Sunday

Types of UI's - Educational Rant





Hello everyone. Today i'm going to touch on a subject that has been eating at me for a while now:

I want people to really understand the different styles of UI's out there. Allow me to explain:

How many times have you heard the term "Minimalist UI" thrown around? And how they tend to range from things like this to things like this? Now I'm not saying one is better than the other. There are, believe it or not, other styles than minimalism that people use every day, and that are esthetically pleasing and efficient - they just either don't get any attention, or turn people away because they've been placed under the wrong category. So, I'm going to briefly cover certain UI styles out there.

Disclaimer: these aren't official names of styles, these are simply ways in which these various UIs can be described.

Minimalist: This derives from an art style developed in the 50's - the aim was to use basic shapes in their most primitive form to convey a message. This is a good example of that: a UI that displays the bare minimum amount of information necessary to comprehend what your character is doing. This style is very appealing to the eye, however it may not always present all the information you're looking for while raiding/PvPing at a high level.

Graphic: These UI's tend to incorporate a stylistic, overall theme - usually infused with an artistic flare of some sort. Think Supervillain UI or even all the Warlords UIs that we've seen so much of recently. These can definitely include all the information necessary for high-level play, but can be a bit overwhelming for some players. They usually appeal to a niche crowd of players (depending, of course, on how far-out the art style is).

Functional: These are UIs that cater directly to high-level (hardcore) players. Think Gliff's UI or Slootbag's. While highly informative and efficient, they are usually designed by a player, specifically for their personal use, and may turn other players away. Often times they are designed with a certain class/role in mind and thus are built around particular mechanics/functions - again, further limiting the scope of players who may be interested. The apex of purpose before all else.

Clean/Simple : These are essentially a healthy mix between minimalist and functional. They put a large emphasis on esthetic while adding a bit more information clutter. Their layouts are often generic such that they appeal to more players and can be used by multiple classes/roles. We've all seen layouts like this or this. You'll find that a lot of these UIs are created using preset UI Packs (ElvUI, I'm looking at you) - simply because those packs are designed with practicality in mind, and get similar results to Functional UI's without the additional effort.

Meanwhile, I have guests for Turkey Day that are getting anxious. I'll return and make edits if necessary later on :P

EDIT1: Honorable mention to all the Clusterfuck UI's out there. Self explanatory.

EDIT 2: Maybe we could include these types as additional tags for this subreddit? If the [UI] or [PRESET] tag is used, a secondary tag could help users understand what they'll be looking at. Or maybe it's just my inflated ego and sense of entitlement, what do I know?
 

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