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 Post subject: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:04 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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This is going to be a fairly lengthy read, so you have been warned. As most of you know around here, I'm big into working on my user interface for WoW. The default interface, while functional to me, lacks in the aesthetics and lacks function for specific needs of specific specs. I've been posting UIs here ever since SSC, but have been working on mine ever since I found out you could make changes to the Blizzard UI. Whle I feel like I can make solid UIs that others can modify from there, I don't claim to be on the level of others that have thousands of downloads of their UIs. I'm a musician at heart, I don't have a creative eye to be able to create a masterpiece UI. I'm not computer literate enough to make complex changes to lua coding or to design an addon myself. I just like taking what others create in terms of addons and seeing what I can piece together.

Over time I've developed a philosophy that isn't unique or mind blowing, but it is one that works. This thread is designed to give you insight into how I think when it comes to UIs as well as some suggestions for websites, addons, and anything else that comes to mind.

My design philosophy:

It's very simple when you look at it, but sometimes I make it sound difficult. My thoughts with UI design is this: If it's not 100% imperative that you see it in combat, then it doesn't need to show. It sounds minimalistic and it is. While I'm not minimalistic to the point where the only thing you see on my screen are my player and target frame, I try to show as little as possible to open up screen space so that I'm more aware of what's going on around me. I personally don't use a damage meter in game. I don't use omen. I don't use any over the top art addons like KG Panels, or Btex anymore. There are some designs around Viewports and such that I've experimented with, and have liked what I did, but I eventually strayed away from them. To me, these things cause clutter and when other addons perform their functions or 3rd party sites (WMO, WoL) are better at their job, there's little to no reason for me to use them.

To me, maximizing your screen space is imperative with the way raiding and pvp in WoW are at now. Being aware of your surroundings and what's going on around you at all times can mean the difference between a wipe and a kill, a win or a loss, a death and living. I try to set myself up to be able to know pretty much everything going on around me. I find clutter distracting, and useless information to be such a hindrance. Duplicate information such as a HUD and a player/target UF showing bug the hell out of me. There are many that will say that they need that HUD and player/target frame. I say that shows the sign of a bad player who can't or doesn't want to train themselves to become more aware of themselves and their surroundings.

I firmly believe that your UI can and does effect your performance in pve and pvp. I also firmly believe in uniformity. Matching your fonts and textures of all your addons just simply makes your UI look better. How many times can you recall me saying "Unify your fonts and textures to clean your UI up?" More times than you care to count right? :D

As you can see from the latest screenshot I have of my druid's UI, that I follow that philosophy fairly well. For an Out of Combat shot, I don't have a recent one that shows my bar changes like this combat shot does:
During Combat: http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/2826 ... 193010.jpg

You notice the amount of information showing is very little, yet still tells me everything I need to know. SLDT hides, but Power Auras shows. My MSBT is set to filter a lot so that it stays readable, and the only buttons you see are cooldowns and FF for a range check. To me, things like your mounts, professions, hearthstone, form bar etc..are all things that can be hidden until you mouseover them. They are never absolutely necessary to show at any given point, but they are there, easily accessible, when you need them. My main abilities are all keybound and with Faerie Fire acting as a range check for Wrath, Starfire, Moonfire and Insect Swarm, I don't need to show them. Cyclone has since been added to my bars as a range check for Faction Champions for that spell since it has a different range. My heals are all bound, as are spells like Revive, remove curse, abolish poison, etc

My Addons:
Now for those that care, my UI still uses quite a few addons, but I try to stick to addons that are very lightweight. During a state of stasis in game, my UI is only using 7 or so MiB of memory, and only gets to 12 at the worst of times in a raid due to Power Auras (the addon tends to get heavy in terms of resources, but I haven't found anything better that does what it does for me). The major addons I use are as follows:

Unit Frames - oUF with the oUF_Nivaya layout (raid frames and cast bar included in this addon/layout)
Bars - Bartender 4 with Button Facade: Svelte as it's skin
Chat - Low Memory Chat
Whispers - Cellular
Minimap - Chinchilla
Information - SLDataText with SLDT_Honor plug in
Tooltip - loltip
Reputation/XP Bar - XP Bar None
Boss Mod - BigWigs
Combat Text - Mik's Scrolling Battle Text
Cooldowns - OmniCC

Other Mods:
Power Auras - Tracks Eclipse
oUF Debuff Highlight - oUF plug in to show curses, poisons, magic, diseases etc.
oUF Druid Hots - Useful hot tracker for the time when I use to spec resto, never got rid of it.
Winter Time - for LWG tracking
perror - to cut out the red text spam
cael_nameplates - modifies the blizzard nameplates...still learning this addon
AZ Castbar - I use the loot roll plug in and totem plug in for my shaman only for this addon.
Carg_bags with Nivaya layout - bag addon

Seems like a long list I know, but it's a lot less than what I use to use.

Other addon options:
So all my addons that I use might not be the best for you. That's ok, and in fact, I'm glad to hear that. If everyone used the same addons as me, I'd be extremely worried. Options are a good thing as different people have different tastes. I always recommend this website for those searching for alternative addons. It was set up a while ago but is extremely good at showing you addons you might not have heard of, or giving you a new choice for a specific need. Here's the link: http://vranx.com/ but I'll hit some of my personal favorite alternatives to my addons covering the major categories I listed above:

Unit Frames: I used to be hardcore Pitbull user, but I tested out other options and the one I would use if I ever decided to leave oUF is Shadowed Unit Frames. It's a unit frame addon that's extremely simple to set up and out of the box, looks decent.
Bars: Dominos. Covers the same bars Bartender does.
Chat: Chatter. A bit more customizable than LM Chat.
Whispers: WIM, nuff said really.
Minimap: pMinimap, Simple Minimap, and aMinimap
Tooltip: TipTac, TinyTip, TipBuddy
Reputation/XP Bar: Nothing I've come across works like XPBN does for me.
Boss Mod: Deadly Boss Mods
Combat Text: Parrot, SCT are really the only other options besides the default Blizzard text, which works fine if you incorporate it correctly.
Cooldowns: Cool Line, Forte Xorcist, Ghost Pulse3

Vranx's site can give you more, those are just personal favorites of mine. Hopefully you guys now have a better idea of what I'm looking at and what perspective I'm coming from when I critique your UIs and offer suggestions. While everything about a UI is personal as generally you are the only one playing your characters, I feel there are some things that are black and white in terms of being good or bad. Some basic ideas that everyone should follow. Perhaps I've given you an idea as to how my mind operates when it comes to this aspect of WoW.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:53 pm  
KFC
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Good read. I completely agree on your philosophy. However, as much as I would like having acres of screen estate free from clutter, trying to design a UI following this philisophy on a 13.3 inch display is a lot harder.. Any thoughts on how to maximize screen estate value on small displays? Here's my UI, btw.


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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:10 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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Fix your timers in the center to only show MF, IS, FF and Eclipse. The rest is inconsequential information that has no bearing on you. Do something with your raid frames. They are too large even for a healing UI. I'd drop your recount to the top 5 or 7 and filter omen so that it only shows pallys, druids, dks, warriors...the tank classes. Don't need to know what your mage's threat is at since it's not your role to monitor that for him.

I'd possibly get an addon like Satrina's Buff Frame or change your current addon to be just Icons and timers. Maybe adjust your chat box so it's not so big and make the timestamps match the color of the channel.

All that should open up space. For a 13 inch display, I'm impressed with your work though.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:54 pm  
KFC
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:32 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Sweden
pbguild: Memento Mori
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Yeah, I actually just had the timers stripped down to only show those 4 + OOC. Good call on the omen + recount are, will probably open up some space. Concerning the buff frame it actually is SBF :D, but I really like the bar layout over the icon + timer layout. Switching would open some space, though. Hmm.. I think I'm going to give your chat mod a try, it seems a lot more lightweight. Who needs timestamps anyway?


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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:09 pm  
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Orbital Owl Cannon
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I really need to fix my UI. Bleh.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:40 pm  
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Spamkin
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Does anyone have a moonkin set for power auras available for download? I just downloaded it tonight and I can't seem to get it set up right.

Cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:47 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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I can give you my strings when I get home around 3am this morning but I think I remember all of them....

Solar: Ability_Druid_EclipseOrange
Lunar: Ability_Druid_Eclipse

Other things like clearcasting, wrath of elune, elune's wrath you just type in the name of the buff. Debuffs are the same way, just have target debuff instead of buff checked, and if you have multiple moonkins, make sure that cast by me is checked.

I'll double check those. I'm looking around for an alternative to Power Auras for Eclipse tracking.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:30 pm  
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Spamkin
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Thanks Wisp!

I was playing around with it last night to see if I can set it up to replace S&A. I managed to get it to show me when my eclipse was up, and it even disappeared when it went down, but along with all the other comments I've seen about it there is no way to have it differentiate between solar and lunar cycles. I was also having issues getting it to track moonfire. I think the main issue I'm having, is I'm not sure what to call the spells since there didn't seem to be a 'Spell' option in the activations tab.

Any help, comments or suggestions regarding Power Aura's would be greatly appreciated. I saw some youtube videos and have some ideas for using it with my Shaman alt, but am more concerned about making it work for my Druid.

Cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:34 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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You use the name of the buff/debuff so for Moonfire you would simply type "Moonfire" into the spell tab.

You can also use Spell IDs, which you can find on Wowhead as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:42 pm  
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Spamkin
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You can just use the name? So I don't have to say if it is a buff, debuff, aura etc?

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:57 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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No, I'll show you what I mean here. I'll use my hunter's auras since they are better suited to show you what I'm talking about:

This is for Serpent Sting on my hunter. The same concept applies to Moonfire and Insect Swarm:
http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/4844/wowscrnshot120509155621.jpg

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:14 pm  
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I found this video on you tube, it cleared everything up for me. Hope everyone else can find it helpful as well.


Cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:04 am  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/9058/wowscrnshot120809234005.jpg

UI after 3.3. Still some cleaning up to do still but.

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:46 pm  
Orbital Owl Cannon
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Ok, so I've been banging out random heroics trying to gear up as quickly as possible for ICC, but I've put some work in my UIs as well. Here's the latest screenshots I have of My Druid, Shaman and Hunter. I need to work on the Shaman and Hunter, but I'm very very happy with my druid's UI.

Druid in Raid: Fixed the Buffs since this.
Image

Hunter Clean:
Image

Shaman in Party:
Image


I'll try to put up a screenie of my rogue minimialist UI and my new tanking setup once I get those updated with 3.3. Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions you guys have is great :)

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 Post subject: Re: Wisp's UI design philosophy and addon suggestions (long)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:08 pm  
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I soo need a wide-screen monitor, my 21inch is killing me with its square screen.

Very old shot, pre ICC patch (Ignore the meters, i died early, healer fail..) My gfx are low due to my pc badly needing a defrag..
Low gfx :<
BAD SCREENSHOT LOL
That is my worse WOTLK UI ever...

my Current UI dosn't have AG it has blizz default, and I've moved my proc alarm down to just above my castbar, but it no longer shows eclipse so I may just get rid of it! Should take a new screenshot soon but I am oh so lazyowl and on my hunter anyways!

Current Passive UI :pleasedonthurtme

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