UI Clinic: Segment14

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The UI Clinic is a series of segments created by Bouvi for The AIE Podcast which help you turn your back on the default UI and create a UI to be proud of.

Welcome AIE

Hello AIE and welcome to this edition of the UI Clinic. I am your host Bouvi.

A few people have asked how I set up a UI so this segment I will talk about how I usually go about it.

Grab that patient chart and lets get started.

Sketch It

I find when designing a new UI I go to the forums, web or wherever I might find UI pics. As I go through them I make note of items I like and if need be track down addons that do the job or very similar. This stage is very important otherwise you could end up with a mess. A little preplanning goes a long way. I might even do a photoshop sketch (I cannot draw but I can use Photoshop) and copy in pieces that I like and arrange it in a pleasing way for my eyes. I take into account usability at this time as well. Will I have enough buttons, will everything be easy to get too, do I have to look all over the screen or have I consolidated the info into a couple of key spots. Once this is done it is time to make our masterpiece.

Step 1 - Barmods

I usually start with a barmod like Bartender 4. I want to start putting it together one piece at a time to help prevent overlapping windows and tons of clutter. I decide now how many buttons I want and where I want them, getting them lined up in a way that not only looks good but increases my functionality. At this time BT4 also lets me work on my XP Bar, Bag Bar and a couple of others. By using my photoshop sketch as a guide I get things moved where I want them.

Step 2 - Unit Frames

Next up I work on the Unit Frames. This includes Player, Target, Target of Target, Focus, Focus Target, Pet, Pet Target, Party and Raid frames. Depending on the character I play this can be one or two addons. For most I use X-Perl but for my healers I use X-Perl for most and use Grid for Party and Raid. Just makes it easier for me as a healer by using grid. I like having all my unit frames mostly at the bottom with the exception of party and raid. This keeps my eye on the action without having to wander all over the screen looking for my health or whatever.

Step 3 - Buff Frames

Buff Frames come up next. I like using a bar buff so I can read what buffs I have without having to remember what each icon means. I can size it up and put it where I have it in my sketch. There are a few out there but I am still in love with Elkbuffbars.

Step 4 - Minimap

Minimap is usually my next stop. Knowing where to put this thing can be tough at times but going from a sketch (you did make a sketch right?) throwing it into your design should be cake. Chinchilla is my new minimap addon and I love it.

Step 5 - Chat Frames

Prat for chat. Whether you have one chatbox or two or multiple you need to design with this in mind. Font size can make or break a chat panel. Find the right mix of size and visibility is key here.

Step 6 - Leftovers

After this I just take and start throwing in the leftovers. Broker Bar, Omen, Recount and Quartz are just a few of the must haves for me. Then of course there are about a hundred others I can't seem to do without.

Once again I cannot state enough how pre-planning is the key to a fantastic UI.

Time's Up

Well that is all the time we have today. You can always contact me in-game by doing a /who Bouv (that gets all my toons if I am on) or e-mail me at bouvi@uiclinic.com. One thing I would like to point out. I love tinkering with UIs and love helping others that do. Never worry about contacting me about your UI. I am glad to help. Until next time plan plan plan and Happy New Year!!!