Monday, February 22, 2010

The UI Evolution

I spent quite a bit of time tinkering with my ui today, and while I am happy with the result, I figured it might be educational to go through the steps I took.

Step 1: Identify what you want to change about your current UI. In my case, I wanted it prettier, wanted to remove the forteexorcist cooldown bars, and wanted to do something about my buffs. Trying to get vuhdo to the point where I no longer needed xperl would be a bonus, but it didn't quite happen.

Step 2: Figure out what addons you need/want. In this case, I wanted to add an art panel and needed a buff management addon. A bit of research led me to Satrina Buff Frames and Sunn Viewport Art. Remember to always download your addons from reputable sites to avoid keyloggers!

Step 3: Get everything looking the way you want. This is probably the most complicated step. Addons such as Align, which puts a grid on your screen, can be very useful.

So here's what I started with....

This is the UI I've had for quite a while. It's functional, but not very attractive, and there's a lot of overlap in functionality.

And here's an intermediate step. The basic idea is there, and I am still using that layout for my dps only toons, but that placement did not work for healing. And the best way to figure that out was to heal a 5man with it. Drove me nuts!

And here's what I ended up with...

Things I did that weren't switching out addons...
I changed the skin button facade was using. Button facade is a nice way to make your bars look different. I also fiddled with the size, shape, and visibility of my bars in bartender.

I fiddled with Vuhdo. A lot. In fact, in that intermediate step I had even set the health bars to shrink vertically rather than horizontally. I learned that does not work for me because I can't see it. But it was a good thing to try.

I moved the chat window repeatedly. I actually really liked it on the lower right corner, but that's also where tooltips and the like show up and especially in Dal, I couldn't read chat for them.

And just in case you were curious, this is the dps version thus far...

I have a lot of dead space in this one, and I will continue to fiddle with it. I like having my bars front and center so I can see cooldowns, and the hud means I don't have to be looking at Xperl. Not sure how I feel about the buff frames being right next to the raid frames though.

And yes, I know the pictures aren't centered on the blog. I apologize, but blogger and I are having an argument about that, and he's wining. So click on the pictures to actually see them properly. Grr, stupid blogger...


  1. I can't really run a lot of add-ons but I am attempting to change my UI a little bit and I have never used anything above and beyond grid. I don't see a reference to the add-on you are using in the last picture. Where it puts your health/mana bars around the character...what is that?

  2. That is metahud. It will also put your target's health (and your pet's if you have one) around there as well. I find it really useful for dps and soloing as I tend to not notice my own health until it's reached the "oh crap gonna die" stage.