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Reader UI of the Week: Blast from the past


That's not very "from the past", you say? That's a current tier raid, Feng the Accursed to be precise? Well, you'd be right. But, ladies and gentlemen, this is the UI of a chap called Justo. Justo emailed me his UI, and let me know that he'd had a UI featured once before back in 2007, five years ago! In that original article, Justo referred to his UI as "controlled clutter" presenting this out of combat image, and this in combat one. I have to say, he was right about the clutter, and I'm impressed he was able to maintain control.

Skip forward over five years and here we are. Justo's back, and it's really interesting to see how his UI has evolved! I was inspired by Justo's email to look back through my screenshots and get an idea of the evolution of my UI, but alas up until fairly recently, that is to say the last couple of years, I didn't really think my UI was worthy of many screenshots. It seems I preferred to hide it and take pictures of the world instead! If you have pictures of your UI going through the years, do send them in, I'd love to see a UI evolution take place!

But anyway, here we are, 5 years after the original article. Justo's UI now looks more like this, when he's in combat, and this, when he's not in combat.

And Justo, being a kind soul, also sent me this email to accompany his screenshots. I've edited it down a bit!

Hey Olivia, Justo Elune US here. I think it may be kinda cool to see an update/rehash of an old reader UI submission. I've always wanted to see people's reader UIs updated as time goes along to see what they've improved upon and/or learned about UIs since.
I used to have that old UI on a 20 inch widescreen monitor. I now have a significantly reduced UI footprint and call my new UI "Serenity in Scenery". My new UI is displayed in 1920X1080 on a 24 inch widescreen monitor (along with a beast of a PC). I still like having all sorts of info at a quick glance, just this time around I have everything condensed into smaller spaces so that i have a much wider view of my surroundings (hence the name). So, lets toss on some Stone Sour (the heavy stuff) and get down to the meat and taters.

Raiding Mods

Mik Scrolling Battle Text
Sexy Map
Shadowed Unit Frames
Satrina Buff Frame - Shows buffs and debuffs in the upper right-hand corner of my screen. its also completely customizable. now, this mod is kind of interesting in that its original author quit wow and modding a couple of years ago. It was kept afloat by fan updates and now is apparently being taken over by someone? It's convoluted and goofy, but, it still works and as I am a creature of unbreakable habit, it isn't broken, so I still use it. lots of mods do similar things probably as easily, but this is the one I know and love.
Omen Threat Meter
Leatrix Plus - I...dont really know how to explain this mod. It does over 100 things. No, literally. Over 100.
Dominos - My bar mod of choice.
Skada Damage Meter
Unified Tank Frames - This is the teeny little tank list frame on the bottom right to the immediate left of Omen. Shows the tank list based upon raid role selected for fast assisting or, in my case, Misdirecting. its ridiculously light weight, and since i for some reason can't pull individual frames out of the raid tab, this works. I could probably see if this is due to an addon conflict, but I'm lazy.
OmniCC and Inline Aura
Deadly Boss Mods
Az Cast Bar

Other Mods of Note

Titan Panel
Align - are you OCD about symmetry in your UI? If so (like I am), then this mod is your best friend. With a simple slash command this puts up a grid on your screen so you can shift things around to be spatially perfect.
Chitchat - Answering machine mod. hate missing whispers while you are /afk? no longer shall you miss them. this records them and plays them back when you get back. it even saves them so you can go back to them later which is also easily able to be cleared.
Rating Buster - this, in my opinion, is a must-have. Shows all your stats in a summarized breakdown. This makes item comparisons easier than Hogger at lv 90.
Atlas and Atlasloot Enhanced
Addon Control Panel
You can, of course, check backto the original article to see what Justo was using way back in 2007!

Reader UI of the Week Blast from the past

The above is Justo's UI out of combat, quite a different beast to his UI in combat, but both include a new featre since 2007, the inclusiion of really rather a lot of free, empty space at hte top of the screen. By shifting the UI's main elements, with the exception of the buffs, to the bottom of the screen, Justo's created a far better view than he had with his previous UI, where the scaling meant that the unit frames were rather large and presenting him with quite a minute field of vision. I'm pleased to see this is sorted out now! I'm also pleased to see that Justo hasn't fallen into the trap of one of my pet UI peeves, something often featured by those who prefer to concentrate their UI at the bottom of the page, the big black bar of doom. I can sort of understand the need for a unifying element to control all your UI stuff, but I really don't like those black panels!

The Good

I really like the little pyramid effect on the action bars! Look at that, it's so pretty, starting with the pet bar at the top and spreading down. And I really think he's done a great job in removing so much of the original clutter. He's lost a huge amount of bars since 2007, and clearly realized what's unnecessary and what really needs the screen space that bars take up. I actually prefer the look of his in-combat UI to his out-of-combat UI, simply because the heavy black chat panel doesn't seem to be sufficiently balanced by the bright glowing sexymap on the other side. The addition of what looks suspiciously like recount for threat, although he says he's using Omen and Skada so maybe it's a re-skin, on the right hand side really balances the chat pane. Or it could be a damage meter. I'm not sure, but I like it!

I'm assuming that the paladin tank unit frame above his own unit frame in the combat shot is his focus target, and that the boss in the center is his target, but either way the buffs debuffs are managed very neatly. As a PvP healer, I'm always looking at buff and debuff management! And the general position of the UI elements really makes for a clear view of what's going on, rather unlike what he had before! The isolated DBM announcement of the (very important) wildfire spark in the middle is extremely clear, and that's a very good thing. I like how he's used Mik's to move the healing and damage numbers out of the middle of the screen so that they don't interfere with his field of vision.

And simply winding back the scale from his old UI has done wonders. I can't believe he was actually able to play with the old UI, it's like looking through a tube full of combat text!

The Not-so-Good

Back I go to that chat pane! It's so black, it sticks out like a sore thumb in the semi-transparent world Justo's created. He doesn't talk about a specific chat pane addon, but there are several out there, some of which can generate a semi-transparent chat pane for you. Or, make it transparent altogether and put a kgPanel behind it. I also think that Justo should further indulge his obsession with symmetry and move his focus frame (assuming that's what that is) to the opposite side of his bars, mirroring his own frame. It would be much prettier, in my opinion!

Reader UI of the Week Blast from the pastI'm fast running out of words, so the weekly "Noooo!" has to go to Justo's minimap's sexymap look, and the co-ordinates/clock. I feel a bit bad about this, really, as Justo says this about it in his email: "Beautiful minimap addon thats fully customizable, even aesthetically. what you cant see in the picture, is the blue runed rings rotate opposite of each other."

I'm really not a fan of the default look of SexyMap, I honestly thought that everyone immediately turned it off, but that's obviously not the case! But my main objection to it isn't the blue ring setting, it's the square boxes with the co-ordinates and the time. They just look like they're not meant to be there! It's not a very big problem, two tiny boxes, but that's because I think Justo's got a pretty hot UI here. OK, maybe I'm objecting to the blue ringed SexyMap too.

And his UI's improved so, so much since the 2007 version! What do you think? And do you still have any screenshots of your UIs from years back? Send them all to me, and your UIs now, of course. I'm on!

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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