Welcome to another exciting installment of Reader UI of the Week, the greatest user submitted user interface column on WoW.com! This week, a gorgeous compartmentalized UI invaded my inbox, and I had to share. As frequent readers of this column are well aware, I am also a huge fan of using portraits in off-kilter, non-traditional ways. What do you know, Luis' UI does both of these things. Read on, friends!
Luis, please, tell us a little bit about your user interface and its design:
Thanks for the email, Luis! While I am having a hard time swallowing the "no threat meters" issue, I'm letting function slide in praise of form. And besides, if he pulls aggro, he'll get what's coming to him. I love how organized and neat this user interface is. The bottom row just makes me feel good looking at the setup. It is non-traditionally asymmetrical, no doubt about it, but clean lines and cleaner colors bring this setup together. Let's examine some of my favorite parts, and hopefully give you some ideas on addon and UI placement.Hi Mathew, everybody at wow.com and everyone else reading this,
I'm Luis and I play in the EU-Bronzebeard server. I pilot a char named Alluren, leader <Of Wolf And Men>.
Before we get into my interface, I would like to disclaim that I come from a pure FPS background and my first loot was a machine-gun, two months after "Wolfenstein 3D" hit the shelves at the age of 13. I have never played a game other than a FPS, until my best friend introduced me to wow last December.
To my interface (from left to right, top to bottom);
My UI has 3 different sections - on top I have debuffs on left-hand side and buffs on right-side; they are separated with a kgpanel to re-create a design technique (something like eye-barrier or whatever it's called) where your eyes move up quickly and once they meet this "barrier" the eye-movement slows down and your brain starts looking for content, other than just quickly sweep around.
For the main screen I tried to leave it as free as possible of any debris and faded scrolling text with damage and health. All other warnings are as bright as possible. Coming from FPS, I still prefer to look for what is happening in the screen; I prefer to stand near the healers and grab aggro from loose mobs, blink to where the tank is and then make my way back, instead of having a graph telling me what is happening. Hence the total omission of an aggro-graph (oh, I'm so going to be flamed for this.)
For the bottom of my interface I used the same technique as the upper frame and tried to made it one single line across the screen, using kgpanels to delineate.
The chat-box to the left is the original one, faded and completed with a kgpanel.
The party may seem irrelevant since grid is just after; but as I play a holy priest as well, it helps me keep track of other healers' mana and health. It helps me check how effective my group-heal spells are and we all know a well timed Hymn can help things run smoothly for lengthy encounters.
When healing it's almost impossible to take your eyes from the frame so I kept the casting bar with DBM-cooldowns on top, target's frame across and grid at the bottom.
Tooltips at the far left on top of the cool-downs.
The "transports" bar is a separate one to leave some room at the main bars. Map and Recount.
This interface is played in a 27'' monitor which, I believe, explains all the space taken from side to side and the absence of docked items in the main-screen.
Addons used are:
- kgpanels + buttonfacade
- dominos + cooldowns + pitbull4
- dbm + mikscrollingbattletext + magealert
- grid + gridclickset + gridcustomlayouts
Any feedback would be much appreciated and I would like to hear if there is anything I could improve in the U.I.
All the best,
A portrait of a party member as a young man
I have talked about player portraits in the past. My own personal consensus on the subject of portraits is that they are unnecessary, boring, bring no new information to the table, serve little purpose, and clog user interfaces. The one big caveat, however, is that done with subtlety and panache, they are awesome. Absolutely awesome. The new trend I have been seeing is the slim portrait, as shown in Luis' user interface.
The thin portrait always strikes me as cool. I don't know why. Maybe because it looks very "video-gamey." It reminds me of an action movie poster. Whatever the reason, I love the thin portrait, and used correctly without overpowering the unit or player frames, the slim portrait can be a cool addition to any user interface. For this effect, Pitbull4 is used to add a portrait to one of the horizontal indicators.
Keeping the party frames compact is also a treat, as only the pertinent health information is displayed as well as the portrait. Notice also how the raid frames' kgPanels as well as the rest of the bottom portion of the UI just fit so snugly together? Very slick.
Action bars off to the side opposed to in the middle of the screen is a hard pill to swallow for many people. We are used to the action bars in the middle of the screen from games past. However, notice the amount of features Luis fit into the area with the action bars. The minimap, damage meters, and Luis' own transport bar occupy a relatively small amount of space. Consider while building your own user interface which pieces can easily be grouped or fit together in such a way that they can live together without loss of focus.
Simple kgPanels go a long way to helping organize things. One of the best ways to set up your user interface is put separate kgPanel windows all over your screen where you want user interface elements and then proceed to fill in the panels. By doing this, you limit the space you're allowing yourself to use while still having a relatively easy guide to follow during construction.
The standard fare
Buffs and debuffs are easily viewed at the top of the screen, and while I consider bars superior to icons in the buff/debuff department, this setup is clean, light and takes up barely any room. Chat could definitely be improved, however. As has been said before, I consider the chat addon to be one of, if not the, most important addon in World of Warcraft. The amount of functionality chat addons bring is astounding, if not just for the floating input bar.
Great job, Luis. I love the setup. My love of well thought out portraits knows few bounds, and a simple does of kgPanels can make any interface shine. Just remember to keep the opacity low.
Two things before I escape. First, if you still haven't sent in your favorite addons for our second Community Choice Addon Spotlight, do so! I'd love to hear from some more people. Plus, your email may get featured as proof-positive that I love you and your suggestions. What's better than my love?
Second, submit your user interface to Reader UI of the Week by email! Include a description of your interface, some kind words about the creation of and philosophy behind your user interface, and some nice large screen shots so that the good folks at home don't go blind staring at their monitors from an inch off the LCD. Until next week, friends.
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.