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Reader UI of the Week: Coe's UI


Each week, we bring 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, to readerui@wow.com.

Hey, guys. What's up? Did you all have a fun weekend? That's nice. I'm glad to hear it. What's that? You waited all weekend and were champing at the bit for more Reader UI of the Week? That is so incredibly kind of you! Well, looks like I'll have to deliver, then. Sadly, I'm going slightly mad since I have about 21 quests remaining for Loremaster of Kalimdor, and it's all hunt-and-peck now. I feel like an old woman learning how to type.

This week, Coe's UI takes center stage. The setup is straightforward and simple, with a blocky flair that I instantly fell in love with. Stark contrasts in color as well as carefully placed addons makes Coe's UI pleasing on the heart, mind and eyes.

Lay it on me, Coe:
Dear Mathew,

I have trouble with most user interfaces because they all seem to want to thrust me out of my comfort zone, and my comfort zone is my favorite place in the world. I admit to being stuck in my ways: I don't like looking around the screen, using keybindings, having free-floating boxes, or hiding parts of my UI when out of combat. I like to keep things simple, and more importantly, color-coordinated.

I made the basic layout with kgpanels and Bartender4, and I used Titanbar with an xPerl skin for all my information and addon buttons. I used Sunn to nudge the viewport up. Despite my mistrust of keybindings, Opie won me over, but I gave myself little macro buttons to click on in an emergency because I tend to forget about them in the heat of battle.

One of my favorite things as a spriest is MFclip, which keeps track of my rotation and ticks. I also have Skada and XLoot in a box, and I moved my few remaining minimap buttons into a neat little row beside the map. You can't see it in the screenshot, but my party panel is anchored in the bottom left corner over the chat. (I did this because I want to move my eyeballs as little as possible.) IceHUD may seem redundant here, but it's small and unobtrusive, and I like being able to glance up and still get most of the information I'd get looking at my XPerl unit frames. I set up TidyPlates to display my debuffs and threat for that reason.

Basically this was designed to prevent confusion. I tend to get freaked out when too much is happening at once on my screen, and my vision isn't very good. This UI helps me focus.

Addon List:
  • ArkInventory
  • Bartender4
  • ButtonFacade (to skin the buttons)
  • Chatter (chat mod)
  • Deadly Boss Mods
  • iceHUD
  • kgpanels
  • MFClip
  • Mik's Scrolling Battle Text (really great mod!)
  • Opie
  • Postal (mail mod)
  • Sexymap (map mod)
  • Skada (DPS/damage report)
  • Sunn Viewport Art
  • TinyCasterStats
  • TidyPlates
  • TipTac (tooltip mod)
  • TitanPanel (with lots of addons)
  • XLoot (loot mod)
  • XPBarNone (to skin XP bar)
  • XPerl Unit Frames
Regards,
Coe (Thorium Brotherhood [US])

P.S. You say "bottom bar mentality" like it's a bad thing! :P

Thanks for the email, Coe! Let me assure you, I do not wish to convey the opinion that the "bottom bar mentality" is a bad thing. Quite the contrary. The bottom bar philosophy of UI design is so ingrained in our minds that it just becomes the default. Again, there is nothing wrong with defaults. My personal user interface is extremely bottom-focused. Last week's endeavor was to showcase something a little off the rails, so to speak.

Preventing confusion

One of Coe's stated goals is preventing confusion -- potentially a lofty goal, to be honest. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into a sticky situation of panic and flailing and not having the user interface elements that you need right in front of you. Tanking Yogg-Saron adds in stage 3 comes to mind ... We had a joke once in which a friend of mine, in great panic, would forget his keybindings while playing Ultima Online. The image in our heads was a distraught and frantic player smashing every button on his keyboard, all buttons bounds to the same action, so that no matter what he hit, he could escape and promptly run out of the room in fear. Don't be that guy.

Coe focused on getting the right information in the right places. IceHUD provides information front and center for player and target data, and an easy-to-read TitanPanel is loaded up with goodies. I assumed that it was out of force of habit, but with IceHUD, the separate unit and player frames feel a bit redundant. But I understand it, as someone who gets set in his ways easily. Coe explained this up above, and frankly, I can't fault the guy. There are so many pieces of my UI that have stood the test of time not based on relevancy or usefulness but because they have always been there to comfort me.

Highway to the comfort zone

That's really what this whole user interface endeavor is about, isn't it? It's about comfort and staying happily in your comfort zone. You get to do whatever you want to, because that's the nature of the beast. Personally, I'm a fan of Coe's comfort zone approach, because you can live in a really tidy comfort zone. My personal happy place gets the vacuum at least twice a day.

One of those comfort zone mainstays for myself and Coe's user interface is, on my tank and DPS setups, keeping the party frames above my chat. I've always have had a much easier time dealing with chat and the party frames at the same time when they are close together, mostly because I also don't like to have to move my eyes.

The way I approach the whole ordeal is have three separate areas that you need to look depending on your issue at the moment. For movement, you look dead center. For party issues and chat, you look to the left and down. For issues dealing with mechanics and abilities, you look straight down. That's how my brain has been wired, and it certainly seems like what Coe is going after -- successfully, I might add.

Ultraviolet

I'm really digging the purple. Not too much in the game is purple, besides a good deal of The Burning Crusade, Crystalsong Forest and the various Coldarra instances. Purple is a nice color to have separating the various UI elements that sit on top of the bottom black backdrop. Contrast is important, and Coe has got it down pat.

Coe doesn't load on the color, either. A simple color setup goes a long way, and keeping the colors simple means less obtrusiveness when it comes to moving your eyes around the screen.

The minimap buttons look great, and I'm glad that there are people out there who take the time and effort into dealing with those little buggers. I absolutely abhor the default rounded area of the minimap, littered with buttons and configuration widgets, begging to be turned off, hidden or thrown into a deep, dark pit filled with lava. And a serpent. A lava serpent ...

Coe, I love it. Keep that bottom bar mentality in your heart and soul, and forever will you be at home and at peace in your comfort zone.



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.

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

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