Take it away, Kormex:
Hello there, Reader UI of the week! Hope the last few weeks before Cataclysm are treating you well :)
My submission is a project that I've been working on for a few months now. I have a 1024 x 760 monitor, but hopefully, you'll still be able to see things OK on a higher-resolution screen. My main goal with my UI was functionality -- I wanted to use addons to add functionality while taking as little as possible away. A good example of what I mean is my target frame. I could heal a raid just fine using just my Grid frames, but no target frame could make things like setting icons on mobs or checking debuffs much more difficult.
 Grid -- Party/raid frames
 Stuf -- Target frame
 Quartz -- Casting bar
 Fortexorcist -- Cooldown timer bar
 Deadly Boss Mods -- Boss ability timers
 Bartender4 -- Action bars
 Skada -- DPS and other meters
 Sexymap -- Mini map
 Satrina Buff Frames -- Buff bars
 Buttonfacade -- Buttons skins
Specific addon info:
Plugins used: GridStatusHots, GridIndicatorCornerText, GridManaBars, GridUnitMenu, GridDirectionArrows.
Top left corner: Rejuvenation timer
Bottom left corner: Regrowth timer
Bottom right corner: Lifebloom/Wild Growth timer (Lifebloom has display priority over Wild Growth)
Top right corner: Dispellable debuff indicator (poisons, curses, magic)
ButtonFacade Skin: Jiyll: Vista
Bar texture (used on all addons with bars): Blizzard
Sexymap preset: Simple Square
Stuf: Target health bar, target portrait, and target info (buffs/debuffs) are the only things used. Everything else is disabled. This addon takes a LOT of tweaking, so If you use it, don't expect it to look the way you want right away.
While making my UI, there was one concept that was used in an article here before that stuck with me: Imagine you're playing Tetris. Just look at Quartz, Stuf, and Grid. It doesn't get much more Tetris-y than that. I'm a big fan of spacing, so I made sure to leave at least very small bit of space in between each element, but not so much that excessive space was being wasted.
I tried to organize things from most important to least important, with important in the middle and unimportant to the sides. For example, my cooldowns are much more important to know about right away then something like my bags (the only reason I have bags showing is I do a LOT of crafting). Other then that, I didn't really have a plan when I made my UI. I did a lot of tinkering with various addons until I had everything setup in a way I liked.
Thanks for looking at my submission :)
Thanks for the submissions and the pictures, Kormex. In addition to his submission, Kormex sent out a very detailed and excellent description of his process, which is best summed up as determined iteration. I think Kormex uses the space he has very well.
In the past, as noted by Kormex, I've given the advice that setting up a bottom interface bar neatly is like playing Tetris
. In my experience, gaps in the bottom interface are jarring when the environment in those spaces is moving, changing colors, or the textures "show through" the user interface elements and clash with the color scheme.
You don't have to stack neatly for stacking neatly's sake -- Kormex has proven that if you have an odd space, you can find a place for something that fits while remaining situationally relevant and easily noticeable. Look at how the target frame curves around the casting bar to fit between some action bars and Grid
. If a style feels comfortable, you can keep the general feel while still moving things around so that it all fits together like a puzzle.
Also notice how Kormex gives himself a defined "top" to his addons so that the screen is obscured only to a point. Personally, this is the approach I choose to recommend, as I've said in the past. Limitations on yourself can force you into some creative solutions that you might not have thought of before. If you're going the roof route, set your limit and stick to it -- you'll be happier in the long run. Only compromise on your height if you find that everything just isn't coming together the way you wanted it. You did make a preliminary drawing, didn't you?
Finally, notice how Kormex is running light on the number of addons he is using, keeping the screen free of mostly unnecessary clutter. The best part about a light interface is that you can easily rule out certain addons when you have a problem. If you're lagging or your game is stuttering for some reason, it is an easy exercise to turn off addons one by one to find the problem. If you're running too many addons, this process can be a pain in the butt.
For the most part, especially for healing, I think Kormex is hitting the right points with what addons he is choosing to run, as well as placement. Also, for the space he has, I think Kormex did a bang-up job fitting his UI elements together. Good show, Kormex.
And finally ...
Next week, Cataclysm
launches, and with that, new areas and new experiences. I will be very excited to see lots of new UI shots in new dungeons and raids. In the meantime, for next week's Reader UI of the Week, I'd like to feature a bunch of tips from the community for new players just joining up on Dec. 7. Send me your absolute favorite or most useful UI tip that you think all players should know, and I'll assemble a list. Let's help out the new guys, yeah?
See you all 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.