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Reader UI of the Week: Crazyates' UI Mk.II

Each week, WoW.com brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using and some background information, to readerui@wow.com.

Welcome to Reader UI of the Week. You might remember Crazyate's UI a few weeks back (April 6, 2010, to be exact). Crazyates had a problem -- too much stuff in too little of a space. SpartanUI was a large culprit, and his unit frames in general were unwieldy. Today, we revisit Crazyates' UI in a Reader UI of the Week success story and show you how user interface drab becomes user interface fab! My strength is returning! Read on, heroes!

Followups to Reader UI of the Week columns are very much encouraged. Crazyates, how have things been since we last heard from you?
Hello again!

Here are a few pics of my new UI. Here's what I've done per your article, reader comments, and a few people irl.

  • Ditched SpartanUI, Decursive, Recount, PallyPower, and Omen.
  • I've kept Bartender, FuBar, CowTip, powerauras, buffalo, and a few more small ones.
  • I'm now using Shadowed Unit frames, Grid (with clique), skada, sexymap, kgpanels, SCT, and chatter.
  • I have shrunk down a few addons, giving me more space. (only using 1 FuBar up top, scaling my Action bars and cowtip, etc.)
  • I tried both Xperl and PitBull, but SUF was able to do what i want, which is what you see. (my ToT is nothing more than a 3D profile, no bars)
  • GRID! I must say that I was skeptical of using this at first, but this addon truly is amazing. I have grid and clique set up for taunting/healing, depending on spec, and solves my problem of screen space, especially in a raid.
  • Skada has replaced omen and recount. having 1 addon instead of 2? Sold.
  • I'm using sexymap, chatter, and kgpanels as well on the bottom, and I think it helps separate my UI from my viewing area.
  • I'm also using SCT, with incoming dmg/heals on the far left side, and outgoing dmg/heals on the right.

This is still a work in progress, and I continue to make changes daily, but my list of overhauls is growing shorter! I'm still working on fitting in a focus and TOF unit frames, replacing FuBar with something current, tweaking SCT, and maybe even weaning myself off of that 4th action bar that's partially hidden.

Overall, though, this is miles ahead of where I was. It may not be the most minimal UI (which I know you love), but it works for me, and I'm happy with where it's at. Thank you again!

Crazyates
<Dragon Knights>
The Scryers
Wow! Look what a little bit of work can do to a user interface that was too messy for its own britches. Let's go over some of Crazyate's modifications and see what ideas we can incorporate into our own endeavours.

Design to fit

Crazyates' user interface originally was based around the SpartanUI user interface package, but was definitely too large and cumbersome for his 13-inch Macbook. My recommendation was to ditch the UI compilation altogether and start from scratch using simpler UI elements. Crazyates did just that, designing around the size of his screen opposed to shoehorning in a user interface compilation that, admittedly, works much better on larger screens.

Notice the excellent placement of the player and target frames. These two elements snugly fit above the action bars and give the entire bottom HUD the height that the rest of the addons at the bottom will follow. Creating your own benchmark for this type of user interface is an excellent idea and was implemented very well by Crazyates. Give yourself a height to work with, and stick to it all the way across.

In addition, Crazyates was not afraid to scale down user interface elements that did not necessarily need to be large in order to be useful. Take a look at the bags bar and menu bar. While I still advocate getting rid of these two bars altogether, Crazyates has at least used the space wisely and used these two bars as a space filler. Again, using every piece of screen real estate you allow yourself is crucial and, to me at least, cathartic.

Borders? What borders?

Keeping your minimap simple is a tough thing to do, especially because all of those Sexymap presets look really cool and the minimap is the focus of a good deal of information gathering. Crazyates eschewed the glamorous map for the "Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" motif -- a simple, useful item.

By completely removing the minimap's border and leaving it as a simple square, Crazyates gives the minimap total movability and versatility. The minimap can go practically anywhere! In his case, it sits in a nice central location as a complementary piece to the bottom HUD bar.

One kgPanels window houses a good portion of the user interface on the bottom of the screen. What this allows the player to do is create a common contrast surface around which to tune all of the other addons that sit on the bottom. By having this common denominator, you can do things like make your chat addon clear rather than having to guesstimate your opacity and color settings across multiple addons.

Clean attic

Crazyates' user interface has one bar at the top to dock any dockable modules, as well as a simple buff interface. I am a fan of the single bar approach and especially like keeping the top of the screen as free from clutter as possible. Crazyates did some excellent work keeping things from getting out of control, while at the same time keeping all of the relevant information docked to the bar and up out of the way. His use of Power Auras, however, is a topic for another day.

I cannot commend you enough, Crazyates. You took a prefab user interface, gutted and renovated the proverbial user interface house and came back strong with a well defined, simplistic and clean UI. You get a gold star. I encourage anyone who has asked for interface guidance in the past, as well as people who ask in the future, to follow up so we can all see the wonderful progress made on your UIs. Crazyates' UI is a great example of how you guys, our awesome community, can help each other out in making this whole game experience better for everyone. Thank you!

Let's take a question, shall we?

Hey there Mathew,

Firstly I realise that this might not be the place to email you for this subject, but after reading your latest post on Stympa's UI (which was very informative by the way, learning about new Addons and seeing them in action = double win) I thought I would ask anyway :)
The low down is that I need "help with my UI" as you so put: I really really like the default UI, it keeps the whole warcraft flavour about things. I do however use some addons which are needed such as omen, DBM, Healbot etc.. but it always feels cluttered around my big clunky default UI when I go too far. Are there any UI addons such as the tukui you described in your column that allow you to organise your UI while still keeping a warcraft flavour? Yes I realise "warcraft flavour" is a loose term that could mean anything, but I mean in the sense, the UI would look like it came from world of warcraft not changed so much that it looked like something out of a sci-fi. Carbonite for example which I love, I have to turn off when not questing or mining because it truly and utterly destroys the "warcraft flavour" I've been rabitting on about :)
I hope all that makes at least some sense :D

Aka'magosh,
James
(Infernodeath, EU-Draenor)


Aka'magosh! Thank you for the email, James. There are a few pieces of information I can give that might help you achieve that "Warcraft" look. First, ButtonFacade has a great skin (I think it still might be the default) called "Apathy." The Apathy skin has a nice back texture and reminds me of the original action bar graphics and the gryphons to the left and right side of said bars. Secondly, some action bar mods have the ability to turn back on the graphics on the sides of the actions bars, which is a good go-to, easy art selection to keep Warcraft looking like Warcraft. I'm sure the commenters will have plenty to say about this issue, however, so get requestin'!

Finally, if you love Power Auras, then I have got the contest for you!

Power Auras needs you (to win this contest!)


Power Auras is a big deal for many people. It's one of those addons that fundamentally changed the way I played World of Warcraft. This addon has an amazing following, so let's do something awesome utilizing that fan fervor.

Next week, I want to do a big spotlight on Power Auras. We have done a Power Auras spotlight in the past, but this time around we are going to get not only my insight into my favorite uses for Power Auras but the community's, as well. And here's the best part -- when you submit an entry for our little Power Auras exposé, it's your entry into winning a WoW TCG loot card! The powers that be have given me both a Tiny and Party G.R.E.N.A.D.E. cards, so two random contributors will get a card.

Here's the deal: Submit your favorite uses for Power Auras, including the actual code if you would like (it helps), before Friday, May 7, 2010. Sending in multiples doesn't get you a better chance -- just one entry per person. Let's see if we can pool lots of community resources together and make a really awesome repository of Power Auras for all the people our there who don't know how incredibly awesome this addon is.

Send your Power Auras ideas/submissions/code to mat@wow.com, with Power Auras in the subject. See you all next week!




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, your source for everything addon-related.

Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

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