Ladies and gentlmen, boys and girls, I welcome you to another wonderful edition of Reader UI of the Week, WoW Insider's community user interface feature where you, the reader, get to show off your screen. This is my 50th Reader UI of the Week, marking a huge milestone for me. I have been having the time of my life writing for WoW Insider, and I cannot believe it's already been 50 weeks. It's almost my one-year anniversary. What are you going to get me, community? You still have time to pick out the gifts ...
This week, reader Adam shows off his UI that has to play two roles for two different classes. Many people are playing alts these days, and user interfaces are playing multiple roles more and more. Let's take this opportunity, then, to talk about ways the UI can be set up for multiple classes and multiple roles. Let's get this party started.
Take it away, Adam:
I have been a long-time follower of WoW Insider, and Reader UI is one of my favorite columns (close second after KYL). Anyways, I have gone through quite a few styles and designs with my UI over the last 6 years of playing. I recently started digging into some of the other UIs in your column to come up with my own style. And about 10 minutes ago, I finally finished it.
My main is a protection and retribution paladin with my highest level alt and primary farmer being a restoration druid. I wanted to come up with a UI that I could streamline between both classes but be flexible enough to handle healing, tanking and DPS. Not an easy challenge. I ended up with the attached images for my paladin. I found that I like a lot of the things you did in your own UI but added my own spin. I thought your BT4 9 button profession box was phenomenal and answered a problem I have had for ages. I have also been tossing back and forth between Titan Panel and SLDataText. The way you set yours up is what secured it for me (that and I was able to secure a small space for it).
I play on a 24" 1920x1200 monitor. Honestly there is too much screen, so I try to consolidate as much as possible. Here is a break down of my Add Ons:
Thanks for the email and the submission, Adam. There's plenty to talk about here, and since the email asks for some constructive comments, who am I to turn this poor soul away?
- HealBot I love the compactness of Grid. Unfortunately, Grid doesn't have a good way to track HoTs on each target. My goal was to set up a configuration so that when I'm in a DPS spec it resembles the simplicity of Grid, but in healing mode, the bars swap to a different profile that is wider and easier to track. Toss in a macro attached to a spec swap and ta-da.
- IceHud Since using this addon in vanilla, I have a hard time dropping it. It's just too good. I recolored the bars to fit the style of the remainder of the UI.
- STUF I was a big fan of Pitbull ... until I tried Stuf. There are still some limitations to this addon and it's probably more complex than most people need, but I love its flexibility.
- Chatter Simplifying the chat box to get the most relevant information.
- Bartender4 Most of my abilities are key bound and memorized. I keep the first bar for vehicles and the second for style.
- Recount Removing the actual bars on this and Omen really changed the way I look at information. It's more numbers and less epeen length.
- SLDataText Finally replaced Titan Panel. I actually decided on this today after reading that mount speed would be coming in the character screen. It just made sense.
- SexyMap It's probably too small but I don't really do much with my map on this character.
- Satrina Buff Frames I really don't like bar buffs like Elkanos. Satrina filled the niche I had when I moved the minimap.
- Power Aura Classic There are only a couple of abilities I have applied to this addon. For retribution, it's an inquisition timer. For prot, it's a nice shield combo for defensive cooldowns and a timer for when Sacred Duty procs.
- Bagnon I have used ArkInventory. I felt this was simpler to configure and use day to day.
- Mik's Scrolling Combat Text Prefer the control over combat text placement versus the built-in Blizzard options. I also customized all of the font to match.
- CLCRet This is a must-have for ret paladins in my opinion. It's great for use as a CD watcher and to help to know what to hit next.
- AtlasLoot Doesn't really need an explanation. It's an invaluable resource.
- DotTimer I really only use this for a CD timer next to my STUF UI. It's an attractive icon timer.
- OmniCC I've used it since vanilla and wont go back.
- Omen As a tank, I split my threat monitoring between this and Tidy Plates. This is my boss threat monitoring.
- Deadly Boss Mods Must-have.
- Tidy Plates I just started using this when Cata came out. It has greatly simplified my multi-mob tanking. Great addon.After trying several different UIs, this is what I settled on. Any constructive comments are definitely appreciated.
Multiple specs, multiple characters
One of the most-asked questions that I get from reader emails is how can you configure one user interface to be useful for multiple types of roles. Healers use a profoundly different interface that tanks or DPS, for instance. There are some aspects to the DPS-centric user interface that are not really needed on the healer's configuration as well. So what is an altaholic to do?
Adam's UI lends itself to some good standards that exist across all of his characters and roles that allow the UI elements that change the most to stay dynamic.
A solid base
Adam's user interface runs with the bottom bar approach, keeping a set height for everything below the border line. One of the reasons I really like bottom bar UI configurations is because you can set all of your static addons to definite spots and then keep everything above the bar moving and dynamic. The best way to start this type of configuration is plan out the pieces of your user interface that don't change much from character to character, and set those addons to the bottom.
Creating this type of solid base is crucial to the whole "one UI, multiple roles" setup. The more UI elements that you can keep static, the less time you will be spending on shifting over to your next spec or class' configuration. For instance, if you have two completely different setups for chat and you place the chat box in two separate places for your two characters, you're going to be doing a lot of rearranging for each character to make your other addons fit around a relocated chat box.
The player and unit frames on Adam's UI also do not change between characters and specs, which I think is a good idea. Keeping those elements static makes it so you don't have to relearn those positions after each character swap.
Profiles and Grid
Profiles are the powerhouse that makes the one UI philosophy achievable, at least for me. Many addons feature profiling features that let you set up and save various configuration sets that you can easily swap between. Your action bar mod, be it Bartender, Dominos, or something else, is one of the best ways to learn the profile system. Adam's UI keeps the action bars the same between characters, including the right-aligned utility bar block. If you want different action bar setups, just set up another profile with your new setup. Setting the profile to "active" will keep that particular configuration when you switch over to that particular character.
Grid is another monster profiling addon that can make life much easier for you. I love Bati's Grid layouts for healing, while a simple and basic Grid configuration for tanking and DPS is more than sufficient. Keep each of your Grid profiles separate for each character and spec, and just have Grid swap profiles for each spec.
SLDataText is my second favorite addon ever
I keep talking about SLDataText for good reason -- it's my new second favorite addon of all time. Frequent readers of this column know that my favorite addon of all time is ButtonFacade, but SLDataText is quickly catching up and solidifying its place in my heart. Adam took some cues from my very own user interface in his SLDataText setup, which I probably also stole from somewhere else. UIs are a collaborative process, right? Suffice to say, simple text looks great on opaque backgrounds and makes for some fast information gathering.
I think your UI is looking fine, Adam. I don't know exactly why you need a HUD interface to go along with a player frame, since it feels a little bit redundant to me, so I'd probably just move the player frame out of the way or remove it all together. You kept the bottom bar UI thin and svelte, meaning you have plenty of room above to manipulate the rest of your UI elements. Grid is working well for you, and if you can't really get HoTs on your Grid, I'd definitely recommend Bati's layouts for druids. Other than all that, I think you're good to go on a nice setup that doesn't favor one role or the other. Keep things simple, and you're on your way to a one-UI lifestyle.
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.