Greetings, Reader UI of the Week fans. Did you take some time over the weekend to ponder whether or not you could make some fun changes to your user interface? No? Everyone doesn't pour over user interface submissions all weekend like I do? You guys are really missing out!
This week, Reader UI looks at Perasite's user interface, which has a pretty neat layout on the bottom half that pulls off a nice motif with simple borders. The top half of the screen, however, we can talk about. Let's learn a little something from Perasite!
Let's cover all the bases. First, I'm sure Perasite has something to say:
Hi, I am Perasite from US-Hyjal. I've played my first toon, a Paladin, since about mid-BC, and leveled him as Holy, knowing the whole time that I wanted to be a healer. After reading up on my options for healing beyond 5 mans (I just used party frames for 5 mans) I installed Grid. Although the config was a bit daunting, I loved Grid.
But at that time, Grid was my only addon. I had a completely stock UI with Grid shoved into whatever nook it would fit into.
Over time, I added some new toys, like Dominos to get more control of my (far too many) button bars. I installed Omen and Recount, because, well, I was told to. Pally Power was the same deal, my guild said I needed it, so I installed it. All those things just got kind of crammed onto the screen and made a usable UI, it just wasn't pretty.
I REALLY wanted to try kgpanels, but my first attempt at using it was a massive failure. I just couldn't figure out how to set it up, so I gave up. After finally finding a tutorial on configuring kgpanels, I decided I was going to make myself figure it out. I am very satisfied with the end product. I still use Grid, and I love it. Since I heal, Grid is front and center, always. Over time I've learned to be more situationally aware and not focus solely on those raid frames, but keeping Grid just below my toon's feet allows me to see what I'm standing in and respond quickly if it happens to be fire. It also means I've got my eyes in the center of the screen so if I need to see anything else, my eyes don't have to move too far.
The second screenshot is when I'm not grouped. I could have it hide Pally Power and my single lonely Grid frame, but I'm so used to using them that when I go to buff myself or heal myself while doing dailies, I'm lost without them.
The final screenshot is in a 25 man raid. There are a few items that aren't shown in that shot, so I'll list off all of the addons I use and their purpose:
- kgpanels - borders around buttons, map, chat, etc
- Grid - raid frames
- SexyMap - makes the minimap just a bit less ugly
- ButtonFacade - makes your buttons a little prettier
- clcbpt - I have this show up just to the left of my Grid frames and have it's warnings pop up just above
- Grid (basically on my toon's feet) This addon is specifically to track
- Holy Pally timers (Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield, Judgements of the Pure, and the SS HoT)
- DBM - boss mod
- Chatter - chat box mod
- Skada - replaced omen and recount with Skada and now my Threat meter shows up during the fight and damage/healing meter shows up when the fight is over
- Pally Power - helps manage buffs for multiple pallies in a raid
- Satrina Buff Frames - gets my buffs/debuffs under control allowing me to place them exactly where I want
- TipTac - allowed me to move the mouse over info pane to where I want it and make it look good
- Xperl - Unit frame addon that let me position my personal frame, target, targets target, focus, and focus target to be exactly where I want them while making them look nice at the same time. In the screenshot, you can see that I'm targeting myself and that my target's target is shown just to the right of my target. The focus and it's target are positioned just to the right of that.
Wow, that ended up being a longer list than I expected. But having each of these gives me all the information I need during a raid while allowing me to be pleased with the overall feel of my UI whenever I sit back and just enjoy the sights of the game.
Thank you very much for the email and submission, Perasite. I am a huge fan of good border work, and your kgPanels tutorials definitely gave you a great result. I like the U-shaped bottom HUD, as well, allowing for plenty of room for Grid or your healing addon of choice.
We have talked about borders in the past, but let's talk about Perasite's use of kgPanels, because frankly I think they are done very well and encapsulate the main focus on the user interface well. The bottom HUD is symmetrical, which is always nice. Perasite chose to go with an off-center action bar setup which, while controversial, does allow for the large open space for the main attraction: the heal UI.
Remember the function of borders: structure. If borders are about structure, only use as much structure as you need. Do not overburden yourself with extra thick borders or graphics that get the job done a little too well. Simpler is usually better when it comes to borders. If you go the custom art route, make sure the transparency is set to a lighter setting. This will allow the modules to show up much better and not "sink" into the background. You want a clear delineation between the interface layer and the graphics layer.
I had a change of heart while writing this article. I don't hate the upper half of Perasite's user interface anymore. For a short period of time, specifically between the opening of the email to getting to this paragraph, most of what I saw was cluttered and too large. Every time I looked at the top, however, my opinion slowly changed. While I am still not a fan of the portraits, the information is cleanly laid out and available.
If I were to make recommendations about the upper portion of the user interface, I would streamline the multiple target modules. There was a time in my life when I was all about the consecutive target, target of target, target of target of target, etc. After seeking the user interface guru atop the mountain, I found a new setup that I became happy with, involving a series of smaller target windows stacked to the side. Eventually, Grid was all I needed, with the "aggro" right square alerting me in the upper right corner of the Grid box.
As time goes on, my fondness for the square buff boxes grows. In the past and the present, Elkanos Buff Bars has ruled my buff experience. I enjoyed seeing the names of buffs in order to quickly find one to remove in the event that I would need to, like on Festergut when I must remove Righteous Fury. For my other characters, however, the Satrina buff frames has replaced Elkanos as my buff/debuff notification system of choice.
Perasite's user interface is very function and border-ific. What should you take away from this UI? Think borders, and think leaving a nice big space for your healing apparatus of choice. You'll thank yourself when there is nothing in your way other than sweet, sweet bars that you get to keep full.
Again, the best submissions to Reader UI of the Week come jam-packed with insight, stories, legends and multiple screenshots that (if you'd like) show the progression of the user interface over time.
Hey, let's mailbag, yes?
Good day sir!
I love your posts over at wow.com, and by the in-depth details that you put into them, I figured that you would be a good source to turn to.
I play a lvl 80 hunter ( MM Spec ) on The Velen server. I am currently the RL for a 10man squad that is working their way to the LK. What I am looking for is an Add-on that would be able to show me my Ranged swing timer. I was pointed to Quartz, but I find that rather bulky and confusing, plus for what it does, I have much lighter weight add-on's that I use for timers.
TLDR: Is there an add-on other then Quartz that is simple that will show me my swing timer for movement intensive fights?
Thank you for your time,
Thanks for the email, Alsta. Quartz is the best full-featured cast bar with a swing timer, but if you're looking to go bare bones, you cannot go wrong with LD50_abar. It's as close to a basic swing timer that works as you're going to get.
That's it for this week, compadres. Remember, this column is fueled by the raw devotion to user interfaces from me and you! So get those suggestions in. Next week might be another interface in distress, so break out your commenting shoes and interface overalls, because we have got a heavy makeover to do.
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, your source for everything addon-related.