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Reader UI of the Week: Susano's UI


Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using, to

Another potential 4.0.1 day is upon us! Hopefully the patch has hit and you, dear readers, get to read WoW Insider while the World of Warcraft falls apart around you. If it's patch day, and your server is not up yet, my condolences. If your server is up, I hate you, because mine probably isn't.

Reader UI of the Week gets some pretty crazy submissions sometimes. I've seen my fair share of really out-there user interfaces that, suffice it to say, are more about style than substance. A lot of graphics. A lot. Not to say that too many graphics are a bad thing (they usually are), but it might be time to clean up that graphical mess you got going on there. Patch 4.0.1 is the perfect time to do it.

This week, we're taking a look at Susano's user interface, a nice, clean, and simple setup that looks like it's going to stand up to the dreaded patch addon-clysm. I'm in a simple mood this week, so let's take it easy.

Set it up for us, Susano:

Well, hello there, WoW Insider!

It's Susano (Certified Prot, Illegal Ret) of <Unreal>, on Tichondrius (US-A), humbly submitting my UI! I decided to submit my UI due to the fact that (opinion, here) there aren't that many "clean" UIs -- most have boxes, icons and bars flying around everywhere, and that doesn't suit my tastes. I need to be in control and know where to look if I need to know something.

My UI has had several revisions, as it's still a work in progress (it's just what I'm happy with at the time of this writing). ^_^ It's been heavily influenced by pieces on this column; the unit frames are based off of Fizzik's UI, some layout elements taken from Mvin's UI, etc.

One thing that I wanted to do was to keep the
WoW "style" when I made my UI, as you can see by my skin choices in Sunnart.

For things like items, auras, etc., I use a handy little addon called "OPie." I press a key combination and a ring of (in this case) auras pop up, and I'm able to save space and be more efficient.

One thing to note is that this UI works for
both PvE and PvP, as some of my UI elements change when I switch spec to PvP ret (Bartender, Clique and Grid, mainly). There were too many addons to be able to show in my key, unfortunately, so I'll just list them all here:
  • kgPanels
  • IceHUD
  • Bartender*
  • Stuf Unit Frames
  • SLD Data Text
  • Skada
  • Grid
  • PatSatrina Buff Frames**
  • Sexymap (Simple Square Preset)
  • Sunnart (Finwe skin)
  • ButtonFacade
  • Power Auras
  • LockNotes
  • ArkInventory
  • Cromulent
  • Deadly Boss Mods
  • GTFO
  • Mapster (for minimap)
  • OmniCC
  • OPie
  • Quartz
  • TankWarnings
  • TipTac
  • TidyPlates
  • TomTom
  • Clique
* using the ButtonFacade Skin "Darion"
** using the ButtonFacade Skin "LiteFlat"

That's about it. I hope you like my UI, and I'll take any suggestions you have to improve it!

Thanks for the submission, Susano. In my mind, there are two types of "clean" user interfaces. On the one hand, you have a clean UI represented by stylistic choices that reduce clutter, save space and present a clean uniformity to the setup as a whole. On the other hand, there is a clean that relates to simplicity in form and function. For me, Susano's UI hits both.

Defining spaces

Susano's user interface goes to great lengths to keep as much of the bottom bar under a very specific height. This can be a huge boon to people who might go a little bit crazy with addons spilling out over the top and seeping onto the main viewing area.

Putting a hard cap on the height of your UI is a great first step to controlling the elements therein. If this is your first time customizing your user interface, setting a height is one of the best things you can do to get a feel for how much of the UI you really need to be seeing and to truly force yourself to trim the fat.

While the white borders that separate Susano's interface elements are not my cup of tea, it's the right attitude when dealing with defining spaces. Personally, I would have gone with a color that matched the Sunnart artwork but still served to set each addon apart -- maybe a dark brown or some kind of grey. In any case, the highlights work to compartmentalize the information, and it works.

Tiny portraits

Still love 'em.

Making choices with art

Usually I'm the guy who rants against Sunn Viewport Art and about how art in panels makes everything look just a bit cluttered. I don't hate Sunn, I promise. I cut my teeth on graphics in UIs making custom Sunn panel art. I still think most art is crap maybe 80 percent of the time. Susano, however, has chosen two key elements wisely, contributing to a nicer panel art experience that I'm giving a thumbs-up, with one caveat. First, choose panel art while your action bars are visible, to make sure that the background does not bleed into the icons. You would be surprised how often your eyes will just bleed that stuff together into one, goopey image. Second, choose an action button shape that fits your background art. Squares are the most popular, but I know some people who have detailed art that looks better underneath circles. The key is to choose art with action bars on top.

The one caveat I would add is that the top border of the Sunnart art is obscured by many of the addons. By trimming down those addons, Susano could still get the aesthetic beauty of that top border while only shaving off a little bit from his addons. It might look nice!

Multi-use versatility

Sasuno's user interface is multi-purpose, used both for PvP and PvE content. What makes this possible is not the addons used, but rather the simplicity of the setup combined with a generous amount of tweaking. Setting profiles for PvP and PvE is a quick way to have two user interfaces at your fingertips, no matter what you decide to do during your play session.

Believe it or not, you can create a pretty function PvP/PvE user interface hybrid if you put your mind to it. One of the biggest changes in PvP is the raid frame, which changes in size and function drastically during competitive arena matches and battlegrounds. Maybe if you can find a happy medium for PvE and PvP, you won't even need to change your raid frames -- buffs and debuffs just have to have their priorities adjusted, and you could be ready to roll.

Sasuno, great job, and I'd love to see the UI again in a few months, especially after Cataclysm hits. I like the simplicity and cleanliness, and seeing a lot of the screen is always an awesome sight. Good luck! See you all next week.

Gallery: Reader UI of the Week gallery | 267 Photos

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.

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