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Reader UI of the Week: What can you do with the standard UI?

Olivia Grace, @@oliviadgrace
February 12, 2013

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I put out a call a while back for UI submissions featuring, as far as possible, elements of the standard UI. I was curious to see what WoW Insider's readers could make with these elements, and as little else as possible. The restrictions were few -- as far as possible, everything had to be a standard UI element, nothing else. Addons were, of course, permitted, but as far as possible they had to be invisible, or modifying the UI in such a way that they remained hidden.

I had a fair few submissions, and also had a go at it myself, and thought I should share the outcome of all these good people's hard work! Do let us know what you think, and if you have any suggestions or questions, of course leave a comment.

Dezzalee writes:

The above shot is my UI. I use the Blizzard standard default UI with a few addons that move stuff.

BasicMiniMap: I use it to move the minimap to the lower left hand corner because it is hard for me to see it in the upper right hand corner. I have a wide-screen monitor and OLD eyes and it is just too hard for me to see it anywhere else. I use it to look for herb and mining nodes and fishing nodes.

LeatrixPlus: (doesn't show on the addons list, but it is the green button on the minimap) I use this to move the player and target frames. It also blocks duels and lots of other stuff which I don't really use.

Glamour: I use it to move the Achievement alert. It pops up between the minimap and the chat frame.

Dezzalee's UI does a pretty good job of reshuffling the standard UI into something more playable, and more stylish! I like the removal of the gryphons or lions at either end of the action bars, these were the first things to go when I switched away from the standard UI. The minimap re-style and move is a good alteration, too, I wouldn't have it there personally, but for UIs, it's what works for you that matters! Dezzalee points out in her email why she has it there. The action bars to the side are a little gappy, though, and as we're shooting for the standard UI here, Dezzalee would have gained more points for leaving the map skin the same, although I am a fan of the squared off look she's gone for! And the broker bar at the top -- which looks like TitanPanel -- is very unobtrusive and fits in well with the Blizzard-ish look of the rest of the UI!

Keeping it Simple

Kihara's submission is next on our list, as well as being the header image. He's sent over both a solo shot and an in-combat shot, and his much-abridged email reads as follows:

The Blizzard UI: In general, I find it a very functional, if bare-bones UI. It is very good at displaying information in a clear and concise fashion, and it is very good at clearly showing its various functions and buttons. However, it is not so good at showing you precise numbers.

Currently, my addon setup is as follows:

Bartender: I use this to hide bars I don't constantly need and make
them visible only on mouseover.
Quartz: I use this partially because of the handy functions (such as latency indicator and crafting timer), and partially since it gives me a second target/focus cast bar.
Chatter: Its main function is to make the chat windows entirely invisible (except for text obviously) when not moused over.
OmniCC: I have used this addon uninterrupted since 2005. It displays CD timers directly on the action bar buttons.
Digits: Provides me with a secondary rage indicator during combat. Allows me to see exactly how much rage I have at any given time, so that I can choose the right abilities.
WeakAuras: I use this for showing relevant buffs and timers (as bars) during combat.

It's not obvious in the screenshots, but I have two chat windows, one on either side of the main console. Some people might say that takes up an inordinate amount of space. However, I find it makes it much easier to keep track of several conversations at once since I can spread out the various channels and chats. Especially during raids this has been tremendously useful. Besides, if I were to remove one of them, my UI would become very lopsided to look at, especially during
combat. This would end up annoying me tremendously.

I really liked Kihara's submission! Particularly the reworking of the action bars with Bartender. Bartender allows you to still incorporate the Blizzard "Art Bar" -- the two gryphons or lions -- into your UI, but with various different options. His use of OmniCC is great, too, he's sticking with the standard Blizzard font, and it doesn't look out of place on the bars. The only thing I'm deducting points for is the use of the timer bars in the middle of the screen. Even Omen, while not part of the standard UI, blends in very well indeed. I'm not entirely sure about Mik's Scrolling Battle Text, though, it's too obviously not part of the rest of the UI. Points are awarded for not having it's horrendous default font, but the one chosen doesn't really fit in. There's almost certainly the option to have good old Friz Quadrata in there somewhere, just for consistency!

Marsailli's homemade Hermigerd

Our final reader submission comes from Marsailli. She's sent us two screenshots, both of her priest being shadowy and showing off her home-made addon with a heal. She writes as follows:

I only use one addon: my own Hermigerd "addon" is a few scripts I've cobbled together to accomplish a few things I wish the Blizzard UI would at least give options for:

Coloring the background of the name part on the target/focus unit frames by class.

  • Adding cast time to the cast bar.
  • Moves the default player and target cast bars.
  • Auto repair/sell grey items.
  • Clean up the minimap (removes zoom buttons, moves tracking button, etc).
  • Add OmniCC-type countdown timers for action buttons
  • Enlarges my buffs/debuffs on the target frame (similar to what Xperl does but not as large – this can be adjusted though!)

Other things I've done to make things easier for me:

  • Move player and target unit frames to a center position on the screen. This is accomplished by right clicking the unit frame > Move frame > Unlock frame
  • Darkened the chat box background so I can actually ~see~ what the heck is going on in chat.
  • Turned on threat percentages and target of target frame in default Interface > Combat options.
Marsailli gets many points awarded for being so true to the standard UI, and the subtle changes she's made are excellent, I'm really impressed with the home-made addon! I have wished for a long time that the actual target frame would have class colors, so this is a truly excellent addition. I have badgered her to put her addon online somewhere for people like me to download, as I think it makes the default UI so much simpler to use without too much modification.

My attempt

I have rather an unfair advantage, really, having had these excellent shots sent in beforehand to allow me to steal others' ideas. I took a slightly different approach to the aforementioned UIs, employing the powerful MoveAnything addon as my main modifier for unit frames, loot roll panels, castbar, minimap and so on, as well as using Bartender's bars and OmniCC for cooldowns. As you can see, I've failed at my own criteria by using Skada for damage and healing, but I've done my best to make it tie in thematically. Here's my attempt solo, in combat, and in party combat.

What's your take on these? Do they modify the default UI enough for your uses? Have you seen better ways to mess around with the UI and still stick to default elements? Would you consider moving back to the default UI with a few changes? I know I might. I've become rather attached to this hunter UI.

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