Help us shape Drupal’s Admin Interface

Antonella Severo
Sep 8, 2018 · 3 min read

Participate in this online exercise to help make Drupal better for content editors

I have been working with different content management systems for many years. As a content editor, I know that spending eight hours a day working within an admin interface that is clunky and non-intuitive substantially affected my productivity, not to mention my mood. When I worked at a development agency, one of my favorite projects was creating a beautiful interface laden with multi-step forms for government administrators that was visually clean and precise, and dramatically improved workflow.

However, tweaking administrative interfaces is not a high priority for most companies with small and large budgets alike. Businesses prefer to use their marketing budget on functionality that can deliver more return on investment and prove value.

I first started to use Drupal at the tail end of Drupal 6. When Drupal 7 was launched, I noticed a marked improvement in the interface. However, several years later, the experience now looks and feels dated. Lately, I feel apologetic to clients who are expecting more modern-looking themes consistent with the latest advances in digital technology. Admittedly, the interface is more targeted to developers and sitebuilders rather than content editors. Given that Drupal is open source and relies on volunteer efforts, it’s understandable that new themes are difficult to rapidly roll out.

So when I learned about the redesign planned for the Drupal interface to focus on content editors, I was excited to join in the community initiative to make it more intuitive. I am working with Drupal front-end designers Cristina Chumillas and Dennis Cohn, UI/UX designer Archita Arora, web strategists Sarah Lowe and Michelle Jackson, co-founder and front-end lead at Evolving Web Suzanne Dergacheva, design consultant Roy Scholten, UX designer Jessica Becker, folks from the Drupal Association and other volunteers to conduct research on popular content management systems and web platforms in order to learn how best to modernize Drupal.

We recently conducted surveys at DrupalCamps and through online channels to better understand the common tasks performed on Drupal as well as identify frustrating pain points. This way we can target our redesign efforts to make Drupal work better for content editors. You can read about the survey results in Suzanne’s post.

How can you help?

The survey was the first step in understanding how content editors use the system. After reviewing the common tasks reported, we now need to understand how best to label and group them.

This is where you come in. We are looking for content editors to participate in a card sorting exercise. Its goal is to find the best way to organize the main tasks a content editor performs. It’s an online exercise that will take you between 5–10 minutes where you’ll need to group common tasks.

In addition to helping shape the future major releases of Drupal, by participating, you will be entered in a drawing. The winner will have a choice between a free ticket to DrupalCon Seattle courtesy of Drupal Association OR a free training courtesy of Evolving Web.

Also, if you know any content editor that might be interested in helping us please forward them this link.

What happens next?

After the card sorting results are in, we’ll conduct several rounds of wireframe tests to address the biggest pain points, and ask participants to validate our assumptions through usability tests. We also will perform comparative studies on other platforms to learn about good and bad practices to better inform the Drupal design direction.

More ways to help

Are you a developer or designer for Drupal, and interested in the efforts to improve Drupal? Then get involved!

There are many ways to help us shape the future of Drupal. Check out the Admin UI and JavaScript Modernization initiative on Drupal.org. Then reach out to us on the #admin-ui channel on Slack and join in the conversation.

Antonella Severo

Written by

Digital project manager, agile enthusiast, knowmad