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Reader UI of the Week: Excellence's UI


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.

Happy Tuesday, friends. Welcome to another exciting Reader UI of the Week, the WoW.com repository for community user interfaces, tips and tricks. This week, I was fortunate to get a user interface in my inbox that used IceHUD, the unit frames replacement that I had spotlighted a few weeks ago. Many people sent in emails asking to talk a little more about HUD-style unit frames, and hopefully those of you playing the home game can get some decent ideas about how to build around IceHUD for a comprehensive raid interface. Let's motor.

You may fire when ready, Excellence.
Hi there!

My name is Excellence from <Kindred Spirits> on Argent Dawn Europe. The UI I'm sending you is the result of an actively raiding minimalist's efforts to get rid of every bit of non-essential information on the screen.

IceHUD (stripped to the bare minimum) and bartender mark a small area at the middle of the screen that contains all the information a warrior needs to get their fury on (works for tanking as well). I use bartender to track cooldowns, SBF for bloodsurge and debuffs, and PowerAuras to poke me when heroism arrives or Battle Shout has departed.

I use Pitbull for the target portrait and name and the target-of-target frame. I think it blends quite nicely with IceHUD. The only important addon that's a bit far from the center is Omen, but the colour scheme I went with works quite nicely with the dark background of the panel and makes my position in the aggro ladder extremely easy to spot. Omen is joined at the bottom by the SBF buffs frame, which is only needed at the preparation stage before the fight, and by grid because a warrior only really needs it to see if anyone is dead.

My philosophy is that things should only appear on the screen if they're currently useful. That's why everything is key-bound (or on Geist) and there are no bars and menus.

That about covers it. I'd just like to say that I absolutely love the practice of sharing UIs. I've had much inspiration from my guildies' UIs, from this column, and I hope to get even more from your and your readers' feedback :)

Salutations,
Excellence

List of addons:
Bartender
ButtonFacade: Caith
Geist
Grid
IceHUD
kgPanels
Omen
Pitbull 3.0
PowerAuras
Quartz
Recount
SBF
SexyMap
TipTac
DBM

Thanks for the email, Excellence! A few weeks ago, IceHUD was the focus of Addon Spotlight, so I am glad to discuss a user interface that uses the addon so prominently. Also, truth be told, Geist is going to be on Addon Spotlight in the near future, so I wanted to give everyone a heads-up before I do a cool write-up about action bar opacity and clearing your screen. Let's check out Excellence's user interface!

Haunt haunt haunt

Geist is an awesome space-saving and productivity addon that can be used in many awesome ways. Excellence has chosen to use Geist as a complete action bar replacement, which is definitely doable and frees up a great deal of screen space. Combining Geist with key bindings can create a mostly invisible user interface that still pops out action bars on command when needed.

What is Geist? Geist is an addon that creates up to 25 action bars on your cursor with a user-identified button press. I'll definitely go into Geist in greater detail in the future, but for now all you have to know are three things. One, Geist is awesome for cooldown abilities for tanks, popping open the menu of abilities to be used. Second, Geist works with ButtonFacade to skin its interface to match your own. Third, Geist can be a replacement for action bars or an excellent complement. Using addons as complements to each other can provide surprising results, just like Excellence's blending of Bartender, Geist and Power Auras for notifications.

IceHUD in action

HUD-type player/target frame replacements are the kings of centralized target information and can be incredibly useful in slimming down any user interface. As I discussed a few weeks back, they are definitely not for everyone, especially because of the different way target data is handled. I personally have been so used to the traditional target frame setup that moving to a HUD interface never could quite stick. However, using Excellence's user interface as an example, you can see how IceHUD at its bare minimum can be unobtrusive and still provide quick information.

The key to HUDs like IceHUD is wrapping other addons seamlessly around the curved or straight bars that you choose to represent targets, target of targets, etc. For many, the initial placement of HUDs can be jarring. Acclimating to a screen-centralized information dump needs to be carried out in such a way that everything doesn't become too cluttered. Do what Excellence did and use the IceHUD bars as guides and boundaries, minimizing addon conflicts and keeping things relatively clutter-free.

Itty Bitty raid frames

Notice the clean, compact raid frames that Excellence uses near the bottom middle. One of my most frequently suggested tips for DPSers and tanks is to use Grid as a raid monitor. Healers will obviously need to expand their healing addons for better accessibility, but DPS and tanks need a bare minimum of information as essential to their raiding game. Keep your raid frames small, like Excellence's, and you will find yourself with a lot of room to spare.

Wrapping it up

Excellence's user interface is a nice compromise UI that takes elements of floating action bars and HUD-style target frames to remove the necessity for static action bars. It is not a setup that works for everyone, but I believe the general layout can inspire many more user interface aficionados to create their own action bar light setups. Excellence has boiled down the user interface into very concise components. It makes for a light, pleasing and minimalist setup that hopefully will inspire those of you out there sending me in questions about how to properly set up HUD-style unit frames.

Remember, if you are going to submit a user interface to Reader UI of the Week, let's hear about it! Give as much background as you can to share with the group. Sharing is caring! 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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