Oh, hello there. I didn't hear you come in. Make yourself at home while we talk about Jeska's user interface, a pretty cool center setup that makes tracking hunter cooldowns and timers a breeze. And since Jeska is playing on a laptop, we can discuss some more tips and tricks for laptop users.
Before we begin, though, I want to put the call out again for more submissions to the column. No, we aren't running low -- you guys are great at submitting and putting cool stuff in my email. Rather, I want to begin to categorize each user interface in terms of DPS, healer, tank, PvP- or PvE-focused, and all that, so that new readers have an easier avenue to finding interfaces that fit their playstyles. Here's what you can do: Make it absolutely clear which spec or role your UI best represents, and take screenshots that can exemplify that. That's it!
And please, please, please remember to put "Reader UI of the Week" in the subject of your email; if it's not that, I'm not going to get your email. Yay for UIs! Submit your user interfaces, screenshots, and descriptions to email@example.com.
Take it away, Jeska:
Hello,Thank you for the email and submission, Jeska. The raid tools that you specifically mentioned in your email, namely TimetoDie and Magic Targets, were going to be part of an Addon Spotlight I was planning for April on some cool raid tools, so I'm glad that a UI crossed my proverbial desk that makes good use of them before I actually recommend them. Good show!
I am humbly submitting my UI for consideration for Reader UI of the Week.
The UI itself was inspired by one of the healing UIs I saw on UI of the Week a while back. I figured I'd try my hand at making a DPS version of it. I've got my more important cooldowns/abilities to monitor up by my focus bar, where I can keep an eye on them. I like the idea of a centralized, higher actionbar that would shorten the distance between looking up at what is going on in the raid, and watching your actions. I've also got an exorbitant amount of bars via DBM because I use DBM-RaidLeadTools. It helps me monitor who has used their Rebirths, or who popped Heroism, and things like that. One thing that I especially like is MagicTargets on the top right. It allows me to see (on mouseover) who is targetting which mob. This helps especially on bosses with adds, as I can easily tell who is switching when they need to be, and things like that. Instead of asking everyone to switch constantly, I can pick and call on whoever hasn't.
Bartender Ridiculously useful. Each "large" icon is its own actionbar. On the right side, I have popup menus that appear on mouseover.
DBM (+ DBM-RaidLeadTools) The industry standard. I used to use DXE, up until expansion when it was a little slow to update. DBM has been installed ever since.
Listed in order from top to bottom:
Grid As a DPS, I don't need to worry about monitoring Grid so much, hence its small size. However, I do raid lead, so keeping an eye on deaths and who bit the dust is a good thing.
- JS Hunter Bar - An amazing hunter focus bar that also tracks cooldowns, stings, and Ready, Aim stacks. There's also a built in swing timer, and boss health (pictured left of the focus value). It is incredibly versatile. Not pictured are the Trap CC timers and the Tranq/HM alerts.
- Quartz - Your standard cast timer. I've offset the name/time to differentiate between my casts and my target's casts. Mine are on top, target on the bottom.
- Stuf (focus target) - My Stuf focus target.
Stuf (me left, target right) I recently changed to Stuf from Pitbull, and I couldn't be happier. You can see I'm trying out the "tiny pixel border" look, and it's stuck. I really enjoy it. It's also somewhat minimalistic because I don't want nonsensical info getting in the way.
MSBT A good way to monitor things like combat data, cooldown refreshers, and incoming heals. There's a bit of redundancy built in by using this mod, along with other things (like JS Hunter Bar). That way, I have no excuse missing a cooldown. :P
Recount I've been contemplating switching to Skada, but Recount is what I've been using for I'm-not-sure-how-long-now. Having the Total raid DPS up is useful when trying to identify problems in raids.
TimeToDie A nice, lightweight mod that, on most boss fights, will allow you to predict time to boss death, given the current raid DPS. Of course, usage of this mod is circumstantial, and really only comes into play into the last phase of many encounters. It allows me to check whether we will clear a berserk timer or not. And it's also nice to know when you'll be done with a boss. :P
Satrina's Buff Frames A fun addon that allows me to track my buffs/debuffs in detail. I enjoy being able to see critical buffs at-a-glance, and the highly customizable nature of this mod allows me to do just that.
MagicTargets Again, as Raid Leader, it is important to monitor who is targetting what during an encounter. If a person is simply sitting on a boss when adds are up, this mod allows me to see that. On mouseover, it gives me a list of who is currently targetting the mob I am hovering over. It also gives me an at-a-glance view of which mobs have which marks, and things like that. It is a great mod that I cannot recommend enough to Raid Leaders.
(also visible: SLDT [beneath recount], and Omen)
I do hope that my UI and the mods I use can help other people come up with ideas, as I'm always looking for new and refreshing views on how other people see the world. That's probably the coolest thing about Post Your UI threads and columns like Reader UI of the Week. It allows us to see how other people look at the world, which is something we can rarely do in real life. :]
Thanks for your time, and consideration!
Extremely Bored Hunter
I think that Jeska does a good job using the laptop screen space available to her. On the subject of gender, I'm going to be addressing people based off of whatever character is in their screenshots from here on out. I think that that's a lady worgen, so lady worgen it is. If not, please send your complaints to my complaint department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, when I say laptop concerns, I do not mean concerns I have with the laptop medium or viewspace. Rather, I wanted to talk about some of the concerns people have to wrestle with when deciding what to do about laptop-specific issues. One of those is the type of input you use for your laptop. I know many people who are tanks and DPSers who use laptops and never need a mouse, having set up their interfaces to completely rely on keypresses and tab targeting. Others use their laptops as a desktop replacement and have a dedicated mouse and larger keyboard setup ready to go whenever they raid or run dungeons.
Jeska's UI feels like it could work either way, with some tweaking. The traps, shots, and cooldown system under the character are close together and easily mouse-accessible, while retaining a nice, clean look. JS Hunter Bar is an invaluable resource for the dedicated hunter, and with just a little tweaking as Jeska has done, you can get a really solid build out of a minimal amount of space.
If you're going for the no-mouse approach, you might want to make those specific keys part of a modifier setup. For instance, traps can be on the Alt-bound keys, and shots could be on the Ctrl-bound keys. What many of my mouseless friends do is put their rotation on the regular keys and bind special out-of-rotation buttons to the Alt- and Ctrl-bound modifiers. You save yourself the headache of scooting around the screen with your trackpad.
Raiding UIs and keeping things clean
One of the common complaints about raiding user interfaces is that the screen goes from a beautiful, picture-perfect home city creation into a mess of timers, bars, and other crap we have to make sure we're paying attention to while raiding. Well, Jeska's UI proves that, at least for DPS, you can slim down your raiding addons to make everything look palatable and clean.
Notice how the DBM bars start on the left side of the middle setup and then grow larger toward the right of the screen. Instead of doing the traditional top-to-bottom, growing DBM bars that take up a ton of center real estate, Jeska moves the bars from left to right, on a plane where there isn't tons of stuff to be watching and waiting for. Instead of crowding up already crowded areas, move your DBM bars around in areas that get less traffic, and you might be on your way to a cleaner raid setup.
I like Jeska's UI mostly because it has given me a pretty cool template to work with for my new almost-85 hunter. While I wouldn't be able to have chat boxes and text information without some type of background like Jeska has here, I'm still confident that the general setup is something to emulate. Tweaks and changes are the name of the game, right? I love the use of DBM from left to right, the simple configuration of a raiding user interface, and the fact that the UI never feels crowded when, in reality, there is a whole lot going on. Great job, Jeska.
Remember, you can submit your user interface to Reader UI of the Week to show off or to get help fixing it up! We love help questions on the column as well, but remember to submit your UI and questions to email@example.com and include "Reader UI" or "Reader UI of the Week" in the subject. 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.