This week is a big submission week for Reader UI of the Week, meaning I need you fine folks to send me a new crop of interfaces to discuss. BlizzCon is coming very, very soon, and that means I have to get some columns in the bank, so to speak, for when I'm away having an awesome time with you guys and gals at the convention. So submit your UI to Reader UI of the Week. You know you want to. Send submissions, explanations, and screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for today's submission, Absinth is a priest is a clear goal: make a healing user interface that gets rid of the clutter, put most of healer arsenal on VuhDo, and keep the screen free. Overall, I think the style and configuration works, but some players may be reluctant to give over so much power to a healing addon. That fact does make you wonder about the power disparity between healing addons and the default user interface, though ...
Absinth's healer UI -- healing, VuhDo, round buttons!!!!
Let's hear it for the UI, Absinth:
Reader UI of the Week,Thank you for the submission and email, Absinth. There is a deep, dark secret living in my soul that you all deserve to know: I am very scared of healing user interfaces. It is not a frightening sort of fear but a deep-seated horror of breaking my old habits and trying to relearn a whole different system of healing. I've been running a Clique and Grid setup on my healer, which is fairly similar in mechanics to the VuhDo/Healbot setup, so I'm at least on the same page with click-to-heal user interfaces.
I thought I'd submit my UI this week. It's been working really well for me over the past 84 levels so maybe other people would.
My goal here was to make as much of the screen available as I could while still including everything I need to heal. Most of my heals are set up in VuhDo so my shortened action bar contains stuff I'd rather press on the keyboard. Buffs and necessities are under my unit frame with mounts and food just above the chat frame.
Here's how I have my addons set up:
Dominos Easy to configure action bars
ButtonFacade (Masque) just makes all the buttons look better and erases the need for panels
PitBull Unit Frames easy setup if you know how to work it. tried to make the frames small enough so they don't take up space but large enough so I can see what I need to
Prat + Chatter I use these two chatframe addons together for some reason I can't even remember. Basically, they're easily configurable and look nice
Deadly Boss Mods a must have for anything WoW
Decursive a must for healers. I haven't quite figured out where I want it positioned yet
Skada I use Skada to keep track of my heals+absorbs
Recount Recount and I go back way too far to replace it with Skada. so Recount for DPS
SexyMap it's just sexy
ForteXorcist A beautiful tracker with many more capabilities than others out there. (I only use the bar)
fbngBuffFrame don't usually see a lot of people with this but it's simple and easy to move around. It has these little cooldown bars next to each buff that are basically useless but add a little spice
MSBT best battle text I've ever used
Quartz slick cast bars - they're just so slick
VuhDo the configuration takes some time to learn but once you do, there's no limit to this raid frames addon. it has great markers for healing and an easy-to-bind spell setup
In case anyone cares, here are addons I also use that you don't see in the picture:
Equipped Item Level
Let me know what you think if you get the chance! Some feedback on the setup would be great and, if possible, some tips to improve it.
Many people, however, live in a world where a click is nothing more than a selection tool that must be followed up with a button press to achieve any sort of function. There is a better way, people.
The first aspect of Absinth's healer UI that stuck out at me was the layout. Addon placement is simple, if not a tiny bit disjointed in the level aspect (eAlign would help), but overall everything feels like it is in the right place. The stated goal was to see as much of the screen and world as possible without being cluttered up and to retain enough healing power to effectively do the job. This layout supports the stated goals.
With VuhDo and the utility bars for buffs and regular keybinds, there is enough utility and spread, especially for the priest's varied healing arsenal. The short stack of addons above the keybind bar is nicely placed and can expand upwards if needed for 10- or 25-man raiding. The self station, as I'm calling it, is ideal for personal cooldowns and seeing your own health and mana -- having an area of the UI dedicated solely to the abilities and items/cooldowns that effect your character personally is a great idea to me.
Keeping meters small
You'll notice that Absinth's UI does feature the standard meter setup that you are used to, namely Recount and Skada. The difference here is that the meters are not the focus of the user interface. Many people continue the trend of big meters because they believe that in-combat gauging of their performance is going to turn the tide in some manner, especially DPS. While this may be the case, you do not need the robust DPS calculations going on while you are in a fight; you can and should save that for post-attempt discussion to iron out your mistakes or ways to do better. Having a Recount meter showing 16 people along the side of your screen, especially when you want to conserve space, is just not prudent or needed. If you don't care about space, by all means ...
Absinth's meters are large enough to get the job done and small enough to be tucked away in the corner, free of the trappings of most meters I see slapped on to a UI. It's nice to see smaller meters happening out in the wild.
The truth about healing
No one is going to come to complete agreement over which type of healing user interface is the best or most useful. People do agree on a few simple facts, though. Having a robust system of click-casts and keybinds is a valuable tool that the best healers sometimes can't live without. Constant streams of effective information help healers make snap decisions in terms of cooldown usage. Having space open and keeping the screen free of too much clutter can help with movement and stop from getting too tunnel-visioned and standing in some bad stuff. Healing isn't the easiest job in the world, but there are ways to mitigate the pain.
Absinth's UI works under all of these principles to create a healthy healing environment. The static elements of the UI are static enough that when things change up from group to raid, the logic jump isn't that much of a leap. The pieces of the UI that don't need to be huge or sprawling are not huge or sprawling. Keeping just a short bar of keybound abilities makes for a focus on clicks and keeping healing on the very specific binds needed to get the job done. Budding healers should look to Absinth's UI and make the connection that healer UIs do not need to be completely subsumed in addons to be functional. With the Raid Finder coming up, healers will be in great demand, and having a simple UI structure setup like shown here will be a great boon.
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.