Did it happen? Did the world shatter under the might of Deathwing? I'm only guessing yes, considering I write Reader UI of the Week in advance being published. Otherwise, this would be a live Reader UI of the Week, and I don't think I could type that fast and without so many exclamation points. If The Shattering did happen, then I'm sorry all your stuff is broken. If The Shattering did not happen, having extra chances for the tiger mount is awesome but probably isn't going to happen.
Much like how Azeroth is being torn asunder and being brought back to the basics, we here at Reader UI of the Week are following suit by bringing the user interface back to the basics. Alluren sent me a submission with a purpose: get back to the basics and put together a laptop interface that has as few addons as possible. The world is getting reforged, so why not reforge some addons as well?
As always, let's first hear from our victi -- erm, submitter:
Hi Mat, everyone at WoW Insider and everybody reading this.
I'm Alluren and I play a character on the Bronzebeard (EU) server.
I decided to send a quick screenshot of the user interface I'm using for this weekend. Although it is now being played on a 27-inch' monitor, it was built for a friend of mine to be played on his laptop (with not that many resources, I'm guessing). This certainly isn't worth a feature but a quick mention would be great, as I try to answer some of many peoples questions about laptop UIs and "clicking" issues.
So I called this UI "Back to Basics" as tried to use as less add-ons as possible.
On top there is TitanBar -- included as my friend is new to the game -- coordinates, level completion and repair are things he might want to know at all times. For all my 80s, I added SavedInstances to know which raids I'm saved for.
I'm using the stock portrait and target frames. The obvious move would be to use ShadowUnits or X-Pearl and move both to the bottom of the screen but I will explain why it wasn't done.
The map with buffs / debuffs was left alone, too.
DeadlyBossMods timers on top of the bars and right beside it you would be boss health for raid encounters.
What you see at the bottom is my attempt to correct the "clicking'"tendencies. Dominos (with ButtonFacade) plays its part as I try to recreate the left side of the keyboard and re-bind some of the keys near the WASD model; key-binds are kept to a minimum for the ease of learning. Mounts should be quickly accessible so they're bound to wheel-up and wheel-down, leaving zoom back to - and + on the numeric keypad. The next thing you see is the keys bound to a Razer Naga. Cooldowns makes it easier to see err ... what's on cooldown...
The reason why there is so much space around the built-in grid is because you might find yourself playing in a big battleground; raid frames can be adjusted then -- it doesn't look pretty on a 10-man and certainly a bit strange in a dungeon, unless you set it horizontally.
Quartz bar with minimal fuss and the original chat box to the left.
Omen (hidden and playing just the sound for aggro and the borders visual), Combuctor, Auctionator and Postal are the other addons I included for his pack.
I hope this would help people that are thinking on how to make a quick setup for their laptops. Given the space you'll have, you can certainly fill some blank spaces (if you don't do many crowded battlegrounds) and moved things around a bit. After getting this you can slowly start to add elements one by one until your computer decides he wants add-ons no more, and move them around. My next step would be to fit a mini-map addon at the bottom of the screen or change the portrait/target frames.
Also, I hope it's a good starting point to people that want to lose "clicking'" tendencies. Just make sure you clear all key-binds in Dominos by hovering over the keys and pressing ESC, then rebind them keys; hold ALT to drag-and-drop the bars exactly where you want them.
Thanks for the submission, Alluren. As people transition user interfaces during this period of expansion upheaval, I think it would be worth a shot at going back to the basics and looking at Alluren's user interface in terms of the bare minimum that you're going to be looking at, if you want to dabble in a custom user interface.
I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time, in fact. The standard Blizzard user interface has had some excellent additions to the already existing components, and with respect to the player and party frames, some excellent, steady progress. While addon player and party frames offer immense customization options (and can be a little daunting), the original player and party frames have that classic touch to them. After 4.0.1, the new druid eclipse bar and paladin holy power bar have been incorporated fairly well into the original frames.
While the player and unit frames have slowly gotten more accustomed to the players needs, I am still unimpressed with the default chat box. Chatter and Prat, the two premiere chat addons, are lightweight and instantly make the chat experience better, in my humble opinion. Many addon-only preferences have been added into the default chat box, but the experience, settings, and configurations are all still more robust and easier to deal with in an addon-enhanced chat box.
Here is one aspect of the user interface that I greatly enjoy, if only because I am also about to potentially switch to a keyboard and Razer Naga setup. Replicating the keyboard layout can be a helpful tool in remembering the keybindings you have set for yourself, while still giving a visual representation to your hand placement.
Action bars are already laid out with this in mind, for many people, without much thought. The main action bar is just a line of buttons representing the 1 through = keys on the number row of the keyboard. Using Dominos to create a keyboard setup is effectively doing the same thing, just with a different part of the keyboard. A friend of mine, an old druid tank, would have his bars appear per stance in the same configuration as they would have appeared on the keyboard to minimize his missed presses in a panic scenario.
Laptops and smaller screens
Laptops and other smaller screen resolutions can benefit from addons like Grid because they shove a lot of information into a smaller, more customizable space. Notice that Alluren has created an area for his Grid interface that can incorporate other raid and group sizes, which is a must-have for smaller screens.
Since UI scaling has changed this patch, things are a little easier when slimming things down using the default interface. You might have even noticed a lot of your interface elements were smaller when you logged in after patch 4.0.3. Remember, some addons just don't really need to be all that large on your screen. If you're a tank or a DPSer and are comfortable with small raid frames, keep them small. If you barely use your minimap, hide it when it isn't needed. You can save a lot of space and free up a lot of screen space by just making things smaller.
Thanks for the submission, Alluren. Just get yourself a chat box addon. The doctor is prescribing it.
Many people have been asking me to do some live cast demonstrations of setting up certain addons. This will happen! Watch my Twitter feed for updates. I'm thinking we'll do our first very special episode of Addon Spotlight Live! this week at some point, on which I'll be tinkering with my own UI, setting things up for Cataclysm, and answering some UI questions. Whatever happens, happens. See you guys next week!
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.