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Reader UI of the Week: Revynn's Revelations


On flipping through the submissions for Reader UI of the Week, it seems to be the different and unusual UIs that really catch my eye. And there's no doubt at all that this is one of them. A cursory glance at the header image will reveal that, and a deeper look at the rest of Revynn's email will confirm that this is no ordinary UI!

Revynn also sent three shots, in combat in a raid, idle in a raid, and idle in a city.

Revynn writes:
I just finished tweaking my newest layout (who am I kidding - it's never done) so I figured I'd send it in.

The overhaul started fairly early in MoP when I got a new video card but didn't really ever come to fruition until I upgraded my monitor a couple weeks ago. With a new monitor came new resolutions and everything I had set up was subsequently thrown out of whack.

In reality, the newest version doesn't vary too heavily from the last one that I used throughout a large portion of Cataclysm (and in fact is the end result of something I've been tweaking and iterating since ICC), but it does serve to address a few things that had been bugging me. Most important of those was clutter. On any given fight, I had too much crap going on, too many timers, too many bars and indicators as is often the case when using a boss mod like DBM. Also, the raid frames, while nicely tucked away for a DPS character, were annoyingly out of place while healing. Lastly, my UI had just gotten a little too big for its britches and could use some trimming.

So, here's the obligatory list of (important) addons:
_kgpanels - Provides the black background behind my bars, frames, chat, etc.
Bazooka - My broker bar of choice for tucking away other addons like MogIt, AtlasLoot, Panda, and others.
Chinchilla - Minimap.
ColorPickerPlus - For matching colors throughout multiple addons.
Dominos - Action Bars.
eAlign - Making it all symmetrical and pretty.
ElkanosBuffBars - Covers buffs, debuffs, DoT tracking and proc watch (I hate using the old "spinning icon" thing).
GoGoMount - I'm closing in on the 200 mount mark, so this gives me a random mount every time I fly as well as a hidden keybind to get something else off my bars.
Kong - Hides . . . pretty much everything when I'm chilling in the city.
Masque - Pretty buttons!
MSBT - I like keeping my combat text fairly controlled instead of having a truckload of random numbers popping up all over the screen.
OmniCC - Can't live without it anymore for the same reason I use Elkanos.
Prat - Handles my chat box.
Quartz - Player and Target cast bars.
Shadowed Unit Frames - I've tried others like Pitbull and such, but this one always felt the easiest to work with.
Skada - Live and die by the meters.
SLDT - Replaced several broker addons I had that reported things like gold, latency, bag space, etc.
TidyPlates - The ThreatPlates module is a godsend for tanks and DPS.
TipTac - To move and reskin the standard tooltip.
VuhDo - Raid frames. Profile switching is amazing for going from LFR to 10M guild raids to a 40M Sha of Anger kill back to heroic dungeons. Set up properly, it's all automatic.
WeakAuras - Stupid me didn't get any screen shots with it active, but I use this for a multitude of things such as reminding me that I have Burning Rush toggled on, am full on Burning Embers, DPSing in Blood Presence or (and this is my favorite) in an instance with something stupid equipped like a fishing pole or Chef's Hat.

Some explanations:

One of the things that's become a requirement in my UI is to have everything picked up off the bottom of the screen. I do this mainly because I want to keep my eyes toward the center of the screen where the action is. Otherwise, I tend to tunnel and stand in stuff, even with DBM yelling at me to stop standing in the pheremones. For the same reason, I like to keep everything packed together. Raid frames are in easy view for when I'm healing or quick battle-rezzing while DPSing or tanking. Target frames, dot tracking and cast bars are all fairly close to each other for quick decisions and Skada is way off in the corner as not to provide a distraction.

One thing I would like to change is the way long term buffs (things like Well Fed, Kings, Might, Dark Intent, flask) are displayed. I believe it's ElvUI that has an awesome little setup with icons for the important buffs that just light up when a buff is active and I've always wanted to emulate that with a separate addon or creative WeakAura usage.

I'm fairly pleased with how it all fades out when I'm cruising around the city, though. I've tried doing things like this in the past with mouseover or combat states in Dominos, but I often found it annoying more than anything. However, in the current setup, everything is there when I need it and hidden when I don't which makes hanging out in Dalaran or Shrine a pleasant experience.

Good things

I've skipped over my usual notable points section to head straight to the good sides because there are so many things I like about this UI that they'd just be one and the same. The only thing to note is that, as Revynn points out, getting good screenshots is hard work, and can often result in in-game failings, such as being hit by tornadoes. I usually die in battlegrounds while my UI's turned off because I just spotted a great view of a keep or something.

Moving swiftly on, I love the layout of this UI. It took me a few tried to notice it, but the heavy black bar which houses almost everything has a fade off to either side that just looks brilliant. I love how almost everything's compacted and tailored to fit within that central bar, and how it all slots neatly together while managing to maintain defined elements. I think this arrangement would work really well for a tank or a healer, too, thanks to the front-and-center position of the raid frames. If it wouldn't take me quite so much work to do it, I'd try this out myself.

I love how everything fades when it's not needed, too, again it's subtle, but in the party but no combat shot, the unitframes are hidden. And, of course, the disappearance of half the UI in the idle out of combat shot is far less subtle, but equally as pleasing! That shot is probably also the best one to appreciate the overall look of the central area, the consistency and the brilliant fade to the sides that I like more every time I look at it! Revynn does mention how he has some weak auras too, and I'd have loved to see them in action, but I'm sure they tie in, given how well the rest of this UI works with that.

Not-so-good things

A lot of these relate to the eternal struggle of form versus function. A UI, after all, is not simply something that you have to look at, it has to serve a purpose too, principally to make your brain aware of all the things you're doing wrong when you're juggling several tasks at once. And there's a fine balance to strike there, particularly for us UI lovers!

So my first observation is, as Revynn notes in his email, the buff bars at the top left. I enjoy the balance between them and the DPS meter in the top right, but I do wonder how many of them are really needed. Again, as Revynn mentions, ElvUI has a neat way of wrapping long-term buffs around the minimap, but in such a minimal UI, perhaps something like a buff reminder addon would be a better choice. Or, perhaps a weak aura to show what's missing? I just don't think the current setup is the most economical use of screen space. And procs come up there, too, maybe I'm just not a good DPS, but are you really watching those like a hawk for the ideal conditions to blow cooldowns or fire chaos bolts? I'm not sure.

Other than that, I'd love to see another solution for the target debuff bars. Maybe even positioning them over the castbar, or modifying their texture to more closely resemble that of the unit frames and panel they're stuck to. And, lastly, if we're really chasing form over function, maybe change the DBM bar color to better tie in with the rest of the UI? Perhaps I'm just being obsessive now. Oh and the DBM special font. That could be changed too!

It's clear to see that I'm a fan of Revynn's UI, but how about you? And please do send me your UI, to!

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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