've removed the common complaint of healers -- healing addons take up too much room and therefore obscure too much of the screen, effectively making neat healing user interfaces a hard sell. On the other hand, you lose the "centralness" of keeping your focus on a crucial area of the screen, being able to combine watching healing bars and your surroundings. A tricky situation, to be sure!
Naovi's setup focuses on keeping as much screen visibility as possible, while still maintaining a capable healing setup as robust as anything focused in the center. Buttons centered around the minimap are small, showing Naovi's comfort level with her abilities. Things have to be this compact to fit a 25-man raid frames setup at the bottom of the screen.
Xperl isn't my favorite unit frames, but Naovi makes them work. I can't really put my finger on why Xperl is never my first choice, probably mostly coming from my love of Shadowed Unit Frames
and how it's completely taken over the player and target frames. The green color used in the Xperl bars here is a little garish. I would probably have gone with something less bright, but having a brighter, more noticeable color probably helps in figuring out who needs what.
It's interesting -- I've seen so many user interfaces in the past year that I think I've built up an immunity to tiny buttons.
Tiny buttons used to annoy the hell out of me. Maybe it's because I can barely see sometimes. Maybe it's because my personal preference revolves around having giant buttons to click, just in case. Who knows? The point is I've decided that I don't hate small buttons anymore.
Naovi's UI is all about tiny, compact buttons, as well as buffs that flank the minimap. Findng little nooks and crannies in the interface space separates the truly space-conscious from cursory organization.
One at a time
Configuring one addon at a time is some of the best advice I can give. I appreciate that Naovi's submission discusses it, and it definitely makes setting up addons and the UI in general much easier. In fact, a lot of the advice Naovi has presented here is great.
One of Naovi's stated goals was to have this UI available for most characters, and success is found. The basic setup requires little to no advanced customization between characters, and the information relevant to each role is still readily available.
There are a few changes that I would make, however. First off, a chat mod like Chatter would go a long way getting rid of the chat buttons and keeping the two sides a bit more symmetrical. Also, a chat addon would let Naovi move the text input box, since it just looks a bit jarring to me right now. Chinchilla does a great job stretching out the minimap and making it fit nicely in the center, however.
Thank you again for the submission and the detailed explanation of your configuration, Naovi. It's nice to see a healer UI that doesn't rely on the dead-center healing addon and makes some pretty good use of the space available. I'd make some minor tweaks, but really, when won't I want to make changes? Nice job.