Updated for Legion in patch 7.0.3
This article covers the foundation of where to place things on your UI, and what sort of addons to look for. Continue on to the macros page when you’re done. If you need a hand setting up addons, try my addon configuration pages.
User Interface Design
The user interface (UI) is one of the most important factors in your healing for all healers. Improving your UI means improving the efficiency with which you can process information. In this article, I’ll explain some core ideas to designing a UI, and I’ll give examples of my own UI as well as my own personal add-on list.
There aren’t any specific rules about UI design, and your own comfort is important too. However, here are some general guidelines I recommend you stick to when you are creating a UI. I’ve seen some pretty top-level healers who buck these guidelines, but I think that’s to their detriment and they could be even better if they took these on board.
Your attention should be in the centre of the screen as much as possible. As much information as possible should be available to you.
I could not have my raid frames off to one side of my screen. It is my highest priority. If you have a really low resolution and have very little screen real estate, move your action bars somewhere else. The reason being, I want to give as much of my attention as possible to grid. If fire spawns beneath me, I don’t want to wait for flashes, or wait until the orange box in the raid frame takes damage, I don’t want to rely on auditory queues – I want to see it while I’m looking at grid. Having grid close to my character allows this, and I’m careful not to let it obscure any part of my character.
By focusing your attention at the middle of the screen, your peripheral vision should the same in just about all directions. When skewed to one side, you’ll often be able to dodge things that come at you from one side, but you’ll be less capable at dodging things from the other.
Currently, i’m using ElvUI, but in the past I’ve used different TukUI variants as well as more custom jobs utilising addons like Bartender4 and Grid.
In Legion, Blizzard made some changes to the max view distance, but in general it’s beneficial to play at max distance. To max it, you can use the following console command (either type it straight into your chat entry or make a macro):
/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4
The periphery (the edges of your screen) should be as bare as possible.
Leaving the edges uncluttered will also help increase your peripheral awareness. It makes it easier to see those raid obstacles, like a fire wave cruising at your face. Or someone else’s. I feel I was at my healing peak during 4.2 (Firelands). My group was pretty good, but occasionally someone would still take a ride on a Hammer wave, and being ready to Cleanse would likely be the difference between 1 tick (live) and 2 ticks (die).
Information is power
In the simplest terms, having all the information leaves very little else to do in order to succeed in WoW. Make sure that your UI tells you things that are worth knowing in the best way. Thinks like trinket procs, raid cooldowns and the like have the possibility of changing your decisions. For example, you might respond to a damage spike differently when Aura Mastery is active versus when it is not. Constantly searching your player buffs section in a corner of your screen for this information is extremely inefficient.
Don’t use unnecessary add-ons
Some add-ons are quite useful to all raiders, while others are limited (only one or two people in a raid need it) while others are totally useless. Other addons may provide too much info, like addons that track raid cooldowns. Maybe a raid leader needs to know the status of a lot of different cooldowns, but more than likely only some will be relevant to you. Take the time to configure down to the bare bones for what you need.
My (recommended) add-ons
- WeakAuras 2
- Deadly Boss Mods
These addons between them have the potential to provide you with information that’s about as complete as you can get. As ElvUI has a lot of components, if you decided not to go with an all-in-one UI replacement, you might need several addons. Recommendations in that situation might be Bartender 4 and Grid.
Grid has several alternatives. The Blizzard raid frames are actually a really good alternative, as are things like Vuhdo and Clique (at least from what I hear). I stick with Grid because I know it, and I like its customizability. It is perfect with my style of mouseover macro healing (which I highly recommend, I think it is the superior method of healing for resto druids, and if you don’t use them you should check out my macro page).
UI Setup (Video)
Weak Auras Setup