Drupalcon notes: Usability in D7

Testing done to answer these questions:

  • What are the main challenges to new Drupal users?
  • Is the language and terminology intuitive?
  • How long does it take to do basic tasks?
  • Do recent design changes work?


  • Confusion in page vs story
  • Inability to find content after creating it
  • Mental model of creating pages not expected
  • Users expected WYSIWYG vs. "input format"
  • Unable to distinguish administrative layer
  • Overwhelming administrative page
  • Menu confusion with parent item

UX goals for D7

  • Make frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable.
  • Design for the 80%
  • Privilege the content creator
  • Make the default settings smart

Who benefits?

  • Content managers - those who manage, like writers and editors
  • Designers and developers - people who spend most of their time building and theming sites

Some of the changes

  • Simplified startup options - start with a common set of pre-configured features, or take the advanced route and start from scratch.
  • Password verification made more clear. Users now have a better experience setting site credentials
  • Info architecture improvements. More concrete categories for a clearer map of the Drupal system. Emphasis on basic CMS tasks (content, structure, people, etc.)
  • Recently added content made easier to find. Users can find recently added content by clicking 'content'
  • Point-and-click edit. Users can now edit content more quickly and configure blocks more quickly.
  • Shortcuts - accelerate by creating shortcuts to most used destinations by role
  • Overlays - clear separation of front- and back-end tasks
  • Sitewide dashboard - users now have a customizable dashboard
  • Clearer content-help text. Rewrote/removed copy, making it more friendly and concise. Make help more helpful.
  • Reorganized forms: redesigned fieldsets and compressed forms by using vertical tabs.
  • Primary actions separated from tabs. Adding content used to be in the same location as browsing lists of existing content.
  • Redesigned appearance - applying a theme is now modernized and easier to understand which theme is active
  • Adding features (modules) workflow improved. Modules now have direct links to permissions and configuration settings. Outdated modules can be updated within this UI.
  • Clearing cache more accessible. Developers and themers can now clear cache without needing to scroll! YES!
  • Upgrade manager: Modules with newly released revisions can now be updated without leaving drupal.

Drupal Gardens

  • WYSIWYG integration is easier.
  • Media can be uploaded, reused, or added from third party vendors like flickr

Drupal 8 wishlist

  • Respect the IA - module developers, please quit carving out your own sections in the admin area and respect the overall architecture
  • More testing and solid metrics: drupal gardens will become a platform for user testing and getting access to user data.
  • Improve Drupal's page model. Users think about pages top-down: add a page, give it a layout, add widgets, add content
  • Block improvements - drag-and-drop PLEASE PLEEZ. Eliminate need to duplicate blocks to place in different regions.
  • Fix the scroll issue. Too often you have to click to enable/disable, scroll way down, submit, repeat
  • Building and styling forms should be easier. Form builder should be more advanced
  • Creating content types and managing fields could be improved

Interaction guidelines

Interaction standards should emerge to answer questions like...

  • best practice use of tabs, wizards, buttons,d rag & drop, forms & form elements, etc
  • Accessibility standards
  • Help standards
  • See http://drupal.org/ui-standards
  • Inconsistent use of tabs
  • Inconsistent terminology
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