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The field UI is really hard to use. Everyone knows it's a problem, but no one is actively working on it (no open issues). Let's revisit!
Discussion around the field UI redesign stopped in 2009, but was happening over here:
UI-oriented summary of D7 Field API
Related issues for Drupal 8:
Scotch: Blocks & Layouts Everywhere Initiative
D8 UX Analysis: Design Assumptions and Principles
D8 UX Analysis – Layouts, IA Spaces and the Principle of Definition-Usage Pairs
Let's also keep in mind that the "display fields" tab may end up being replaced by Scotch / templates / something else - but we'll still need the add fields tab, and it still needs a lot of improvement!
This whole process probably needs a redesign from the ground up. Some frustrating things about the current system that could use to be changed in the new system (if not replaced entirely) are as follows:
- add step numbers to the process of adding a field so users know when they are "done"
- remove page 2 of the multi-step form, since the "questions" asked there are repeated on page 3
- send users to the display fields interface when they are done adding a field (not back to the add field screen)
User interface changes