The Drupal core developers have a long history of making user experience improvements. The developers have made it easier to install, to update, to internationalize, to customize, to theme, to find help, to recover from errors, and to interact. A few years ago, the Drupal project lead, Dries, wrote about The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems which stated

Given two functionally equivalent content management systems, the simplest one should be selected.

In order to make Drupal 7 the simplest CMS to use, Mark Boulton and I have developed a user experience strategy as part of an effort previously announced by Dries. You don't have to be an expert core developer or user experience designer to help us make Drupal simpler to use. Even the simple act of reading this strategy or mentioning to someone that we are working on making Drupal easier to use can make a difference. With that in mind we have drafted strategy statements and goals which we hope to use as ’stars to sail our ship by’ on this project.

Drupal7 Experience Strategy & Goals

The design objective:

To make Drupal a tool that is powerful and flexible for content creation and management even for people who don’t write code or speak Drupal-speak without compromising the ability for developers to do their work. Drupal will allow anyone to create complex websites without developer knowledge.

Experience Strategy:

  • Make the most frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable.
  • Design for the 80% of current and potential Drupal admin users - 80% of users will only use 20% of the functionality. (Hat tip to Pareto and his Principle)
  • Privilege the Content Creator.
  • Allow for customisation but don’t make the end user do all the work, make informed and thoughtful decisions about the good default settings.

Our Goals:

  • non-coding, non-Drupal experienced users should be able to add/edit and otherwise manage content without confusion, errors or extensive training.
  • people should be able set up a site and publish content without having to go into a ‘configuration/setting/options’ type section.
  • the interface should not get in the way of the developers doing developing (and configuring and other administering) work.

We Need YOU! (how to get involved)

This project will live or die depending on your involvement, and we need your involvement NOW!


Installing Part 2

What you need to do NOW:


  • We’re going to be releasing some concept sketches VERY SOON - watch out for those, take a look, let us know what you think

We plan to make the Drupal 7 User Experience something VERY special. The BIGGEST RISK to this project is community rejection, or community involvement TOO LATE. Thanks to our friends at Acquia who are making this project happen.


minesota’s picture

Just some quick thoughts ... ( though some detailed observations were made in the recent usabilty discussions elsewhere )

- keeping a watch on not making things complex in the name of making them simple
- discussing things on a wordpress site is bit uncomfortable when I want to "make noise" to others about drupal, even if they mean to shift soon
- intelligent and intuitive ajax new post and comment, intelligent "draft saved" ( see yahoo/google), and easy image and media additions in comments ( assuming they are already there for nodes) ... web is progressing fast as also broadband ... so these are becoming user expectations
- end users, typically those who are visitor-members to a site do not know how to put off rss, how to go invisible/hide their online presence or how to do a true block to a pester
- calendar based archiving of one's own blog content / possibility to have more than one blog per user as easily as wp mu

- allot tasks to those who have experience in dealing such things in such cms-es like drupal
- and finally making all the discussions ( in what ever form, forum post / issue ) in one place rather than scattered over many links

KentBye’s picture

For all those wondering about the d7ux site being run as a Wordpress blog, Mark & Leisa have explained their reasoning in quite detail here:

For now, the fact that we are NOT entrenched Drupal users is actually a great advantage to us, rather than a disadvantage. It gives us perspective, distance from the project that allows us to see things differently, to challenge accepted ideas and approaches, to re-hash conversations that have been had a thousand times already and have them a little differently. It helps us not see that things might be impossible (and, at this stage of the project, that’s a good thing).

xmacinfo’s picture

Both Leisa and Mark are doing a great job and they spend a lot of time with the Drupal community. But if they approach Drupal from a distance, their perspective might be too slanted.

I dearly hope that they try to install and use Drupal at least once.

If they stay far from using Drupal, they will always lag behind what Drupal has to offer.

In overall, Both Mark and Leisa are doing a very good job. But I am always under they impression that they are around the corner, unable to catch up with what Drupal ought to be.

mfer’s picture

Once you get ingrained with a lot of drupal you can't see past your own drupal nose. We can't unlearn drupal to see it in the light new admins we build a site for can.

Mark and Leisa don't have this stumbling block the rest of us do.

If you follow them you'll see they have provided videos of their efforts to install and setup drupal. You can see what made sense to them, where they weren't sure, and what they went through. These same types of videos have been captured in the usability testing as well. They are making a real effort to work with the designers, developers, and the community.

Please take a look before you react or respond. There is some good stuff going on here.

Trunkhorn’s picture

In this very thread, he has also admitted to playing devil's advocate in those videos. You're not getting any more pure a sample of an experience than you'd get from any "usability desgner" making a buck by convincing you that something is broken which might not be, especially to the extent that they are showing it. It could be considered propoganda in a way through the bizarrely trusting interpretation you're giving them.

mfer’s picture

Mark and Leisa didn't have to convince anyone of drupals usability issues. Dries was surprised at the state of usability in drupal at a format usability testing lab some time ago. See

There has been a bit of work and study about drupals usability issues for some time. This includes testing in formal usability labs. We see the problems but, that is quite a bit different from having the solutions. This is where Mark and Leisa are here to help. They can offer a perspective and ideas that we can't for many reasons.

Before you jump to conclusions on the process, what they are offering, what they are doing, and how we got here please take a look into it.

If you think we would be better off doing this without them than you your in the minority. I've had the pleasure to talk to drupal designers and front end folks. They are excited more than most about the opportunity to have Marc and Leisa around.

Trunkhorn’s picture

I'm entirely aware of the background on this. The rest of your comment is far too generalized in my view.

alliax’s picture

I'm happy with drupal the way it is, so I'm in the minority too? I'm sure the minority outnumbers the majority in this case !

Rainy Day’s picture

Watched the videos; been to the website.

I’ve seen chic, slick-talking con artists before (“experts” or “consultants” of various flavors). They can fool a lot of people into thinking they have something useful to say when, in fact, they are just blowing out a lot of hot air. Often they engender a cult-like following (witness some of the defensive comments herein). Unfortunately their disciples usually end up with nothing of value in the end. Will be downgrading my expectations for D7. :-(

Sophia’s picture

Have you yourself anything more useful to add than that? You have given "us", "them" whomever, a nice cold shower. Now that you have sawed off the branch we were sitting on and we are down on the floor, smarting, what, according to you, IS the answer then? Why would you be downgrading your expectations of D7? Don't you have faith in YOURSELF to help make Drupal a better product?

Remarks like the above and a few others in this thread, are nothing but fear mongering, riot sturring and frankly trollish behaviour that has NOTHING to add but negativity. If you are that unhappy, either give the PROPER course of action, or give solid reasons why the project is doomed to failure before it has even taken off.

I have asked "the critics" in this thread (I am not active elsewhere... yet) a few times WHAT is their problem with it all. NONE of them has been able to give ONE SOLID reason why it is such a bad idea. Until they do, and believe me, I am ready to be convinced since I don't as yet have an opinion either way, I shall view these posts as a portrayal of an individual's personal fears of infringement on their comfort zone, nothing else.

grandmaa’s picture

Grandmaa says she read it all and find reasons on both sides, Sophia, my child !
Whose is correct time will tell. They "end up with nothing of value in the end" is one solid reason.
Whether another child accepts that or not is different thing, but that is a reason.
If a community is strong, does troll or fear really matters to it. Eh?

Grandmaa however wonders, If code can come from community without hiring anyone why not UX, SUX, anything?
If outsourcing is used or worldclass coders are hired for the core, Grandmaa says, Drupal can even be much better. What do you say my child ?

Sophia’s picture

And a Blessed Sunday to you too, Grand Mother :D I have no issue with you or what you have to say, Grandma with an extra a, and who am I to judge the tone with which you chose to address me? What you said sounds like the voice of reason and I'd always listen to that. What is more, I cannot but agree with you 100%.

David_Rothstein’s picture

Grandmaa however wonders, If code can come from community without hiring anyone why not UX, SUX, anything?

But many, many people already are being paid by their employers to spend time writing code for Drupal. I would guess that the number of people who fit into this category is well into the hundreds, if not more.

There are far fewer people who are being paid by companies to do UX design for Drupal (although there are some). So adding a couple more to the mix (i.e., Mark and Leisa) will hopefully have a big impact.

matt.lutze’s picture

There is a persistent image of Drupal, outside of the Drupal community, as the Programmer's Preference, while Wordpress is given the image of the User's Preference. Those who know "what Drupal ought to be" are not always the ones who can most accurately determine where Drupal ought to go.

An anthropologist cannot reasonably study his or her own culture, as aspects of that culture are transparent parts of the scientist.

The Drupal community knows what it wants from Drupal, but there is a much larger community, one that's been around for three years(?) less than Drupal, that like easy, likes simple, likes not having to spend 20 hours in configuration to get their blog working. Many of us chose Drupal for the insanely awesome amounts of config opportunity available, but that can be exactly what scares non-power users away.

Approaching the system from completely outside means the two are able to bring the list of requirements from the people who don't use Drupal. And that list is arguably more important than the list from people who do, because any progress is good progress for Drupal users, but progress that meets the migration prerequisites for non-users is crucial to increase Drupal's impact in the CMS arena.

AdrianB’s picture

I think that comment about them using WordPress represents the worst kind Drupal mindset ("It has to be Drupal"). First, they have already explained their reasons (as KentBye already linked). Second, to be able to understand and point out the bigger issues it's a good thing to be able to think outside the box, to admit that Drupal - in it's current shape - isn't the best tool for every purpose. Third, does it really matters?

minesota’s picture

Neither the explanation nor a "good" Drupal mindset explains why this stuff cannot be on a drupal site with the issue-list style of handling tasks we have in drupal. ( I edited the comment to add this when I posted but the edit did not show up)

For personal blog they can use anything they want and it may be good to have distance to understand a project but it is actually better to look it from inside and from a long experience so that "nuts and bolts" are better dealt with. When we are supposed to "TELL PEOPLE" about drupal it makes sense to use Drupal for the purpose. Questions that folks/friends asked me why not then using Joomla/Xyz and Joomla/Xyz guys?

The "Usability of Drupal is broken" statement is A COMPLETE MISNOMER AND FALSE statement, which was there in the first video when I first saw it. The real life usage ( and not insignificant lab tests ) does not show that - the usability factor, based on numerous forum feedbacks, issues, patches (the real usability guides over the years), has vastly improved over the years into easier user experience and this type of mindset is actually the worst and wrong thing to start some project with. This has the risk of trying to fix something which is not broke :)

What we are wanting to look at is perhaps not fixing something which is broken but incorporating out-of-the-box some popular and useful add-ons like abilty to add image, wysiwyg editors, better privacy controls, auto-drafts, multiple blogs of a single user etc etc which means the default installation of drupal should have these installed and enabled with common user permissions already set.

rickvug’s picture

Drupal's user experience IS broken. You are correct that Drupal has come a long way, but in no way has it arrived. Having distance from the project is healthy. The screencasts by Mark and Leisa highlight common problems that new Drupal users have time and again. None of the problems they encountered are new to me. I needed to be reminded about the reality of where Drupal is at "out of the box". I look forward to participating in this project as it progresses.

Rick Vugteveen | @rickvug on Twitter

webchick’s picture

I'm the biggest Drupal fan you'll ever meet, but we do have A LOT of work to do.

Both at formal usability studies and also in teaching Lullabot workshops, I've watched people of all experience levels from "What's a website?" to "I've been programming computers since the age of punch cards" bash their heads in trying to complete very basic administration tasks.

Every Drupal developer needs to take 20 minutes to watch these three videos:

It's an abbreviated version of the kinds of struggles that people are going through every single day trying to use Drupal for the first time.

Seriously. Try it. Go ask a friend/neighbour/spouse/child/co-worker to install Drupal and build a basic site with it. Resist the urge to help them; let them figure it out on their own. Observe what they do, things that they say, how off-track they get. It's an eye-opening (and sometimes jaw-dropping) experience. Also! Take lots of notes and turn them into actionable issues. :D

Now. We've definitely made lots of improvements (drag and drop in Drupal 6 was a huge win, and I think the minimal vs. typical installation profiles in Drupal 7 will be a big boon as well), but there continues to be a fundamental disconnect between the way Drupal does things and what humans expect, and we need to address it.

I therefore hope that Mark and Leisa keep their "outsider" hats on as long as they possibly can; I'm fairly confident that we have enough "insider" people to help make sure our perspectives are taken into account. ;) Although that requires everyone to be following their work closely and, moreover, participating.

Let's make Drupal 7 rock! :)

minesota’s picture

Thanks for the videos.
The comparison can happen not with people of "" 'What's a website?' to 'I've been programming computers since the age of punch cards' "" fame but with people who try to install joomla, geeklog, xyz.

Test or shoot those "what's a website" people again ... how they do with Drupal for the first time and how they do with Joomla/WP for the first time - the comparison can be logical then.

I dont have videos but I failed miserably with joomla and to some extent with wp ... not just me but talking with huge MANY friends over the web for the last 5-6 years or more I find that they have found Drupal is/has been the easiest to install, use and expand. In fact thats how I came to know of Drupal.

This does not mean I oppose any improvement in usabilty if it is done in the right hands in the right way and really shows "improved" videos in the end or the right end result.

Balefire’s picture

I have only been using Drupal since 6.4 (installed 5.x due to module availability) so I do not have much authority, but wanted to put in my 1p.

After watching the videos, I'm confused as to what purpose they are for. All I saw were two people who are used to one piece of software using something different. I tried the opposite and had the same difficulties when I tried Wordpress for the first time after watching the videos. Took me 5 minutes to work out that I had to enter the Admin section (and figure out how to get to it) just to add a post. This to me is counter-intuitive - I'm not wanting to administer the site, I am simply trying to add a post. Or should that be a page? Doesn't tell me what the difference is.

Why is everyone jumping up and down on the fact that Drupal doesn't separate adding a post into an Admin section? Constantly changing from one theme/layout to another is not, in my mind, a Good Thing™ and why would you want anyone without Admin rights in there in the first place?

It's an abbreviated version of the kinds of struggles that people are going through every single day trying to use Drupal for the first time.

I have the same struggle every time I need to use a new piece of software. Nothing ever seems to work the way expected, and what was easy in one package (after learning how it works) is an exercise in frustration in another. I see the same confusion when people try Linux, MacOSX or Windows for the first time. It's a different piece of software which inherently works in a different way than what they are used to and takes time to learn. Familiarity does not mean usable - just because something is popular, doesn't make it easy to use. Facebook is an example - that horrid mess is an appalling piece of usability but remains popular because their users have got used to it.

One question I have for the two in the video though - granted the fact that the "promote to front page" is buried in the Publish section when adding a post (page, story, etc) could be a usability issue and probably should be more prominent, but why did they try to add it to a menu? Do they not know what a menu is?

Anyway, I always thought that Drupal strength was in it's ability to be modified and enhanced by it's userbase of to work the way in which suited the task at hand (if drupal was suitable for it). The same userbase which has taken time to learn how things work.

Blog software usually excel at what they do and can be easy to use, simply because they do one thing and one thing only - allow you to blog. Move out of that comfort zone and you are in exactly the same world of hurt as you struggle to make them do other tasks. If they can. Drupal on the other hand is more of a Swiss army knife - capable of running a blog, or a news site, or a media distribution interface, or a shopping cart, etc. Such flexibility is not something that can be reduced to 'click this button' interface without losing that very flexibility required.

The install Profiles idea added in D6 was a master stroke which is widely ignored but could be enhanced. Want a blog? Select this profile. Want a Shopping cart? Select this one instead. Want both? Select both! The install process would then download and activate the relevant modules. It would require write access to sites/all/modules during install, but if the user is installing Drupal they should know how to configure that.

Sorry if this rambles a bit but I sometimes find it hard to put into words what I feel.

VM’s picture

After watching the videos, I'm confused as to what purpose they are for.

The purpose that they hold is to help convey the confusion people sometimes feel when stepping into the light that is drupal.

All I saw were two people who are used to one piece of software using something different.

Correct. However, think of newcomers with little to no prior experience with a piece of software.

Balefire’s picture

Correct. However, think of newcomers with little to no prior experience with a piece of software.

Honestly, I am. Generally, I have found that people coming from a position of not using a similar item, be it a camera, pvr, or type of software have a far easier time. They don't have the baggage of "Well, my old <insert item> did it this way, why doesn't this?" and have to re-learn. It's all new and fresh to them.

But I feel that I'm getting the wrong idea about this exercise and maybe what Drupal itself is for. For me, Drupal is less an end-user product and more a basis for developing web-based solutions.

minesota’s picture

...So to have the true "picture" ( err... video )
we need to film 'really' new people again ... how they do with Drupal for the first time and how they do with Joomla/WP/xyz for the first time - the comparison can be meaningful then. ( eg. unless you have a scale you cannot measure inches )

In the end (after this usabilty exercise is over) we also need to film another fresh set of 'new' folks trying the new UI, without any 'fabrication' to see where we will stand :)

The purpose that they hold is to help convey the confusion people sometimes feel when stepping into the light that is drupal.

A data-mined report of this forum and issue-lists can help to better convey and categorize/pinpoint the confusion. No harm in videos though if that satisfies the team and other people.

VM’s picture

I think I disagree. Drupal doesn't have to care what the usability of other scripts are in an effort to better it's own usability. What you offer above would only show which one was "more" user friendly as compared to the others which I don't think is the point of the excercise.

I also would tend to believe that data mined through issues and forums here on would be slanted data. I can't tell you how many forum topics and issues I've answered where the questioner didn't take the time to read the directions under the field in question.

Usability tests are becoming very common. This isn't drupal 1st one nor will it be drupal's last.

I dig the idea that there are so many eyes on drupal now that these types of projects spring up in an effort to better the script we've all come to contribute to and work with.

minesota’s picture

I disagree, unless you compare you cannot create. CMSes were there before Drupal, someone compared, found insufficiencies, and created D.

The whole usabilty issue arose because Dries or others found or he/they thought other scripts were more usable and drupal is less usable ( see the opening post also "the simplest one should be selected" etc etc )

To pursue the same logic as yours then we need not film Drupal 5 or Drupal 6 - we should not compare but start afresh with D7

Proper data mining when done by proper firms ( see how google results differ from drupal search ) takes care very well of that slant, and its no excuse not to do data-mining, and ...

where the questioner didn't take the time to read the directions under the field in question.

so are the real (and not fabricated) users who are/was/will be filmed will be done so after we are sure that they have "taken time to read" directions ?? If that was the case .ie.everybody read properly the instructions in docs/others there would be no problem :)

all come to contribute to and work with

Thats right ... for that we need a logical start but I got no useful reply or support so far ....

matt.lutze’s picture

A problem occurs conceptually when we utilize persons intimately familiar with a system as the source for overhaul direction.

We use Drupal as the platform for a collaboration system for a client, and I recently had the chance to spend a few hours discussing some updates we're working on with purely front-end users on our client's side.

In the back-end of the system most days of the week, we on the development side understand how the site works in-and-out. Every little bit.

But when I talked with the people who would be using it -- writing blog posts, scheduling events, sharing photos -- a few of the questions were completely outside of what I was expecting. It's anecdotal, yes.

There's a little bit of human theory that suggests we're unique because when we use tools, our tools progressively become transparent, and become as part of us. The hammer becomes part of the arm, our blog becomes part of our memory, etc.

Working in Drupal, and working in any system, parts of it become transparent. As with the hammer, we learn how to use Drupal better, to become more efficient, to not see Drupal as much as we see what it lets us do. The problem is that part of becoming more efficient means we learn how to skip around parts of the system that are inefficient or "broken."

However, what is transparent to the tool's user may be opaque for an outside observer. That's why Olympic athletes have coaches or why industry-leading manufacturers hire firms like Ideo to solve a problem. They're really good at what they do, and know something's not right, but can't tell what's wrong.

What those forums and issue lists have indelibly helped with is the fact that, on the user experience front, there's an issue. In this case, we know there's something we don't know, we just don't know what it is. In this case Drupal has become too transparent.

Our established systems are a great resource for what the community does really well -- the back end, functionality and extensibility. But there's been some fundamental hang-ups with the UX for at least two or three version releases (I've only been around Drupal since 4.7) that have been glossed because, while we can tell something's not right, the community couldn't tell what's wrong.

Just MHO, of course.

ergophobe’s picture

I tweaked and tweaked a Drupal site to make it relatively friendly to add a new, but somewhat complex page. Then I showed it my wife to see if I could open it up and let others start adding content. She just threw her hands up in frustration.

You might think she just doesn't know what she's doing, except that she is a web admin for her job, runs her own Wordpress blog, uses Facebook, Twitter and more. When I realized that even she couldn't make heads nor tails of the Drupal admin area, that what had become so familiar to me, was indeed broken. I just couldn't see it anymore.

I'm *glad* the people looking into this are on Drupal. I'd be happier if Leisa's personal site was on Joomla and Mark's on DotNetNuke and their company site on ModX.

When someone told Woody Guthrie, in alarm, that someone had stolen one of his songs, he said "Oh he ain't nothin'. He just steals from me. I steal from everybody."

Steal from everybody and make Drupal 7 (or 8 if it takes that long), not just the most powerful framework, but the most usable!

Yosemite Explorer - hiking and climbing in Yosemite (drupal)

Neil Adair’s picture

I'm not at all sure it is useful to target first time users' installation problems. They don't seem to have even "used" a Drupal site before trying to install one?

The second video points up the fact that the user pictures option "doesn't work". I think basic image capability in core is essential.
Contrib modules should only be needed for advanced uses.

I also think pointing users to Views, CCK, Date, Calendar, Image Cache, Image field etc. etc. to build a simple event calendar or image gallery is destined to drive away many potential users.

I haven't found many contrib modules that come close to the stability of core.

ergophobe’s picture

It may just be that people will need to get in the habit of looking for an install profiel of drupal that suits the
- blog
- image gallery
- forum
- image gallery + forum

and so on.

Yosemite Explorer - hiking and climbing in Yosemite (drupal)

Trunkhorn’s picture

it is commercially successful?

I think that's nonsense. I guess wordpress developers will start using drupal to get perspective on their own software... not likely!

JohnForsythe’s picture

It does seem a bit odd that the people who did the entire redesign are apparently only now trying Drupal for the first time. For someone to successfully redesign the user experience of a product, I think they would need to be at least remotely familiar with how it works. This seems a bit like asking someone to redesign the cockpit of a fighter jet, when they've never flown a plane before.

If you want to see a good example of people who know Drupal, inside and out, doing an excellent job of improving the user experience, just take a look at OnSugar.

Nick Lewis’s picture

Humbug. And I highly doubt they are trying drupal for the very first time.

Personally I find it odd that so many people keep hiring me to answer basic questions like why use a book vs a menu vs a taxonomy. We have conceptual problems that make sense technically, but are a rat infested tangled mess of rotting twine to most newcomers. Its as though we've created nails, screw drivers, and hammers, but distorted them in such a clever way as no one can readily see what you are supposed to with them, much less how to build a beautiful house out of them.

Enough is enough: this may be our last chance to burn the old down and make a drupal that is *really* insanely great.

With that said, Mark, and Leisa:
the drupal community prefers to call "dirty" urls "unclean" as we feel "dirty" changes the meaning where as "unclean" is more accurate based on the on and off data model. Thx.

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

JohnForsythe’s picture

Did you watch the video?

They clearly have never used Drupal before. It shows them making their first attempt at posting content, but they can't figure out the menu system, or how to promote content to the front page. Basic Drupal day 1 experience.

The video is dated March 30th, for what it's worth.

markboulton’s picture

For the record, I have used Drupal on and off for the past 4 years. Granted, more off than on.

But, John, ask yourself. If 'Basic Drupal day 1 experience' is spent trying to work out absolute fundamentals that should be incredibly intuitive, then what damage is that causing? It's clear from our experience, and yours it seems, that the UX is clearly broken.

Trunkhorn’s picture

Which is basically saying that you want to dumb down the technical flexibility of Drupal to make a wordpress out of it.

I have news for everyone here, wordpress already exists, and joomla fills in the gaps for people who need a dumbed down CMS.

mfer’s picture

An intuitive interface is not a dumbed down one. Think of how we do number pads. On keyboards, phones, and TV remove controls the numbers are all laid out in the same pattern. If someone came out with a new remove the had the numbers all scrambled it wouldn't be intuitive.

Or, take a look a the keyboard. We, pretty much, all use a qwerty keyboard (in english anyway). You don't hear many people using Dvorak keyboards. For us a qwerty keyboard is intuitive and we can quickly use it. If you had to learn to use a Dvorak keyboard to pickup a new computer odds are you wouldn't because of this.

This isn't a matter of dumbing things down. It's a matter of making if intuitive for people whether they are the content creators we build sites for, the people who have to admin them, the hundreds of genius people we want to woo into using drupal, or people like me who would love one less click to do something really common.

It's about UX and not dumbing it down. Simplicity can work with complex things and work well.

Trunkhorn’s picture

That's nothing but Apple marketspeak, one button mouse type of nonsense.

There is plenty of research on what "isn't intuitive", but I rarely see much discussion of what is "intuitive", or what makes it "intuitive" except that it has been decreed by a dictator like Jobs.

mfer’s picture

Well, there is actually a bit of discussion on what does work. There are usability experts, just like there are designers and software engineers. And, there are books. Check out Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability.

Just because you have not been involved in the discussions or education doesn't mean that others haven't. This might be a good time to take a step back and learn about this stuff.

Trunkhorn’s picture

I remember flipping through that book, and as I remember it was in regards to creating sites... not in creating "web frameworks" (if that is what Drupal is considered this week) or admin interfaces. If you know where there's been discussion on admin interfaces, I'd be interested in knowing.

mfer’s picture

You've touched on an important and tough question.

To quote eaton, "Drupal inhabits the uncomfortable middle ground between Rails/Django/Cake and WordPress/Gallery/MovableType. Something needs to give soon."

So, what is drupal? This whole issue is part of the problem for people when it comes to UX. When we answer this question differently it can lead us down a different out of the box UX road.’s picture

- Think of how we do number pads. On keyboards, phones, and TV remove controls the numbers are all laid out in the same pattern. -

Actually that is not true, phones have "1" at the top left and "0" centered at the bottom, key pads "1" is at the bottom left and "0" directly under it.

I've pointed this out to other people before and they were surprised to realize that its true. People can adapt to differences to the point where they don't even notice them.

What I find really annoying is when calendars put Monday as the first day of the week, but I guess this is normal for some people.

gdemet’s picture

I guess wordpress developers will start using drupal to get perspective on their own software... not likely!

I wouldn't be so sure about that - Matt Mullenweg's been an active member of the Drupal community far longer than most of us, and has cited Drupal (along with Movable Type and TextPattern) as a major inspiration for WordPress.

Nick Lewis’s picture

I'll let the non-sequitur go.

It pains me how often I have to direct people to basic places like 1) category management, 2) block configuration, 3) primary menu links. Actually, usually when I say "oh you can control that through the blocks" they look at me like a dog who's just been show a card trick.

I spend 6 hours day building and planning drupal sites, the other 3 hours consulting and training. Every day for 3 hours I think to myself

"the Usability of Drupal is completely convoluted, ass backwards, twisted, sadistic, cruel, capricious, bizarre, arcane, embarrassing, makes one gassy and irritated." I also think to myself "why does such great technology cause so much pain for users who want to learn it".

So perhaps your right -- that maybe technically -- its not broken. But fact remains it seems broken to most human beings who start using it.

In any case, I feel like I have nothing to gain from the view point of "Everything is really okay we'll just make new modules perspective". As for usability work -- Drupal's underlying weirdness hasn't changed since I first built a drupal site in 2004. Guess what -- input formats where the very first thing to screw me up -- just like in 2009!

Right now is a good time for Drupal to make a few grand sweeping gestures. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, i suppose.

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

Trunkhorn’s picture

This isn't a matter of usability! it's a matter of absolutely atrocious documentation, and a site with the poorest organization and tag soup prolieration possible.

I truly do not believe that usability is the ultimate problem, when it is nearly impossible to find an answer because of the horrible organization of information here.

Trunkhorn’s picture

And I forgot to mention the underlying notion that search is preferable to actual site organization. I honestly fear what the combination of the people behind the information structure of and "usability experts" will bring those of us who are invested in this platform.

The only thing they could possibly do is make it even harder to use. It's like a government that thinks it will get itself out of debt with more deficit spending. the problem is you've spent too much already.

mfer’s picture

How many people set their homepage to google or yahoo? How many people search for things rather than go directly to urls? According to Google, at least, a lot of people. We can 'classify' them all we want but, the reality is people search for things if they don't know how to get to it in a click or two. Notice I said a click and not typing in a URL.

To understand what makes something usable we need to understand our users and how they do things. Making something intuitive, making something complex operate with easy controls, and making something people can be efficient at using requires this. Right now search is king and we have to respect that, accept it, and take advantage of it... like it or not.

If we don't build technology with a good UX for people they won't use it.

Trunkhorn’s picture

That's ridiculous. If you are building a site, search shouldn't be king. A logical structure should be king. Search providers fill in the gaps.

Why have a soup of barely relevant results when you can lead a person directly down a path to exactly what they're looking for? It doesn't make any sense when search brings you a flood of items from "most relevant" to least.

I suppose you've taken the cloud mindset where the only responsibility a person has to their site is to throw as much garbage on it and as unorganized as possible.

But, what if you actually want people to use your site. Look at for goodness sake, this methodology is a disgrace. We can't get relevant results out of this site even using in google. That's what you will get without any type of logical directory.

blisster138’s picture

This assumes you've done the prerequisite usability testing to determine that most users would natively use the terms you're imposing. Search might just fill in the gaps because you'd done a piss-poor job with your naming of said categories. The notion of "blocks" versus "modules" or "Primary Links" versus "Navigation"... the naming is simply obtuse. These are the kinds of core usability issues that a first-time user of the system shouldn't even need to think about when they're first trying to set up their new site using Drupal. This is basic UX, imo, and more than market speak. I don't think this negates the need for a good taxonomy, but selling search as nothing more than a fallback option is rather shortsighted.

Saying "If you want something with a better user experience, go use Joomla," is a complete fail response and pays complete disservice to how compelling a product Drupal truly is.

Trunkhorn’s picture

Disservice to whom? Frankly, no average user is going to be able to even understand the philisophical differences between blocks, modules, taxonomy, menus, content type, and so on... ever.

Just creating a mysql database will be beyond the depth of the people you are talking about. So ultimately, the only purpose behind this whole push would be to enable a copy which will hold the person's hand all the way down the line.

I guarantee you can't lift all boats when the concepts used are as complex as they are.

Sophia’s picture

First of, I don't think anybody tried to compare Drupal with Wordpress. Create a Wordpress copy? Utter nonsense, noboby even hinted at that.

Frankly, Trunkhorn, I don't understand your hostility. I think you have made your point: you want Drupal the way it is. You don't NEED to upgrade to a newer version, nobody is twisting your arm ;)

That said, why would anybody assume that "making Drupal simpler to use" equals "dumbing it down"? If, indeed, due to this project, Drupal DOES get dumbed down, I shall be the first to apologize to you. I highly doubt I shall need to though, I can't think of any scenario in which that could possibly happen. Although I appreciate your obvious love for Drupal, please don't take it so far to actually shut your eyes for its shortcomings... I hope I shall never get to the point of such professional blindness myself.

Furthermore, what is wrong with holding people by the hand? I see no need to purposely make Drupal so obscurely difficult that only geeks can use it... and if that is not your intention with your continuous rants, I cannot for the life of me understand what you are so upset about.

Very successful professional companies such as Microsoft or Google (regardless of what one might actually think of them, they ARE successful) did not get so powerful by putting an obscure product on the market. What is Windows' secret of success? It worked, right out of the box, and the DOS worshipers howled just as loud that computers got so dumbed down that now, ANYBODY can use them. Google search was such a success because you just typed in what you wanted, and the sites started appearing on the screen. No need to bother with categories or difficult to use wild cards, they took care of all that. Nothing is gained by making (or leaving) things difficult, that is geek thought. If we want Drupal a success, we simply HAVE to change the way we think.

Another example: cars are increasingly complex things, but increasingly simple to use. Built in navigational systems, automatic gear change, windows that open with the push of a button, built-in webcams that allow easy parking and warn when you get too close to another car, and more improvements to come. Just an example of intense complexity behind the scenes, but increasing ease of use for the USER. I am 100% behind this project, and I am sure that it might not shock the world, but certainly bring improvements.

minesota’s picture

I agree with you Sophia.
However analogies may or may not be justified in all cases.

If an aeroplane cockpit has the interface of a bicycle it would be difficult to fly it :)
For example : if you have used Views how you can make the interface of it easy for a new admin as well as present all the options?

Facebook user interface is too clumsy for me and some others also ( see above ) yet it still works for so many users.
Unix/Linux is apparently 'difficult' than windows and yet greater part of the internet runs on it!

I am not against UI changes and betterment but want it in the right way in right hands.
This is important.

I have elaborated my suggestions on how to begin on this here but either got no response so far or got ??scorn.

Trunkhorn’s picture is not the same as wordpress. You may know that but Iwasn't sure from your post. is a quick and easy wordpress hosting service.

I'm not saying that I like drupal exactly the way it is, what I'm saying is that I hate to see something I've invested so much time in chopped to pieces by "usability experts". And unfortunately, upgrading is a necessity for future security updates, so I have plenty of reason to make noise on the issue.

Sophia’s picture

Thank you, Trunkhorn, no I was not aware of the difference. Actually, I avoid sites that that, or Blogger, or Facebook etc like the plague, I prefer to build my own any time. But to each his own, and this is not the proper place to discuss that :)

Actually, now you have made me curious, how exactly do you see Drupal "chopped to pieces" to increase the usability, be it done by "experts" or not?

Minesota, for the record, I am of the strong opinion that experience comes with years, and so does expertise. A project done by almost-or-just-ex-students is not able to change the world and should be overseen carefully, however I found that sometimes a fresh wind and new ideas can wake up a sleeping community. If that is achieved with this project, I'll be happy already. I just fail to see how Trunkhorn anticipates Drupal being butchered by it but always willing to listen to any ideas, even if they oppose my own. Keeps me sharp.

minesota’s picture

I am not against usability tests ( if done properly) ... so I asked for data-mining -
for example the confusion re. the term "page" has been there long time ago ( or even before this, and many such examples perhaps)and now we need an usabilty test to find this ?
So I asked are we using all the right usabilty 'guides' and persons ?? ??

I think by keeping "experts" in quotes was asking that thing ... are we using the right experts ?
But as I said already, no use asking that as that is already confirmed by Dries how much we may logicify or rant.

I found that sometimes a fresh wind and new ideas can wake up a sleeping community

Many scripts ( including wp!) has a section/forum just for that : IDEAs ... but request for this got NO response (including you) here :\

Sophia’s picture

Basically, we are saying the same thing, minesota. I repeat, projects need expertise and experience to be done properly. There is plenty of enthusiasm though, and properly curbed, I see no harm being done.

As for not responding to your request, I cannot comment on what I don't have a clear opinion on... and I am not here to criticize for the sake of making noise.

minesota’s picture

"Properly" is the keyword and there is so much disagreement around that.

I did not say you need to respond to my request but its you who just pointed out the importance of IDEAs, so I pointed you to a post where the issue of IDEAS have been opened but got no response.

glensomerville’s picture

Reading between the lines in your comments, I think all I can sense is a fear of change.

I've used (and built) numerous CMS's in the past and lately looked into WP, Joomla and now Drupal. I don't think any of them can be set up by people who don't know how to set up a database. So, I agree on that. However, every platform / system has it's own terminology which a new user needs to get acquainted with before setting out. I think Joomla and Drupal fail equally well in this respect and Wordpress isn't really comparable because it focuses on a much narrower usage (blogging). I'm technically oriented, but I still think Drupal's default admin menu structure and terminology (as an example) is horrible. This is a usability problem, nothing to do with understanding the concepts of menus, blocks etc. Yes, you get used to it, but it could be much more intuitive.

Optimising and simplifying user experience is NOT the same as simplifying the underlying platform. I "chose" Drupal for it's technical excellence over competition and the scalability and ease of customisation it offers. The one reason I dismissed it at first was it's overall look and feel which shouted "software engineer" (I have had very bad experiences with other "software engineer" products previously, e.g. MOSS). So, to me poor usability is a first warning sign of poor overall system design. I'm no usability expert, but don't you think the amount of UX research e.g. Microsoft put into Windows 7 shows how badly it was needed to keep up with say Apple? And yeah, the single button mouse is not great, but most things "Apple" are - because of usability.

The work Marc and Leisa are doing is extremely welcome. If the outcome changes some terminology or moves things around, don't worry, you'll get used to it. It might even save you some time and effort in training users or configuring the system yourself. Drupal will not become a WordPress copy, as I said I don't think they can be compared. But that doesn't mean it can't still adopt things from WP (or other platforms) that WP and other do right.

Trunkhorn’s picture

I wouldn't have touched Drupal in the first place if I feared change. If you've read the philosophy behind Drupal, you would know that the drop doesn't stop.

However, I really don't want to see a platform I've put so much time building my site on because of its flexibility turn into "Drupal for Dummies", for commercial reasons.

And this is a reaction from experience. I left wordpress 2 years ago now for the exact same reason, and it is disheartening to see the same occur with a more flexible software. Anyone who has had such an experience knows that when "usability experts" become involved, technical options begin to diminish, not expand.

I guess i can take refuge in the fact that it's GPL'd and if it is messed with too much it will be forked.

keith.smith’s picture

I guess i can take refuge in the fact that it's GPL'd and if it is messed with too much it will be forked.

I'm glad that provides you some relief. What I take refuge in is the certain knowledge that the Drupal community -- which includes Mark and Leisa, by the way -- is full of smart, clever, dedicated people who really want this software to succeed.

Good ideas are always welcome. Good ideas that make it through the crucible of an issue queue to reach implementation are even better. There's no reason to think that Drupal's normal patch review process will be subverted in any way.

In my opinion, Mark and Leisa's involvement works out to a couple of people brainstorming full-time about how to improve Drupal (and, ultimately, convincing everyone else to implement and support their ideas). As far as I can tell, that doesn't do anything but help me.


mfer’s picture

The current d.o design was built for the drupal community and project when it was at a different time and place. The community and it's place in the world were different from today. The site we have now doesn't suit us where we are at anymore.

That's why there is a redesign underway. Well, the redesign already happened and now it's being implemented. You can see the work in progress at This does attempt to help people navigate to where they are going rather than having them rely on search, which is very important.

I agree that a site should do this. So should systems like drupal.

People search all over d.o to find things the site should guide them to. People who work in drupal, especially those who are new to drupal, have the same problem with drupals interface.

If a site like drupal should have a better setup shouldn't drupal itself have a better setup for the very same reasons.

Trunkhorn’s picture

But drupal itself is organized! It just isn't documented with any degree of quality in the install. I would rather there were more tutorials included.

In fact, mustardseed media's video tutorials do a great job of explaining these things, not to mention other sites like drupaltherapy. There is an education gap for newbies, but that is because they haven't learned anything yet.

cbrookins’s picture

Excellent usability is when you don't need any documentation, or only need it for the most complex of topics. Basic usage, installation, and tasks should not require reading books or on-line help.

robertDouglass’s picture

Trunkhorn, I've recently written a module, which I hope will become the tool which gives control to the community over Drupal's documentation (the part that lives inside of the application - ie context sensitive). It allows you to "inject" help texts into the application or site so that help is there when and where you need it. The HelpInject module is rough, but functional. I'll be improving it progressively, but it's OK to get started with it now.

If it is a matter of documentation, this module can be used to write documentation that helps people use Drupal. Now, what're we waiting for?

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Trunkhorn’s picture

That actually sounds very interesting robert. I'll give it a spin!

karschsp’s picture

Actually, I usually find the drupal results I want via a google search.

Can you point to a specific example where your drupal/google search doesn't work?

I know the d.o upgrade will incorporate Solr search, so that should improve things considerably.

Amazon’s picture

Kieran Lal

asd123asd5’s picture

I really think this is an issue we need to address, I would personally put my hand up for helping to organize the documentation pages into a clearer order if it has not already been done for the new redesign. Is there a group for this?

matt.lutze’s picture

Load this video and either watch until or just jump to about 3:30. At about 4:00 square on he hits the big point:

"and now I want to ask you to put your data on the Web."

I agree with you that search should not be the driving force behind a community platform, which is arguably the or in the top few uses of Drupal (whether as an individual blog or as a multi-user environment). Most of the time, we don't know what to search for when we want new things.

CMS systems should at least start road-mapping a plan to make "meaningful browsing", something like contextual discovery, a major focus of their systems.

The model of using a CMS as a set of girders and lattice in which one hangs pages, blog posts and pictures began to fade when we started seeing serious acceptance of data mashup a few years ago. More and more, the most rewarding experiences on the Web involve pulling data from many different sources and putting it together for the user.

What might putting

the people behind the information structure of and "usability experts"

bring for

those of us who are invested in this platform.


Potentially, they'll provide a direction for the platform you've invested in to actually still be relevant when no one wants a taxonomy or static page on their site in the (near or less-near) future.

Your little analogy at the end would actually apply to the situation where this big effort came from only people in the community, The community hasn't gotten these issues right since before 4.7, so it's time for some very new blood to give it a whack.

melalady76’s picture

Wow Nick Lewis you have nailed the aggravating experiences down to a T. I think there might be some sort of resentment factors hidden within the core contributors of Drupal. Drupal is a free/open source and these super guys and gals who have developed and design Drupal have done so with blood, sweet and tears and for the most part unpaid; why should they make it easy for the end user?

Is it possible that there is some underlying subconscious resentment? What is the big deal, what is wrong of making the product not UX friendly? The friendlier Drupal becomes the more users it will attract.

Is it really free when the end user has to spend hours or at times days before figuring out how to install Drupal. Last time I check that was not freedom more like free to be dumb. That is exactly how must new users feel overwhelmed, confused and dumb. After all it’s FREE or is it?

robertDouglass’s picture

The hard part is figuring out what easy means. That's what Mark and Leisa are trying to help do.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

perkywebdesign’s picture

I don't think we should be too worried about what platform their website is running on, but rather focus on the content of information thereon.

Wordpress, by the way, may give us some clues to user-friendly CMS building - these days not not doing badly especially when coupled with the Pods plugin, where you can create content types (similar to CCK).... Good for perspective, I think so.

ddorian’s picture

these 2 are coming from a noobish experience of wordpress

Liam McDermott’s picture

Sorry to grouse, but there's an unclosed <h2> tag after the: 'Drupal7 Experience Strategy & Goals' heading.

Makes reading difficult. :)

Helpful Drupal videos | Join us for a beginner friendly stream, most Fridays

Amazon’s picture

Michelle fixed that. Thanks Michelle.


Kieran Lal

Sophia’s picture

There are three sorts of people: the ones who tinker with design/modules etc, the ones who install and set up Drupal including default themes and modules, and the ones who only bother with adding content. Then there is a group which I shall call "Bloggers", who want a one-button install, plenty of drop & drag modules and themes, and then have their family and friends fill it.

All these groups have completely different ideas of "simple", and I wonder how you can cater them all. I have set up several Drupal sites for individuals, home based web stores or motels, and communities. Most of whose only experience on the computer was Word, basically. The things they struggle with and complain about, is

- how to insert a picture
- how to make text bold/italic etc
- how to create columns
- how to send a newletter with pictures that actually show up in the e-mail
- why a forum post does not show up, since they accidently hit "Preview" instead of "Submit".
- why hitting "Reply" on a forum posts shows the first comment instead of the least one
- how to structure the whole site (they don't see the difference between a "book" and a "page")
(just a few examples that came up recently)

Simple stuff, which we don't think about, but it baffles, irritates and ticks 'm off. Having no rich text editor facilities out of the box draws more people across to Joomla than I can count. No matter how much we say "But this is soooo much more flexible and clean", you are not going to win people over. Make it possible to add a module or theme without using FTP, and you have gained another huge batch of doubters.

Most people couldn't care less about what modules and hooks and css mean or do, like a lot of car owners they don't want to know what is UNDER the shiny surface... they just want a working site... with block regions all over the place and a lot of eye candy right out of the box.

chx’s picture

Drupal can not be for everyone. Everyone make compromises based on what they value and so do we. Making something possible through a module is the right thing. Making the text format thingie easier to understand and administer is also the right thing and guess what? There was and still is a lot of work to it in D7.

So, if this design turns out to be good for content creators and bad for everyone else, then it wont get into core.

Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

webchick’s picture

So, if this design turns out to be good for content creators and bad for everyone else, then it wont get into core.

But everyone who interacts with a Drupal site is at some point a content creator. (i.e. hitting node/add/X or filling out a comment/admin form). Therefore, optimizing this universal task does indeed end up helping everyone, from the beginning user who could never install Drupal on their own, to the hardcore hacker who uses Drupal to power their recipe box of regular expressions. :)

I'm hard-pressed to think of how making the node/add form easier to use in any way creates a worse user experience for anyone. And it's not like hook_form_alter() is going away anytime soon in case it really ticks you off.

Nick Lewis’s picture

Couple of things:
1. We can use existing APIs in drupal 6 to make the content creator experience tolerable, and I see no reason why a good experience for them should be at odds with all the ass kicking that goes on under the hood.
2. Drupal cannot be for everyone, and I think your touching a point that the essential. A lot of archaic drupalisms were not born from the drunken dreams of some disgruntled masochist -- the fact is that the conceptual distinctions between the main parts of drupal make a lot of sense -- but its hard to see why until you've spent a year or so thinking about why your latest website design is an incoherent piece of crap, or why making anything with editable text a node is a satanic idea.

There's a number of users who think a CMS should read their mind,I'm perfectly alright with firing them as users I care about. The fact is a lot of drupal's difficulties can be traced back to the reality: "building websites is hard"

At the same time, we should make it more clear that the toolset drupal offers has a hammer that hits a nail, and that you shouldn't screw a hammer into a 2X4.

Above all, hope in the future i have more projects that ask me to help them kickass, as opposed to helping them figure a way to use drupal that doesn't cause their entire company to go crazy.

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

Sophia’s picture

"And so what?

Drupal can not be for everyone."

Those are the sort of responses that will NEVER help in making anything a success... in order to improve something, you NEED to think out of the box. I think this thread and the project that has started, will help more than comments like that :)

Not picking on you chx, just trying to show that Drupal can be improved no end, and I enjoy reading some of the struggles others have in addition to my own users. I have followed this site for a few years since version 4.6 I believe, never heavily involved but interested enough to stay up-to-date, and one thing I keep reading: "I tried Drupal, got frustrated, moved away, got more frustrated, came back, struggled some more, and finally licked Drupal and now I'm never leaving ever again." That, btw, sums up pretty much my own experience as well, although I am still in the "struggling some more" stage.

I, for one, shall follow this discussion and the outcome with the utmost interest, and shall certainly continue to offer my thoughts where they might do some good. Keep up the good work!

aharown07’s picture

I think Sophia is mostly right, but my own story might put it in a slightly different light. A year ago I began looking for a CMS when I didn't even know what a CMS was. I was acquiring a Wordpress site and knew we needed something better. I'd never even developed a website of any kind before (OK, uploaded a few html files that I saved in a word processor, but that's it).

So I looked at everything I could find, including just about every free CMS listed at Wikipedia. I tried Drupal, got frustrated. Gave up. Tried several others, got frustrated, gave up. Came back to Drupal... and I think repeated that cycle a few times.
What baffled me for some time was how works... issue queues, interracting w/mod developers vs. core vs. forums, vs. etc., etc.

But two things had become clear: 1. I wasn't going to be able to hire pro's to build my new site and, 2. I wanted way more functionality than I was going to get from any CMS w/o learning how to tamper with it a good bit. Having arrived painfully at that point, Drupal was the obvious choice. There's a module for just about anything you can imagine. You can post just about any question you have someplace and get somebody to toss you a clue (if not an actual solution).

Slowly started to make sense to me... got past "node," "taxonomy" ... figured out "region" vs. "block," ... eventually, "override" started to mean something as well as "hook" and all those bewildering tpl.php files. Last week I successfully applied my first patch.
So, yes, there's alot for people to learn if they're trying to do alot w/their site, but it is learnable with patience and persistence. With many of the other CMS's I tried, I was not able to sustain even gradual progress toward my goals. A huge key factor: documentation. There's room to improve here, but for so many of the alternatives, I couldn't find info about much of anything.

My conclusions... maybe a two tiered approach is best. Tier one: the folks Sophia described who want lots of ease-of-use bells and whistles out of the box so they can immediately start filling a new site w/the simple content that is all they ever intend to put in there. Tier two: keep all the geeky stuff going that allows ppl like me to find their way to powerful features when the "typical install" isn't what we had in mind.
So maybe eventually a couple of distinct distributions of Drupal would achieve the best of both worlds.

harriska2’s picture

What aharown07 said. Spent some quality time with taxonomies, views, CCK, etc. Once I saw the power I was hooked. I was able to make a quick accounting input sheet with a view within a block that showed a summary. For those of you that are divorced with a child and you need to show child care expenses this is super fast :)

Now that I'm recreating views in 2 (couldn't get the import to work), now that has some usability issues. Please don't follow their lead. It took 1/2 an hour to figure out that when you create a new view and click on stuff at the top, you input further down the page - which was cut off for me due to the size of window I had open. I love the book someone suggested above - Don't make me think - really good book.

mukhsim’s picture

Probably 80% of the sites for which Drupal is used for fall under the following categories:
1. Corporate website
2. Blog
3. Forum
4. Online shop
5. Image gallery/multimedia website

The other 20% are sites that need heavy customization (social networking, multisite, intranet, groupware, etc) and they usually require a competent web developer+designer to build.

While Drupal is great for developers of those 20% with modules, theming, hooks etc, the 80% of sites do not need advanced features right away, or can do without them altogether.

IMHO, Drupal should provide installation profiles with step-by-step Installation Wizard for each profile. The wizard should ask such questions as where the menus should go (top or left), how many columns the layout should have, width of the page and provide coloring mechanism (color module).

This will ensure that novices can get started with a Drupal site which: does what they want (or most of what they want), looks unique and works right out of box.

Drupal can replace any of the following solutions: WordPress, Vbulletin/PhpBB, OSCommerce but it takes heavy customization and steep learning curve to accomplish. The goal should be to make installing typical sites extremely easy.

P.S. one particular note: module installation is kind of incomplete every time: after checking module and pressing "Submit" button you do not know where to go. Each module upon successful installation should drupal_set_message links to settings pages.

seutje’s picture

I'd say a lot of that 80% you mentioned are actually a combination of 2 or more of those 5 you mentioned, making each one of those install profiles of little use.

for instance: how many blogs also have an image gallery? choosing the blog profile would leave out all the image stuff, choosing image gallery profile would leave out the blog stuff

so I'd say ideally, we need a wizard that asks a good amount of straight forward questions and based on the answers, composes the profile, allowing people to get the blog stuff and the image stuff in 1 and the same install profile

people like wizards, they don't want a couple vague names of which none really describes their needs, forcing them to either guess which would be best or make compromises, thinking it's the only way...

theabacus’s picture

Not to be critical, but for a page about usability I am finding it rather difficult to get to Part 2 of the Drupal Install video. Perhaps there could be a link to the 2nd part of the video below the first video and if part two were named in the same way (i.e. Drupal 7 Install (Part 2)) that could be real helpful and generate some more response.

Amazon’s picture

Thanks for pointing this out. I've added a link to the second part of the installation video.


Kieran Lal

Trunkhorn’s picture

I can't help but think that it was the usability clique that hid menu descriptions in the menu admin section and stripped them from the actual node they belong to.

Can't wait for their next grand experiment!

robertDouglass’s picture

You can see exactly what is going into Drupal by monitoring two sources. To see what has recently gone in, monitor the core CVS commits:
To see what MIGHT go in (and this is where you can exert influence and help bend Drupal to be what you want it to be), monitor the patches that need review.

The fact is that NOTHING gets done to Drupal without public discussion, so all fear of what the future might bring is completely related to your willingness to get involved in bringing it. If you don't get involved (though given the opportunity), you have to trust the people who are doing the work.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

CAZephyr’s picture

Sophia is right that for many the absence of a rich text editor out of the box is an absolute deal breaker. I think that regardless of the complexities involved, getting a rich text editor into Drupal core will remove one of the biggest obstacles to adoption for many owners/content creators.

Delf also makes an excellent point that there needs to be some uniformity across all the modules. We should try to help maintain the flow for everybody (users and admins alike) in that after you have successfully submitted something (or installed something) you should be directed to the next logical step, and not end up on some generic page that gives no hint to what should be happening next. Obviously this is an issue more for the modules than core, but perhaps we can use D7 core to enforce some uniformity on the various modules.

My other suggestion would be to simplify the upgrade process. With D6 we have made great strides in simplifying the install process, to the extent that the upgrade process (for dot releases) is cumbersome in comparison. Nowadays when updating from D6.x to D6.y it's almost easier to install .y from scratch (as a new site) and then migrate the data over from the old site. I'm exaggerating a little, but just a little.

Nick Lewis’s picture

These are really difficult problems. Studies have even shown that implementing a tolerable WYSIWYG editor solution is a leading cause of stroke among web development professionals.

The bigger problem i see is in the fundamentals. Why do only a select few know why taxonomy terms shouldn't be menus or nodes, or why a book is different from a menu, or even why blocks are different from menus. Why is it that so many people mistake content types for categories, and build horrid, convoluted hellholes of complexity with views, when taxonomy_menu would have solved all their problems?

I'm not saying that those features are unimportant, but I think there's more to gain from seriously reconsidering some fundamentals.

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

Nick Lewis’s picture

I bet that site took less time building in wordpress in than would have in drupal. Food for thought.

"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

portait’s picture

It's good that Lisa and Mark don't see drupal from the developer side. It looks like that drupal needed some better workflow and usabiltiy design years ago and it's actually overdue. I am sure that with the new help from Lisa and Mark drupal will gain more value to more people around the world.
We are happy that you are helping making drupal a better product!

The only concern I am having right now is not a design issue. The leading cms (yes, wp is a cms) provides its users every 3 months with a version update which makes admin junkies happy because they get to see new features every 3 months. Most of you will probably say that this is a disadvantage because of module dependencies. This might be true for advanced sites but not for minimal sites like blogs.

Nick Lewis’s picture


"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." - George Carlin

sunilkumar’s picture

As a beginner and programming/coding illiterate, my problem is to understand the technical jargon Drupal use. node_reference,taxonomy,node,blah blah.. Oh! still I am confused many times.


mfer’s picture

This brings up an interesting issue. node, taxonomy, etc are industry technical terms. How do we build tools for the technical literate and illiterate? How do we make them both happy? Is that even possible?

Maybe what is needed, apart from drupal, is a better education system for people working in this industry.

Sophia’s picture

In terms of usibility, although of an entirely different caliber as Drupal, I think Website Baker deserves first price. I admit that for simple sites, it shall always be my first choice. I just love it, and the terminology and menu are so logical, you can't go wrong. I have recommended it to many would-be private webmasters who wanted a sweet little personal site right out of the box, and they all needed less than half an hour to learn how to put together a nice site without any hassle. It is used a lot to create small business sites, such as motels, bed & breakfast sites, and local businesses who can't spend 100+ hours of learning the ins and outs of maintaining a site.

portait’s picture

When was drupal 6.0 released?!!! Security Updates don't offer any new features.

seutje’s picture

let's demand module maintainers to overhaul half their code every 3 months

sounds great!

Views876675646 - coming soon

portait’s picture

Maybe small steps could also be possible with no need for module ajustments every time an update would be released?

MGParisi’s picture

+1 to this!

asd123asd5’s picture

It feels to me as if modules take the place of a 3 month release with new features. You can expand on the core almost limitless with the modules available, and there are new ones being released and upgraded all the time. Don't get me wrong, new core features are important, but at the cost of module compatability to do it every 3 months, not even worth it.

Jaypan’s picture

My only suggestion for now is to change the lingo! I love drupal, but I almost have to give a dictionary to my users for them to understand what a lot of the lingo means. Make it softer, more friendly, and accessible to people who aren't programmers.

Looking forward to seeing Drupal 7!

Checkout my Japan podcasts.
horncologne’s picture

"Please make it so I don't have to think" won't help anyone! Website building is hard - building technologies to build websites with is even harder.

Every single profession and discipline has precise and consistent language across versions and systems that let's its practitioners communicate clearly and precisely. Golf, medicine, carpentry, bricklaying, music, agriculture, engineering of every kind, poker and synchronized swimming all have their jargon.

There is a learning curve for everything we do in our lives that is not autonomic. There is no coming in the door day 1 at any given job/company/sport/hobby and knowing it all, no matter what activity we are talking about.

Anything worth doing isn't easy to do - paraphrasing here, "try, fail, learn to fail better next time."

robertDouglass’s picture

Acquia offers a nice glossary that you can refer to.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Jose Reyero’s picture

Honestly, I don't want Drupal to be simpler to use, I want it to be clean and powerful to build upon. I would hate it to become Wordpress, there are reasons why I use one and not the other...

Please someone makes a 'DrupalEasy' distribution or install profile and ships that for people wanting to set up their personal blogs...

When people start comparing Drupal and Wordpress I think they're completely missing the point. Want a ready to use blog? Use Wordpress. Want a powerful framework to build upon? Go Drupal.

The main reason I got started with Drupal a few years ago is that it didn't ship with the amount of crap other CMSs did. Please keep it like that.

And please don't forget the 20% of the people that use 80% of Drupal functionality. They're the ones that build amazing sites using Drupal.

mfer’s picture

Sadly, drupals usability for people who manage content, configure settings, or do different types of administration tasks has a lot of room for improvement. This UX aspect is something the wordpress developers put a lot of time into and that's good. I really don't expect or even see anyone wanting to make drupal into wordpress. But, a focus on UX is a good thing, especially for our clients, users, friends, and family who we build drupal sites for.

I'm actually hoping the drupal 7 release will be even cleaner and more powerful to build upon. It might be a dream to have both but work is being done in both areas.

If you haven't already, check out their videos and other material. There is some good stuff.

Drupal is a powerful framework to build sites. But, the UI we have could use a lot of improvement in UX.

MGParisi’s picture

I love Adobe Photoshop. So much so that I am one of the few that actually bought the software. But lets face it, it is PROFESSIONAL SOFTWARE. After they refined it, and made it easy to use, its still too complex, too feature rich for a novice to jump into and start using. They actually had to cut out allot of features to make it for there non professional version. Sorry, but I like my Photoshop packed to the max with features, and I dont want to see it go because someone thinks it needs a better UX for new comers.

So yes, at times UX and lots of features are Mutually Exclusive. Can it use refinement. Sure. Is that what I see happening. YES! But lets have market differentiation.

Lastly, I think its simple page rank mongering for allot of people to use their word press sites to stir up conflict. I should get my friend to post an article on his .NET site about why he is publishing this document on .NET and not DRUPAL!

matt.lutze’s picture

Photoshop is a really nice example.

Photoshop for the power user is used through keyboard shortcuts much more than through mouse-clicks on panel bars. So much faster, so much more powerful. The success of CS4 over the feature improvements of CS3 was Adobe's ability to figure out which functions only the power users used so they could hide those buttons and make the interface simpler. No less powerful, as what is now "hidden" was rarely clicked on anyways, just easier for the casual user to find and use casual-user functions.

In the same way Drupal 5.x was CS2 in that we all realized what we could do with Photoshop; D6.x was CS3 with the feature explosion, and D7.x has the potential to be CS4, where we get some of the things power users and professionals never click and casual users won't use, out of the way. That makes sense in my head, at least, don't know if it came out right.

matkeane’s picture

Photoshop for the power user is used through keyboard shortcuts

Indeed, which makes Adobe's decision to change so many of them so baffling. Apple+1 now scales the image to 100% - the same as in Fireworks - instead of displaying the red channel, but try pulling up the levels or curves palettes with keyboard shortcuts in Fireworks. Try hitting apple+m, then apple+1 to edit the curve for the red channel in CS4 and see where it gets you, as opposed to PS4, 5, 6, 7, CS2 & CS3! So, long-established shortcuts change and others aren't consistently implemented across products, and despite this Photoshop is often quoted as a reference on interface design!

If the new interface makes things easier for new users, great. Breaking things for existing users with ingrained habits established over years of use is not, in my opinion, a step forward in usability (maybe the next step should be completely customized keyboard layouts which users transfer from system to system like Avid editors).

I think I've drifted off-topic now! Yes, the Drupal interface should be simpler for new users, and experienced Drupal users may have a hard time recognizing just how necessary this is, and so any improvements that can be made, inspired by other CMSs, should be welcomed, as long as they don't make things less intuitive for experienced users.

irakli’s picture

I am right there with you, Jose.

I have nothing against Drupal looking good and get just as excited when there's a new usability improvement as the next person BUT it worries me a lot to sense the loss of focus. Drupal first and foremost is an excellent development platform and developer tool. Make no mistake - that's the only reason why so many developers cherish Drupal.

Re-align Drupal messages away from it being a dev platform and it becomes an inferior WordPress or Joomla - nothing else.

Sorry for the harsh truth.

blisster138’s picture

How in the world would putting a solid UX layer into Drupal destroy it as a solid development platform? You can still build using the same interface conventions for your modules, etc. that have always been there, but then it's easier to use because of a better HCI implementation? Different wording? Streamlined and better naming conventions within drop down menus or an even better user interface convention? If the reality is that you're comfortable with the higher learning curve and those that can't make the cut should just go be happy with WordPress... again, that really does the Drupal product a disservice imo. There's a ton of functionality that Drupal offers that is far beyond simple blogging via WordPress.

Question: Are you happy with (or even prefer), Drupal CMS existing as nothing more than a niche solution? That's currently where it resides and I believe it could be quite a bit more.

templ1’s picture

Making drupal easier to use, does not mean destroying the power of Drupal. There are some functionalities, let's say 'standarts' like the administrator area being different in other cms's, and when users start using drupal they really become confused.
If you want drupal to be used by everybody there are changes that should be made to its usability. But if you want only developers continuing to use it that is totally different.

seaneffel’s picture

It's a good time to remind us of the soft goals that Dries lays out at many of the Drupalcons. He says that its an underlying agenda of making Drupal so simple to use that it can "eliminate the web developer", "eliminate the designer" and "eliminate the webmaster". I heard those messages at DC Boston in 2008. That's more or less here:

Making a better tool means ensuring that the fullest spectrum of users can work with it. Absolute beginners should have the same weight in this UX discussion as would experienced developers. Pointing us to the Drupal mission page:

I think the "rage knobs" are set to stun because some people can't step back and look a the bigger picture of this Drupal project. Maybe they are afraid of losing their jobs when Drupal is so simple that their grandmothers can develop a site without them.

Gerhard Killesreiter’s picture

Thanks José for voicing your reservations. Saves me some time.

For the record: In the two large projects that have kept me busy during the last 12 months the "node add" form is hardly ever used by a human. Most content is created outside of Drupal and imported through services.

I am much more concerned with the recent performance problems in node creation than with the actual node form. That does not mean we cannot improve the node form, but not at the expense of its power...

markboulton’s picture

Just to be *absolutely* clear on a few things that keep coming up:

1. We're NOT trying to make Drupal like Wordpress. That would be a bad move. We're trying to make Drupal have an awesome User Experience for the 80% (as we said in the Exp. Strategy).

2. I've used Drupal before (since d4), but we're not developers. We were also playing devil's advocate in that video.

3. We *need* to maintain a distance. This means NOT getting too familiar with Drupal's quirks and nuances. If we do that, we begin to accept them as correct, or worse still, as unchangeable. To get too close would be a significant risk to this project.

Thanks for all your comments and thoughts so far. As webchick said, let's make Drupal 7 rock!

patchak’s picture

Great thread, I'm really happy to see that were as a community are now moving to make drupal a bit easier to use for end users.

IMO drupal is simple and easy to use, but that's cause I've been using it for three years. I often have problems with it, but that because I try to do some advanced developpement with it.

For simple blog-like users, here are some ideas that could really help:

1) make a "content admin" role and permissions out of the box, so no one except the site developper has to use user 1 to actually begin to configure a basic site. That role could have only one admin section that would allow to control basic aspects of the site. I say that but I know it's complicated since users would still want to use views, etc... But maybe we can still remove a lot of stuff from the admin section for "user/2"

2) We should provide install profiles included in the drupal download. Offering pre configured blogs would help 80% of those 80% people that think drupal is hard to use. That install profile would use a wysiwyg pre installed, image field installed with a basic content type, etc...

3) We could also make the install process a bit longer (optional) to walk though people to install some content types, catgories, etc, right on installation. At least they will be forced to have a look at the interface once. (this could by bypassed of course, to get the normal one click, done install)

4) how about adding some super helpful admin modules like fasttoggle, taxonomy manager ( I never build a site without it), etc?

5) adding views in core would also help, to allow people to directly be using fields and views, as I'm sure 90% of people out there alredy do... (well that sounsd a lot like acquia distro...)

I think what is missing is some integration and the possibility to hold hands.

Imagine this install process :

1) choose language, great
2) create some content types
3) create some fields
4) create a vocab and some terms
5) quickly check out primary links

The new drupal would be walked through all those steps, then he would "know" the interface. No need to actually change how drupal works, but we need more integration on the install for new users.

Of course the old drupal dev will just select fast install and get it exactly as usual. Heck, I would use that kind of "beginner" install if it walks me thought content types, taxonomy, fields, and menus right on install!

I'm in the train now going to do a drupal training for a project I just finished, I'll you know how it went!


Joe Murray’s picture

Thanks, patchak, for providing more constructive feedback.

I really like the idea of providing a wizard and more pre-defined options for some cck's out of the box in a default install. Blue-skying things, I would have a multi-select with a bunch of things like Press Releases for org sites, collaboration features (maybe with secondary selection for forums, og with subscriptions, etc), music, videos (probably via integration with just flickr and YouTube out of the box), etc. Maybe a bit of stuff that would allow users to choose from a list of themes and layouts for inside pages. Then behind the scenes the required modules would be downloaded and installed. Sort of a wizard to create some simple install profiles, and then some guts to do auto-install & config of modules.


Boris Mann’s picture

I've been posting over at the D7UX site about this. Short answer: yes, we can.

The default install profile in core for D7 has already been improved. Our first step is deciding "What should Drupal do out of the box (OOB)?". That guides us to what the install profile should contain. I have a straw man wiki post up on g.d.o. talking about an expanded default install profile.

And yes, we can do wizards that do things like "do you want multi user blogging? yes/no? do you want forums? yes/no?" that would selectively enable features.

For the record, there was some pretty strong language by Mark and Leisa about how they would consider it a failure if they didn't switch their blogs to Drupal once this process was done. I objected to that, and I think was a mistake: it is unlikely that the community will choose a blog install profile as the default site that people get OOB when they download and install Drupal core.

Trunkhorn’s picture

So, you get "distance" by moving into a wordpress shell, and accepting their "quirks and nuances" as correct? Because apparently you can't help but be wildly influenced by any software you use? And if that is the case, then you will certainly have been unduly influenced by wordpress.

See why your position is bereft of logic?

portait’s picture

It's amazing how much negativity arises although the designer team wants to improve drupal usability and make it available to a broader audience. The only reason for that I can think of is that some advanced drupal users fear their uniqueness.

webchick’s picture

If you need a blog up and running in 15 minutes, WordPress is a fine choice. If you want to upload photos and make notes on them, Flickr is a fine choice. If you want to blast posts through a microblogging service, Twitter is a fine choice.

Mark and Leisa are using all of these tools as part of the D7UX push. Why is everyone assuming that Drupal will end up like WordPress, and not also assuming we're going to lose the ability to post content types and make Drupal nothing but a photo gallery with 140-character comments? See the logic flaw here? :)

These are tools, folks. Tools doing things that Drupal can do, sure (and with some elbow grease, better than the native tools themselves!). But personally, I would much rather people who are being paid and have a very finite time to complete the gargantuan task of tackling Drupal's user experience issues use whatever tool is best suited for the job so we can get this show on the road.

Also, Trunkhorn, do you think you could turn down your "rage" knob a teensy bit? It's fine to have strong opinions, but let's keep it respectful. I also look forward to seeing your improvements to our documentation. :)

Trunkhorn’s picture

I'm only assuming that because he just wrote that he's staying away from Drupal because he doesn't want to assume it's interface is correct, but is using all of these other services in its place, which will likely implant in his mind that those interfaces are correct. See? Since I didn't make the argument you described, I can't really see much of a flaw to what I pointed out.

I can definitely turn it down, but there is a certain smug and lofty aura around "usability" and usability designers which must be shattered before we can take these things seriously. I don't like these dictates handed down by elders, and I don't like the lack of transparency behind the reasons for such a push.

It's quite obvious this is a wordpress like play since it would be the most direct competitor to a dumbed down drupal.

The only way to improve the documentation from this point would be to build a separate site like what drupalmodules does for modules. No offense, but there is simply no organization ethic in this place. It's a blue bowl of alphabet soup, and you have to stir around for a half hour to find a T, all with the bold assumption that a T is actually in bowl to begin with.

rickvug’s picture

I'll take the flame bait once again. :) I'm not sure where the lack of transparency comes in. See for Dries' initial announcement of this initiative. This is not about dumbing Drupal down. It is about making it easier to use (there is a difference). I also think that this is also about expanding Drupal's market and keeping the project healthy. The "simple" tools are getting more technologically advanced. If Drupal is to compete, it must make creating ANY type of site easier. If a fantastic UX is paired with Drupal's technology, D7+ could become a dominant platform and large-scale disruptive technology. Many in the Drupal community see this opportunity and are rooting for, and working on, the project's continued success.

Rick Vugteveen | @rickvug on Twitter

karschsp’s picture

Hey! HELP!

I see that you're a (relatively) new member to the Drupal community...This is an open source project. If you find the doc lacking, please join and try to make things better

If you want to help with code, then by all means, help with code! I suggest starting out in the novice queue:

In other words: WE NEED YOU!

Seriously. Let's turn negatives into positives (and all that hippie stuff!)

Jose Reyero’s picture

1. We're NOT trying to make Drupal like Wordpress...

Good to know, otherwise it would be faster just downloading Wordpress.

...That would be a bad move. We're trying to make Drupal have an awesome User Experience for the 80% (as we said in the Exp. Strategy).

Your 80% of the users just want a ready to use blogging tool. Um... like Wordpress?

mthart’s picture

Jose, I'm guessing you're being a little facetious here about 80% of users wanting a blogging tool, but it seems that's the assumption by many posters here.

I think the key point is that when we say "users", we are NOT just referring to end-users, we are referring to ALL users of Drupal: developers, themers, admins, writers, business owners, everyday bloogers, etc.

I'd love to see a break-down of user types that shows who this "80%" actually is, as maybe it turns out to be primarily made up of devs.

If that indeed turns out to be the case, then the focus of the usability work should be to improve the developer user experience, and then leave the responsibility to them to build a intuitive, usable Drupal UI for their clients. ;)

Do we have a break down?

Did I miss it somewhere?

saltcod’s picture

This is a great thread, and this is a great point from Mark's last post: We *need* to maintain a distance.

I think you're exactly right. I know Drupal inside and out and I find it shocking to watch other people struggle with basic functionality.

Promoting something to the frontpage, doubles in taxonomy terms, WYSIWYG, book navigation vs menus vs taxonomy terms, etc etc.... Let alone trying to INSTALL Drupal.

Its obvious that Drupal is light years ahead of all the others with functionality and architecture, and also obvious that its even more light years behind the others in UX. Bringing in Mark and Lisa will make all the difference. A fresh set of 4 eyes to poke and prod at Drupal is exactly what it needs - hardcore Drupal developers are not the ones to do this. We already know that we have the flush the cache when we make a change to a .tpl.php file.


AlanT’s picture

Yes, having installation profiles will probably be the best solution here, as it can give those who want a very simply site exactly what they want "out of the box" while still giving those who want to create a custom site the option to do so.

One thing to look at is the way Facebook works. I don't use it myself, but my wife does. It's very easy for her (a non-techie, with very little website experience) to set up her "page" the way she wants and to interact with the rest of the system.

Something else to look at is the way applications like YUMEX work for the Linux newbie (like me). I love being able to search for new programs and install them at a click of a button. And automatic upgrades are wonderful! Drupal could easily do this, and it can be "turned off" on the highly-customized sites. Maybe this feature could be turned off for individual modules, so selected modules give a notice rather than updating themselves.

I've had a lot of experience with website software, having used Postnuke, Envolution, LDU, Sedito, and maybe a few other CMSs, as well as several shopping carts, affiliate management programs, ad trackers, etc.

Even with all this experience, there are many things about Drupal that seem to be non-intuitive for me. It seems every time I add FCKeditor to a new installation, I cannot get it to work without digging around to figure it out. Activating blocks for each theme separately seems counter-intuitive to me -- I should be able to activate a block and have it show up in every theme. And why don't the forums LOOK like forums?

There are just a few examples of how Drupal "is broken" for me. I wouldn't dare try to get a non-techie to install and configure it. Yes, it's MUCH better than it used to be, but as others have said, there's a long way to go.

Installation profiles will go a long way to fixing this, and automatic module installation and updates will help even more. And having a WYSIWYG editor "out of the box" is essential in my opinion. Sure, being able to switch it out for something else is good, but at least have SOMETHING to start with.

**** EDIT *******

Here's another example. I came to the site -- clicked "Reply" to a particular comment -- was directed to login -- was given a comment submit form -- and the comment did not get applied under the comment I originally tried to reply to.

- Alan Tutt

Exceptional Personal Development for Exceptional People

Paul Natsuo Kishimoto’s picture

This is needed and welcome, and I'll try and devote some time to it when I can find it.

One thing that makes UX hard is theming. If everyone's work goes out the window as soon as a user switches away from Garland, that is work that has unfortunately been wasted! This emphasizes why it's important to address issues at the conceptual level first.

Incidentally, Mark & Leisa, you need to invert that chart! User-tools-on-top is a carryover from diagrams e.g. of the linux kernel and similar, where the "bottom" is the "bare metal". Most leadership and organizational frameworks I've seen, however, have the details (what, where, how) below the justification (why, who) and the global goals.

@ the OMFG-you-use-WordPress-ers: do any of you use other Free Software? The LAMP stack? Macs? Do you complain about Windows and/or Microsoft? Part of the problem with Windows is that it was historically a software monoculture. Because everyone was using the same software, no one stepped back and said, "Wow, this is really operating in a monumentally stupid, cruft-filled way."

With Vista and now Windows 7, it is undeniable that the Linux and Mac desktops have forced changes (good changes, if badly implemented) on Microsoft. Even within the Linux desktop, KDE and GNOME spur each other on. Apache is driven by Cherokee, Tomcat, lighttpd. MySQL and PostgreSQL push one another. This is the nature of open source development.

The cognitive dissonance lies not in the use of WP, but in your whining about it.

Finally: use video! Some of the comments thus far highlight that the barrier to understanding some of the things Drupal does is conceptual; i.e. "What is a node, and what can I do with it?"

Rather than get rid of the node to solve this problem ("cut off one's nose to spite one's face"), why not provide a set of very short video walkthroughs hosted on YouTube, or elsewhere? "The 80%" can view Flash-based video online, so give them the chance to view clips that bring them up to speed. The narration can be defined, translated, and recorded by volunteers.

I am influenced here by ; my thought is that if the whole global recession can be so well communicated in only 11 minutes, then it shouldn't take more than 1 minute to cover Drupal's consistent internal logic. Also, we see screencasts done so well (by lullabot and others) for the developer/administrator audience; it follows they can be done well for new users, too.

Keep up the good work!

saltcod’s picture

@Neato: good point about the global recession. If that takes 11 minutes.....Drupal should take.....

Also good pt about Wordpress. I think it would be healthy to admit that Wordpress does an unbelievable job at integrating their design with their workflow. In terms of absolute usability, I've never used anything quite like Wordpress; its functional, beautiful and inviting.

minesota’s picture

The user experience needs to be simpler, easier and better - this seems to be the task at hand.
My suggestions and thoughts ( apart from the comments I already made)

- focus everything into one and only one place, there seems to be at least 4 different uri the opening post is asking to click at ( think of "bug"s in software, you sort and solve in one place, not three )

- if the usabilty is "bugged" or there are issues with it, please please handle it issue-list style so that we know one thing is fixed and can move on to another or how much % of the work is done and what is left and can label priorities eg. critical etc

- for example "Make the most frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable. 2. Design for the 80%" does not say anything about what are the most frequent tasks to whom or how we have arrived at a consensus of opinion about who or what comprises the 80%

- make use of poll, intelligently, if needed along with issue list

- long verbosities and lack of short , to-the-point pithy statements at D7ux site... but I may be wrong and if so I apologize in advance

- what are the real guides to usabilty issues ? the forum feedbacks, blog feedbacks, the issue lists at over so many years - there is actually huge, raw, useful and much more practical than lab tests data lying here in this site - if necessary do a data-mining of this by professional experienced data mining firms

- review of the team - I and some more people here probably would have liked but this has gone too far already and Dries (and other 'core' people ) is absolutley convinced of the ability of the team, so there is no place of either logic or rant.

seaneffel’s picture

Meh, polls should be fields that we can stick on any node with Fields API (formerly CCK). Just saying.

All the other points I wanted to make about UX have been made already.

chrisbeaman’s picture

I'm a Drupal noob and though I now know my way around the admin panel, I remember trying to figure it all out a few months ago and being thoroughly frustrated. What I feel like might have helped me are visual aids. As is asked in the YouTube videos above, what is a "page" and what is a "story?" What happens when I click "submit?" Does it publish my content?

Maybe it would be helpful to have pop-up boxes that explain things to people. You hover over a little question mark and a box pops up with your answer. In addition to this, it might be helpful to have pictures, as in, "if you do this (or click this), this is what will happen." Perhaps these also could be little icon-sized screenshots that when hovered over pop up.

I think it would be helpful to have an opening page for each Drupal install that asks "How familiar are you with Drupal?" The radio buttons you could click would be: First Time, Beginner and Advanced. Each install would provide varying degrees of tips and vocabulary-simplification based on the user's choice in familiarity.

People give up on Drupal out of frustration and confusion. If we had an opening page which asked for their level of familiarity, with each setting tailored to their needs, then we'd have a much better chance of engaging their interest. Also, the install process is really boring, so some pop-up boxes and/or a tutorial video would make it much more interactive.

An afterthought: It might also help to have two links on this opening radio button page. One would be "What's new in Drupal 7" and the other would be "A Guide to the installation process." In the second of the two, there would be an overview of how to interact with the little tip-generating question marks and screenshot thumbnails, but there would also be links to, documentation, forums and paid help.

I'd be willing to make PSDs of these ideas. I don't even know if these types of suggestions are appreciated but if they are, let me know where I could send images of the Drupal install I envision. Thanks

Sophia’s picture

I can absolutely relate to that!!! First time I created a Drupal site, indeed, I spent 3 hours trying to figure out what to do next. Choices, choices, ok, let's add a page. Page added, now what? Nothing happened! Another page added, same thing, story added, ah! Something changed, it showed on the frontpage. So, what's the use of a page??? And what else can I do?

Until I found out that you can add pages to the frontpage as well, and add it to the menu, but choices again, primary menu, secondary menu, navigation menu... what does what, what goes where, oh the struggles!

Amazon’s picture

I'd be willing to make PSDs of these ideas. I don't even know if these types of suggestions are appreciated but if they are, let me know where I could send images of the Drupal install I envision. Thanks

You can add your PSD's in the Drupal flickr group

Thanks for getting the intention of the post.


Kieran Lal

rvk’s picture

I fully agree with this suggestion. Actually some of this could even be done with some very simple pre-published nodes.

A fresh install of drupal comes with one node. This node disappears as soon as the drupal newbie posts his first node and publishes it to the front page.

Usually this is already a bit premature, since at that stage the newbie can still profit from all the info in the first node. So if it would be up to me, this node would not disappear until the informed user wants it to.

I don't know who wrote this node, but it definitely contains a lot of very useful information. Why shouldn't we expand on this a bit more?

Let's say a fresh install would come with three nodes.

  1. the very helpful and concise 'beginner's guide' it already comes with
  2. a page with title example page and link to it in the primary menu. This page should only contain text such as: "this is an example page. When you create a page, it does not automatically posted to the front page. Unless you create a link to it visitors will not be able to find it. However you can change this default behavior.
  3. A story that is posted to the front page saying something similar.

I think there should also be two blocks (or so) with titles such as "example block 1" and "example block 2" containing some text such as "this is an example block. On the administer blocks page you can decide where blocks should come on your website, or turn them on or off.

Obviously, these texts (in the nodes and in the blocks) should have links to administration pages. So all in all it would basically just be more of the same. However, I think many newbies at first struggle with very simple issues such as the infamous "where did my first node go?" If a basic install comes with a bit more "on-site instructions" I am sure that the number of truly newbie questions on the forums would go down a bit, and also the first introduction to drupal would be a bit smoother.

This would be truly simple since drupal itself would not need any alterations for this to work. Naturally screencasts, ToolTips etc. would be very nice to have as well, but a bit less simple make (and to translate/maintain) I guess. Of course it is possible to link to all sorts of things from the first nodes.

sapark’s picture

I have had users leave me and my Drupal-powered wiki sites for pbwiki (example: which to me looks a lot like the basics of Drupal! but with easier navigation ie the directions and 'create a new whatever' links on the pre-enabled blocks. The user just needs to read the first page to begin adding content...from the first page!

matt.lutze’s picture

We can look to adventure/"side scrolling" video games from the last few years as a great implementation of this. The clearest example I can think of is Call of Duty 4 -- completely integrated into the beginning is essentially the "Are you a n00b to first-person shooters? Play the game with this level first. Know what you're doing? Skip to the action."

leisareichelt’s picture

I've been offline in a workshop all day, and have only a few minutes to respond, so here are some initial thoughts on the feedback so far. I'll get back with some more specific responses soon.

who are the 80%

who are the 80% of people we refer to? yes, some of them are people who want to make blogs, but the vast majority are your clients, or your coworkers - they're the content team at MTV who have to publish the latest news on Michael Jackson, they're the marketing team at Sony BMG who have to make a website for the next big rock star, they're Obama's team at the Whitehouse keeping us all up to date on it's a whole bunch of smart people for whom interacting with Drupal is a part of their every day work.

at the moment, a lot of people are doing a lot of work customising interfaces to make them usable, running hour after hour of training so that people can 'learn' Drupal to just publish some content online, fielding support calls throughout the day... spending hours that could be spent making Drupal even more powerful.

these 80% are not dumb, but they're not Drupal developers and neither should be. Chances are they've seen a bunch of different content management systems. they should be able to use Drupal without being made to feel dumb.

simple != dumbing down

there is absolutely no relationship between making Drupal easier for these people to use and making Drupal less powerful or less sophisticated. we respect the importance of the Developer Experience (DX) - but you guys are here to talk about your experience and what needs fixing. We're here to represent those who aren't here in the community but who are a big part of the reason we, the Drupal community, *are* here.

wordpress, schmwordpress

yes, we are using Wordpress as a tool to communicate in this project. As @webchick pointed out, we're using a bunch of different tools. I don't know what the fixation on Wordpress is and why there is an assumption that we would use it as a model for Drupal. Yes, Wordpress has pretty nice UX. But is is just one of many content management systems that Mark & I have been exposed to as users and designers of dozens of different content management systems, both open source and commercial and custom built, over the past decade or so. We'll be drawing on ALL of that, as well as our developing Drupal knowledge and, with your assistance, the vast resource that is the Drupal community as we move forward on this project.

we're listening

we've had some tough things to listen to today, but we're listening. we're working hard to make sure that as many people know about this project as possible so that you can shape it. this *is* a big opportunity - please continue to engage with us and lets work productively to get to the best possible outcome - a Drupal that continues to be incredibly powerful, but that also gives good UX to the people who take what we make and continue to grow it through creating and managing content and communities.

more soon!

x-posted at

minesota’s picture

How usable is the platform/system to solve the usability issues ??
In case you missed :

- focus everything into one and only one place, there seems to be at least 4 different uri the opening post is asking to visit ( think of "bug"s in software, you sort and solve in one place, not three )

- please please handle things in an issue-list style so that we know/determine what exactly to fix and can label priorities eg. critical etc

- call polls, intelligently, to see opinions if needed along with issue list

- cut out long verbosities and use short, to-the-point pithy statements

- have you used the real guides to usabilty issues ? the forum feedbacks, the issue lists at over so many years - there is actually huge, raw, useful and much more practical than lab tests or conferences data lying here in this site - if necessary do a data-mining of this by professional experienced data mining firms

Amazon’s picture

Dude, you really need to go to a Drupalcon, so we can take you out for a night of Drupal revelry.


Kieran Lal

webchick’s picture

- one and only one place: is the single place. Everything of importance, regardless of where it is, will be aggregated there. This post is being cross-posted here only to get more Drupal folks involved in the discussions, the goal being that when this is all said and done we can go "Ok, cool. That's what we talked about!" rather than "OMG WHAT IS THAT???" :)

- issue-list style: This project is not yet at the point where we can make actionable issues. We're in "big thinking", "sky's the limit", etc. mode. Issue queues are exactly the *wrong* tool to use for this kind of big thinking. They are for when you have a clear, actionable plan of attack and want to get going on implementing it.

If you're keen to get involved fixing stuff, there are several actionable issues that the usability team identified as part of their formal usability studies at University of Baltimore prior to Drupalcon. You can find that over at with cross-references to both the Drupal issues that have patches/discussion as well as the videos of participants who had these issues (which by and large very closely mirror Mark and Leisa's experience).

- polls: Again, we're in "big thinking", "sky's the limit" etc. mode. You can't do this with a poll. Polls might come into use later when we have to make a decision between finite choice A, B, and C, but right now we're still discovering what the choices are, who we're asking, etc. It's all very early in the process, which is why it's essential to start participating now!

- cut out long verbosities: Personally, I like having background about what things are being considered, the full nuances of things to think about, etc. If every blog post was a bulleted list, I would probably be far less inclined to participate, as I imagine others would as well. So big -1 from me.

Now, if you want to go through and summarize the content on and cross-post it to the Usability group as a service for those who are pressed for time, that'd probably be a valuable service for some folks out there. But don't impose your time constraints/impatience/whatever on those of us who want to get totally immersed in this project and make the most of it.

- data-mining: Mark and Leisa are working very closely with the usability team, have seen the footage out of University of Baltimore, have talked one on one with hundreds of community members at Drupalcon, and also have a lot of background info that they gleaned as a result of the d.o redesign process. Creating more charts and more spreadsheets to analyze is going to slow them down at this point; not make the process better.

That said, if there is a particular piece of evidence that seems relevant to a topic of discussion at, by all means bring it up! We know more about Drupal than they do, and they're counting on us to represent our interests in this project so we can all be satisfied with the results.

minesota’s picture

- - one and only one place : Thanks ! but there are at least 4 different uri in the opening post. Its necessary to cross-post here and I was not complaining about xpost here but you can cut out the others or import any relevant data to the "central" place

- - issue-list style: issue lists does not mean "actionable" stuffs always .. there are support requests and feature requests (which are basically big and small ideas) . Unless the thing is organized how do we proceed ? Chalking down "big thinking" things in small bits is also "issues"
(( And when things start taking shape will you use "issue tracker" ? Is wp equally good at that ? If not Will you again shift the website of action then ?? ))

-- polls : You said ""big thinking", "sky's the limit" etc. mode. You can't do this with a poll."
When you think, you think of some choices always - otherwise how do you let know what you are thinking. Polls can be done very well at this stage at least on some or few issues but I said that as an additional tool only.

-- cut out long verbosities: I did not follow you. We are not discussing blog literature here. Sorry. I apologize.

-- data-mining: Sorry, this team is not a data-mining firm. What you say is far, far from data-mining. (( also not clear how without 'analyzing' they are going to proceed or make things better)). I have no objection in them doing design or re-design but data-mining is different and done by different people.

Probably in sum-up ... all that you want say is a NO to all of the above proposals :)

Noyz’s picture

...that are more aware of the issues that live amongst many issue ques. Since the start of this effort, myself and others have been helping to inform Liesa and Mark by pumping these issues/solutions to Mark & Leisa.

I agree with webchick, it's too early to create issues now. At present, the goal is to look at all the issues, identify possible solutions, test those solutions, and if they work, and the community agrees - then create a list.

chx’s picture

Thanks for this post,this old curmudgeon here feels a lot better and fears the future a lot less.

Drupal development: making the world better, one patch at a time. | A bedroom without a teddy is like a face without a smile.

coreyp_1’s picture

BTW: I have re-read my post, and it seems as though my language is a bit stronger than I had intended. I do not feel malice, but I do feel strongly about the points I make. For that matter, I was trying to communicate the frustrations of so many of the developers. I do not question Mark Boulton's skill or professional abilities, but I wanted to demonstrate why the community is less-than-receptive to this post.

I am rejecting you now. You asked me to, right? :)


  1. Don't insult my intelligence. This was in your first video, with your torn paper illustrations, as though I am incapable of understanding your spoken word. I am busy, and it wasted my time.
  2. You don't understand *why* Drupal does things the way it does, so you attack the concepts upon which it is built. Rather, what you should be doing is addressing presentation, which is where the fault lies. Intentionally or not, this is why you have drawn the ire of so many here.

    Your speech hints that you are trying to change the construction of what we believe is a well-oiled machine (i.e., the core api's, how nodes function, taxonomy, etc.). In reality, you may only desire to improve the presentation to the user. If that is the case, then please clarify your intent. As it stands, your videos, albeit well-intentioned, sound like an attack on the core of Drupal itself.

  3. People with no knowledge of Drupal are NOT best qualified to discuss it's usability, just as a fifth grader is not qualified to discuss how fractions should be taught. Why? Because neither has adequate understanding of the material in question.

    Who is best qualified to renovate the teaching methods of fractions to fifth graders? Those who teach fifth graders, of course! Why? because they know what concepts are important for the understanding of what skills and comprehension will be necessary in higher order mathematics. In addition, they have repeatedly taught the same material, answered the same questions, and surmounted the same obstacles year after year. They know where the problems are because they specialize in overcoming them.

    In the same way, the people most qualified to renovate Drupal are the people who teach people how to work with Drupal. The developers. Beginners can claim, "I don't understand this," and that is fine, but if they are truly a beginner then they can only voice their lack of comprehension... they cannot re-design the object, because they don't understand it in the first place!

  4. The user interface is not broken, just as the current interface to Word is not broken. Either one is confusing if you don't understand the concepts behind it. Once you understand what a taxonomy does, then you know why it is designed like it is, and suddenly the admin screens make sense. Once you know that a page, story, picture, blog post, etc. is a type of content, then it makes sense to click on the "Create Content" menu item when you want to post something new. I don't know why people think that this type of thing should be moved into the Administration menu... especially since many users are not administrators!
  5. Don't LIE to me. This is either your first time to install Drupal or it is not. If it is, then you are not qualified to re-define it as you see fit. If it is not, then you lied in the video. If you are playing "Devil's advocate", then say so, but do not lie to me. I will not respect you.
  6. Don't complain about an error message. It was in red because it is important. Permissions are a thing that the Drupal scripts cannot change on all web servers, so the user has to do it. The script tries, and when it can't do it because of the server configuration, you get an error message so that you can protect your site.
  7. If you claim to want to re-design Drupal, but are not willing to learn why things are like they are, then I will not listen to you. If you want to change Drupal, and yet explicitly refuse to get to know how and why things work, and are intent on relying on your current biases toward certain CMS's which are fundamentally different from Drupal, then you are either lazy, indifferent, or incompetent. If you intentionally keep yourself distanced from Drupal, then you demonstrate one of these three qualities and as such have disqualified yourself from the job.

Wow... that sounded a lot angrier and judgmental than I intended. The passion is intended, but not the hostility.


JohnForsythe’s picture

Good post, I think you capture a lot of the sentiment here.

Also, +1 on passion vs hostility. On a message board, it's very difficult to speak passionately about a subject without coming off as being mean or angry. I know this has been a problem for myself, and I think many people would admit the same.

minesota’s picture

I agree completely

aac’s picture

I do agree with coreyp!
I have seen all the three videos. But i don't think any newcommer who is trying to start to learn a new cms will do like this without reading any tutorial/document. The videos send the message that both of them are new to internet and web or they are pretending to be like it. It was complete wastage of time.


seaneffel’s picture

I teach Drupal for a living, primarily to users who are touching Drupal for the first time. My job is largely in translating what core developers intended for the code to do into what real people intend to use it for. I've personally watched all kinds of people tackle and fail at almost every aspect of core in some of the most painful ways.

In my strictest opinion, it is the people who have no knowledge of Drupal who are MOST qualified to discuss and critique its usability. If they can't grasp it then they can't adopt it and they can't contribute to its success down the road.

I'm personally hoping for a usability arms race. The winner, the one with the least mystification of its user base, would dominate the market.

Trunkhorn’s picture

Like I suppose how Apple dominates the OS market.

There is a reason that usability isn't what drives success, because the people who won't go through the rigor to learn how software works typically lack the passion or drive to create the type of things the software would allow them to create.

The type of people you are ultimately talking about are people who get a blogger account and only make one post. Turns out they didn't care much for blogging after all.

Why make drupal another contributor to internet garbage when blogger and wordpress already do that so brilliantly?

seaneffel’s picture

You're advocating that Drupal's complicated UX is good because it prevents certain people from participating on the internet?

perkywebdesign’s picture

yeah, I agree, makes no sense.

Some people do only use wordpress to create one blog posts, but others use wordpress and create empires with thousands upon thousands of users.

Come on guys, don't think like programmers, otherwise you'd all be creating your own personal CMS's.

If you're going to create a new Drupal, make it simple or it won't compete with Buddypress (Wordpress MU), Elgg, etc etc

(PS. Drupal's biggest challenge is the maintenance and updating of Modules, which is in a very bad state. What will we do to fix this?)

Gábor Hojtsy’s picture

Don't complain about error messages? My takeaway from that error message complaint was that it is distracting mid-process, while you are setting up your site. It can always be presented at the end of the installation on the summary screen. Just like it will *always* appear on the site status summary under your reports section. The Drupal 7 installer already does a better job to do a requirements check before the installation (unlike Drupal 6 which only ever checks and chokes on one requirement, getting you to repeat the checking all the time again). This same principle can be carried over to how errors to be dealt with after the installation can be presented. (The installation video above does not show that requirements checking at the start, since all requirements were met I guess).

The point I am trying to make is that once you keep a distance from "this is how Drupal does it and how it will do it" to "wow, yeah, that is awkward, even though Drupal does that for a reason", then you can make it to do it but do it better.

leisareichelt’s picture

hi Corey

thanks so much for taking the time to write up these thoughts, which seem to have touched a chord with several others, and certainly make sense to me. We *did* ask you all to reject us now (or, at least, our ideas!), and we are really pleased that so much conversation has kicked off around this project now, at the beginning, when we can take it all into account rather than at the end when all the work has been done.

a few notes in response:

Video & Paper
I'm not exactly sure which video you're talking about as we use paper in a lot of our videos... in fact, we use paper a *lot* in our process at this stage. It's how we think things through and try out ideas and then throw them away or refine them. It's not intended to come across in any way as patronising or to waste your time. It's intended to help us share with you the way that we work, what we're doing, how we're thinking. There will be more paper, I'm afraid. Lots more. We know some people are finding seeing this stuff interesting and helpful, if you find it a waste of time, feel free to ignore. I am going to do my best to ensure that all of the key points that we make in the videos are also transcribed in text in the blog post. If you don't want to watch the video, you won't miss anything important. (And if someone sees something important that I haven't transcribed, please let me know and I'll amend).

you don't know Drupal, you don't understand Drupal or why things are as they are, Drupal's UX isn't broken etc.

Mark & I had never successfully gotten thru a Drupal7 install or set up a site in Drupal 7 before, no. We have both used earlier versions of Drupal from time to time over the years, but not recently. We have used LOTS of different Content Management Systems/Frameworks in the past and have been closely involved in their design - not only from an interface design perspective or from a user journey perspective, but also have had close exposure to the technical architecting of these kinds of systems.

no, we don't know the intricacies of *exactly* how Drupal works, but we 'get it' at a meta-level. However, for the audience that we are here to predominantly represent, even that is *too much* knowledge. We need to think with our 'users' hat on, not our technical architects hats (which is good, as neither of us are technical architects!). As we move through the design process we firstly focus on what the user needs to do and map that out. We look at all kinds of things for inspiration - other CMS interfaces, interfaces for things that aren't CMSs, our experience on other projects. Then we go BACK to Drupal and see how what Drupal does maps to what the user needs to do and move things around so that the two work together as best they can. If we get too familiar with Drupal now, all we will see is Drupal - and that would make it virtually impossible for us to do our job.

I can tell you this now, and I can also tell you how much esteem we have for the way that Drupal is put together as compared to other systems... but that's just words. Far better that you see that, going forward, in the way that we address the design challenges that we hope to address, working closely with the community to do so - to understand both the ways that users want a CMS to work, and the technical framework in which we are working.

There is *no* dispute that for a significant proportion of the potential audience for Drupal (and I'm not talking about bloggers here), Drupal is a poor user experience. I cannot tell you how many people have sought me out to share this sentiment with me, and the Usability Team have conducted a load of user testing that shows this - check out for some videos of recently conducted usability testing.

People feel dumb when they use Drupal - partly because the people who made Drupal are so smart - it's intimidating. These are not feelings that we want people to have. We want them to share our passion for Drupal.

You can argue, if you like, that these people are not the target audience for Drupal. That's a discussion for the community to have, but you are severely restricting the potential of Drupal if you want to take that line. There is no reason why the people in our 80% (your clients, your coworkers, people who 'run' the amazing sites you guys build) cannot have a fantastic user experience while Drupal CONTINUES to be the incredible, powerful and sophisticated piece of software that is is. These two goals are not incompatible.

We love that you are all so passionate about Drupal. It's kind of scary, and we get a little bruised in the face of it all, but it beats working on a project where people don't care. We're passionate about this project too, so I expect there will probably be a little more of this as we move forward - but I want to thank you all for taking the time and energy to engage with us - and please continue to do so.

coreyp_1’s picture


First of all, thank you for your response. I'm sorry that mine did come across so strongly, and you have been much more diplomatic that was I.

I suppose that there really are two types of users. There are the developers, those of us who write modules and custom themes (power users, so to speak), and there are people who could care less about development and just want a website.

To use a Microsoft example, it sounds like you are wanting to take away Word and give us Wordpad. (I realize that this probably isn't the case, but again I'm referring to the perception of the message.) The first thing that goes through my mind is that I cannot build the caliber of websites from which I make my living if options (and therefore flexibility) disappear, even if it is in the name of simplifying the user interface.

I do not believe that anyone is worried that, by making Drupal easier for average users, it will put them out of a job. I believe that they are worried that stripping away options will make their job more difficult or even impossible. Obviously, this would injure Drupal more than anything, hence the strong reactions. That is where I see the concern.

We care about Drupal because of what we have invested into it, and we do not want to see it injured.

I actually look forward to the melding of these two perspectives, and I am not afraid of change. I've been with Drupal for a long time... long enough to know that change is generally for the best. It is good as long as we do not compromise Drupal's power or flexibility.


saltcod’s picture

Another classic internet moment. I suspect that your sentiment wouldn't be expressed in this manner if you were expressing it face to face.

>"Don't LIE", "Don't complain", "Don't insult my intelligence"

I just really want to chime in here and encourage civil discourse. Imagine Mark and Lisa's position. Lets try and help them out, not make them get their backs up and have to be defensive - this will do absolutely nothing for the cause.

Dries’s picture

With statements like "Don't insult my intelligence" and "Don't LIE to me" you are taking this way too personal in my opinion.

I don't feel offended or attacked by Mark and Leisa, so I wonder why so many others are. I think this is an opportunity to make Drupal better. The willingness to listen and adapt, and the ability to keep an open mind and collaborate, have been key to Drupal's success. These are the core values of our community!

I think the underlying reasons for people to feel attacked are often selfish reasons. People invested a lot of their personal time and energy in learning Drupal. Because the steep and long learning curve, they are (unconsciously) worried that this time investment becomes void, that they will have to re-learn parts of Drupal, that it might affect their Drupal income/revenue, etc.

A lot of people don't like to take one step backwards, in order to be able to make several steps forward. People that can't think big, or that aren't visionaries, are more affected by this than those who can/are. Leaders care about the project at large, followers care about their own self-interests. There is no good or wrong in that, and I'm not judging people's opinions, but I think that is what is at play. A lot of people are afraid of change. It is human nature.

However, I do think this is illustrated by the fact that you, and several others, seem to take this personal.

coreyp_1’s picture

Yes, I said that the language was a little strong, but those are the thoughts that come to mind.

For the record, I'm glad that we are focusing on Usability Improvements. Very glad, actually, and I plan on participating a lot. My post was trying to explain why there was such a strong reaction by so many to the main post. It's not that people are concerned about usability improvements, but that it came across as though they were intent on fundamentally altering what Drupal is.... at least that's how they came across in the videos.

I know that that is NOT what they meant, but that is how it was perceived, and my post tried to explain the response that ensued.

Most of my objections were based on the tone of their critique, not on the critique itself. Again, I was reflecting on why it set people off.

I do have two objections, though, that bother me very much. (1) They don't want to get to know Drupal, and (2) They use Wordpress for the site about Drupal Usability enhancement.

I see this as a point of mockery toward Drupal. It would be like Bill Gates owning an iPhone. So, when Drupal needs to fix a broken UI, they turn to Wordpress? That may not be the reality of what is happening, but that is the perception, and it's embarrassing.


catch’s picture

While Mark has used Drupal before, I don't think Leisa has (or at least the installation on that video was done on a system where the database etc. had already been set up by a core developer - since initial attempts by Leisa to do it from scratch on Dreamhost failed - I don't know much beyond that).

So, it's quite possible for Leisa to have been doing the install for the first time, and for Mark to have been sitting next to her playing devils advocate, without either of them having lied. I can't speak for them but that seems like a reasonable interpretation.

Also if you think they were hamming it up a bit too much - check out

Dries’s picture

There is a lot of good feedback in this thread. However, to many of you: do me a favor and (i) don't panic, (ii) think bigger and (iii) keep an open mind. If you violate (i), (ii) or (iii), your comments in this thread are going to look really silly when Drupal 7 is released. Have faith, we've done big and good things before ...

minesota’s picture

How ...( ok ..You answered in *edit*) ....
Same i ii iii to be kept in mind at the other end also :D

... 'good things done before' but were done in a different way ... analyze the opposition .... or just use the good feedback , cut out the rest that is not good ;\

and lots of regards to you Dries :)

perkywebdesign’s picture

...something is done about increasingly outdated and unmaintained Modules that get left behind with every new release of Drupal. I know they're contributed additions and not developed by Drupal itself, but if the Module Crisis isn't addressed, Drupal will just become more and more frustrating to use and less simpler, making Elgg, Wordpress MU, Buddypress more attractive.

Please address this and thank you to all who are working on this project!

robertDouglass’s picture

Please try to keep the discussion on track. Nobody disagrees with you that managing the beast that is contrib is hard ... it is. It is a problem that needs refinement and smart solutions. But this post and the D7UX campaign aren't trying to fix that problem, so don't bring it up here. Thanks.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

perkywebdesign’s picture

This forum is called "How we will make Druapl 7 simple to use".

Modules have absolutely everything to do will the Drupal core as these extensions expand usability. If you choose to ignore this then no matter how simple you make Drupal 7, it will be uncompetitive with other CMS solutions available.

I see my post and questions as a contribution because nobody has addressed this topic yet, nor outlined whether this situation regarding the Module updating and maintenance is actually going to be considered.

If it's not going to be considered, then we will have a new friendly Drupal core that less people will use because there won't be great modules to extend it's functionality with. How can this be off-topic?

dman’s picture

Drupal CMS,, the Drupal community, and Drupal contrib are different branches.
This is about Drupal 7 CMS.
Findability of drupal modules is foremost a issue, and is being addressed in a different place.
Integration of contrib modules and the CMS UI is worth looking at, but not part of core UI.
Just as Windows is not Microsoft Word (and frequently confused as being the same thing), asking for suggestions on making Windows better is not a place to complain about Word behaviour. Less so in the Drupal community where it's not even the same developers :-)

The Drupal UI overhaul can (and IMO should) come up with both tools and guidelines for better contrib frameworks. Y'know, like Apple does. But making contrib developers do stuff different is not what this is about. This is about making the out-of-the-box part work better.

There are missions underway to continue that work, but this is not that.

perkywebdesign’s picture

the comparison of microsoft/word and drupal/modules is not the same, office is separately developed from windows, as are the modules with Drupal BUT increasing is the trend that when a version of Drupal is released, modules get left behind, don't get updated, and fade into oblivion of only being available for version 4.x.....

why i bring it up here? Well let's say i download and install D7. Then i upload all my favourite plugins. PROBLEM: a third of the plugins don't work on D7. Now I know that some of them will eventually (over months) get updated. but some won't. either way i'm frustrated because now I have a usability problem: i can't use Drupal the way I want to.

What might i do? Compare CMSes, find the one with a good record of maintained extensions and change. What's happened? We've released a new Drupal Core, but lost a user. Not because of the core but because of modules. So that's how I see module and core development as being related, closely. This is why I mention it HERE because this thread is about Drupal 7 CMS development.

robertDouglass’s picture

why i bring it up here? Well let's say i download and install D7. Then i upload all my favourite plugins.

The third sentence is where it goes off topic for this thread.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

jdwalling’s picture

Drupal is complex and the trick is to shield users from complexity when it is not needed. There is complexity needed for power and there is unnecessary (redundant cow path) complexity. We need NOT pave the cow paths, but rather create more sensible paths as in the case of the Administration menu. The default menus are dumb menus. The Drupal community can build as many intelligent menus as is needed to help users at different levels of experience and for different user objectives.

Let the user choose from a prepared menu list of menus. The default menu would be for beginners, with options for building blogs, fora, feeds, groups, content, taxonomies, views, etc. If the user is more experienced, she can choose from menus for building/using more complex applications such as one for a small newspaper, a business directory or a membership organization. The menus would help indicate which modules are necessary or missing. Menus are (relatively) easy to understand and can help to manage complexity. Menu permissions would adhere to the user roles.

Intelligent menus don't infinge on the power of Drupal, but instead build on top of it.

Okay: Ready. Aim. Now! Blow this idea out of the water. Ker Powwww!! Kaa Plooooosh!!! Glug! Glug! Glug!

asd123asd5’s picture

I suppose this is a simular idea as preset workspaces inside adobe products. However is this really the best idea? Personally I love working with the default workspaces.

Would it really be so bad to have just 1 menu overhaul? I personally vote for a simple all purpose menu over a list of complex menu's to choose from that may just confuse people trying to give support/instruction and make the user experience from one site to another quite different. Another downside to this would be when people decide to take the next step into developing from administration. They have to learn a whole new menu system?

Marko B’s picture

Just keep drupal hard, powerful and hard as it can be and user unfriendly :-)
I spent last year figuring out everything trying to get ahold of drupal and admin and now you are trying to throw it away :-) with "throwing away" your time.
And on other hand you still have some basic Drupal problems, like just from recently there is multiple images upload for CCK and still in alpha, there are many modules that should be in core and needed in alpha or beta for d6, few months ago i couldnt find gallery for d6 that has everything i need, think there is still no gallery module for CCK and list could go on. Meaning that there are much more important issues to be solved around drupal than making it simple to use. If u are good with drupal you can easily make it simple to the final user/customer to use it, if you are not it should be hard, dont want that every teenager becomes drupal expert and crushes down prices for developing web pages (as if they aren't already rather low). Anyway, keep it powerful first i say :)

Robert Castelo’s picture

Thank you to Acquia for sponsoring this important work.

Could Dries or the Drupal Association give a clear explanation of how the work Mark Bolton Design is doing ties in with the work the rest of the Drupal community is doing?

There may be a misunderstanding that we've completely outsourced Drupal's interface design to Mark Bolton Design, I think it would help Lisa and Mark's suggestions be more warmly received if it's made clear that this is not the case, and that the Drupal community still has a final say on any design decisions, and by 'Drupal community' I mean people actively involved in working on the Usability issue queue at

If any other company had sponsored this it would be perfectly clear, but as Dries is head of Acquia and Drupal there is definitely room for misinterpretation.

Drupal Specialists: Consulting, Development & Training

Robert Castelo, CTO
Code Positive
London, United Kingdom

Dries’s picture

The point of this forum topic and the video is to invite everyone in the Drupal community to help and participate. That should answer your question. ;-)

The process is exactly the same as any other company or individual making a contribution to Drupal -- except that this might be a bigger contribution and a bit more visible.

The point is to avoid making a decision on the final design, but making decisions at every step in the process. That is why Mark and Leisa want people to contribute and speak up now. Like with all things Drupal, those that help and participate will be listened to.

Mark and Leisa are working with, and taking input from, the Drupal community; there have been phone calls with key UX people, e-mail exchange, meetings at DrupalCon DC, discussions on (like this one), and both Mark and Leisa hang out in the Drupal usability channel on IRC.

Meanwhile, we (the community) are working on and committing various other usability improvements unrelated to what Mark and Leisa are working on. Mark and Leisa are only going to tackle a number of usability problems in Drupal. It is impossible for them to resolve all problems, or to dive into every aspect of Drupal. So yes, we need more people and companies working on Drupal usability.

minesota’s picture

Sorry, the answer is not very clear to me. I sincerely apologize.

But in any case things are already fixed ....

Mark and Leisa are only going to tackle a number of usability problems

What are those specifically ? If they are going to tackle only a few problems why are they highlighted so much ? It may be good to announce then at least two more key persons FROM from the Drupal community, namely those who teach or develop for Drupal ..... so that it does not sound its just M & L but rather BOTH group of folks who watch it from so called distance && those who has known the inside from a long time. We will feel at home and better communicate. This will be also a sort of better UI for us for better Drupal UI.

The point of this forum topic and the video is to invite everyone in the Drupal community to help and participate.

Thats great. But however the problem of dissent has arisen probably because the D community could have been called, for the sake of true transparency, much much before to decide/vote on what type of team or who would comprise the team based on what credentials ( that befits something big like Drupal and not just anyone from any other cms or web design experience).

No doubt D 7 will be greater and friendlier than before but some of the ways it will be (eg. slapping an useless video and then asking to ignore it ) ... this trauma could have been avoided.

And BTW ... I find the usabilty site/approach somewhat unusable ( I have detailed elsewhere here) .. also so far I did not understand why all the discussions we are having there could not be had on a subforum or group here. M & L are at the stage of ideas and discussion .... so what's wrong with doing that in an organic group here ?

Regards to you, Dries

Amazon’s picture

I'll provide an explanation from one member of the Drupal association. If you want a formal statement email the association and we can draft a response if necessary.


Section 2: Authority
The community of Drupal developers decides independently on the functionality on the one hand and on planning the development of the Drupal software on the other. The Association shall not have casting vote in such matters.

The Drupal association did hire Mark Boulton Design to lead the redesign of, as that is part of the associations mandate to support the Drupal project, by improving the website. This was done through an open RFP process and the redesign was done in the full view and with participation of the community.

But the association steers clear of funding the Drupal project itself. The association should not hire a design firm to implement a WYSIWIG for Drupal 7 core, even if lots of people think it's a good idea. The Drupal association does not fund core development or design work. The association leaves Drupal development up to the community of developers.

Director of Business Development
Drupal association

Kieran Lal

catch’s picture

Neither Mark nor Leisa are in a position to write Drupal core patches.

While I expect Acquia is planning to devote some engineer time to help get their ideas into patch form on the issue queue, they'll need to go through the community review process like any other patch. I don't think it's in either Dries' or Acquia's interests to alienate core contributors - and those of us with a specific interest in usability are also discussing things with Leisa and Mark in irc on a semi-regular basis - there were also various meetings and discussions at Drupalcon DC about how this whole process might work.

So it seems unlikely to me that something would get pushed in if a large number of core contributors were completely opposed to it. What's most important to me though is that we don't get nearly anywhere near that point by being very critical of early wireframes and ideas and giving intelligent feedback throughout the process. If this process means major changes to the UI, those are going to come with major changes to the code base as well - and that can't happen without the co-operation and active involvement of core contributors to the project.

What worries me most is that we won't have time to get things done properly before code freeze - and again the process needs a lot of early feedback from as many angles as possible so that there's as few rabbit holes and dead ends as possible.

Robert Castelo’s picture

Dries, thanks for the clear statement of principle that Lisa and Mark's suggestions are open to the same critical process by the community that any other contributions to core have to go through.

Amazon, thanks for reminding everyone that the Drupal Association is prohibited from hiring anyone to work on Drupal core, or in any other way direct core development and design.

Catch, thanks for pointing out the practical checks and balances that will enforce the principles Dries set out. You made a really good point that it's in Lisa and Mark's best interests to genuinely take feedback into account, rather than just do 'consultation theatre', as any ideas that don't have good support will just not get worked on later on.

Is it enough to leave this info here or should it be more prominent somewhere else?

Drupal Specialists: Consulting, Development & Training

Robert Castelo, CTO
Code Positive
London, United Kingdom

Brian Tastic’s picture

I don't know if others have pointed this out in their comments, but I think it's useful to add this in anycase, that way you get an indication of how often the same point came up.

what was clear through the two excellent install videos, from a usability standpoint, is that the Drupal install texts was trying to give all users all the information one would need. It was very comprehensive, which would confuse a non-techie.

I suggest right at the start an option is given to the person installing drupal:

Please select
1. easy install mode: if you are an end user/blogger etc
2. expert install mode: if are you an administrator/developer

Then successive processes of text and install procedure can be applied as appropriate.


gidgetk’s picture

As a reference point, I am newish to Drupal, but an experienced build of content enabled sites and work with clients day in/day out. Here's what I see:

Issue #1
Drupal appears to intentionally choose to be different. While this is cool, it is also confusing. People by and large are used to the paradigm of "Admin". You log into the admin to create content and "do things", it looks different. That creates a sense of place and purpose. Every other system I have used has a defined admin that looks and feels different. I know I can create this to some extent by the user of admin themes, etc and that is all great and good, but it is absolutely a part of what most people find disconcerting. There was a time when every website tried to be as different as possible...the days of "mystery meat" navigation and the more creative the better. Then people started to realize that that people expected certain things - upper left logos, top or right navs and people could jump in and use the website instead of exploring and learning how this particular one worked. In my opinion, this is where Drupal UX is on the curve - everything is different because it can be or it should be or it makes intellectual sense but there needs to be some recognition that you have to work at it to get it, and people by and large don't like to have to work at it.

Issue #2
Framing the audience - the statements I am hearing about the audience feel problematic. It truly does come across as "let's make CMS for Idiots", which I know is the not the intent. The videos of Mark and Leisa came across to me as an SNL spoof, really. If you truly truly had that little grasp of what you were doing, you would not have success in any CMS/blogging tool I have used. For example, how do menus get made in Wordpress? Probably through your theme and theme options - Wordpress does not even have a function for menus. If you don't choose a theme with some type of navigation, you need to go get a plug in, or delve into the code to put pages and posts into some type of typical navigation. I would be careful not to point to Wordpress as the mecca of UX - they have made a lot of progress and it is easy to create a plug and play blog. However, most people have difficulty making exactly what they want to happen and instead rely of finding a theme that has that feature or getting a developer involved. Themes do Wordpress heavy lifting.

Trying to clarify a bit why I found the videos so offputting - content managers at Sony BMG or MTV probably aren't figuring out how to create menus or creating sites from scratch. First time users who want a website in a box should probably do a little reading - if you want menus, enable the Primary Links block. In essence, in these videos, who were you really emulating? I truly am having trouble with the 80%. I want the user experience to be better for me and my client users. I want things to be in logical, expected places, to use common names that are familiar to people and easy to explain. As a newer Drupal user, I still find myself "losing" things and thinking, now I know I saw that, where the heck is it.

Issue #3
I think people are taking the issue of Leisa's and Mark's familiarity or lack there of with Drupal too literally. Obviously they need to take the position of outsiders for distance, perspective, etc, but really, do you think they know nothing about it? This website redesign process all seemed a little dubious until the end, when it came together rather beautifully. Given that they have a track record, perhaps a little faith is called for.

dman’s picture

People by and large are used to the paradigm of "Admin". You log into the admin to create content and "do things", it looks different. That creates a sense of place and purpose. Every other system I have used has a defined admin that looks and feels different. I know I can create this to some extent by the user of admin themes, etc and that is all great and good, but it is absolutely a part of what most people find disconcerting.

- People who have previously used other, Web1.0 CMSs are used to having to go away from their actual content to edit that content.
You may never have used a system that doesn't have a defined 'admin' mode, but I use Photoshop, Fireworks, Open Office, GMail, GoogleDocs and a bunch of other tools like that on a daily basis.
I've done a lot of tutoring, and consistantly, people with no expectations find the in-place page editing of Drupal to be no challenge to understand. It's only the immigrants that get stuck looking for the back-end. So there is an un-learning page for them here

There are plenty of other things that can be fixed for first-timers, but un-making the Drupal front-end editor to mimic Web 1.0 CMSs is a step backwards. It's not just done to be different. It's because it works.

Jeff Burnz’s picture

To me an admin area has possibilities.

- frees the designer/themer from having to think about admin screens
- frees end users from dealing with distracting and unwanted blocks showing up in admin
- clearly delineates to all that this is admin and that is your site
- forces module developers to work within a paradigm/concept
- could drive innovation, maybe hook_module_widget
- - or edit in place per field (quick edit/update title/body/cck field/terms update via AJAX, never leave the node view screen?)

Ideas and change drive innovation, its worth exploring.

glennr’s picture

I want to believe you, Mark and Leisa. I want big improvements to Drupal's usability and I want to keep an open mind, like Dries said. I should be grateful that designer with Mark's credentials is taking on this project, and reassured that some Drupal heavy hitters have so much confidence in this process . . .

The problem is my BS detector is going off big time. It's not the silly videos, which I realise are mostly tongue-in-cheek. It's some of Leisa and Mark's more serious postings, especially that that lame argument about "maintaining a distance" from Drupal. Sorry, but to me, that sounds like a cop-out. If you've been given a job to redesign Drupal's UI, it's ludicrous to think you can't maintain objectivity just because you start using Drupal. (Just because I use Word 2007 every day, doesn't mean I like it, but I'm pretty sure I could assess its strengths and weaknesses better than someone who simply looks at some usability testing and listens to a lot of largely conflicting community feedback).

I'd argue the danger is greater in taking such a hands-off approach -- that the final UI decisions could be too theoretical and over-thought, possibly based on flawed research or compromised "decisions by committee". Vista is a prime example of a software redesign gone wrong, despite massive resources behind it, probably due to those factors above. I'm not denying the importance of community feedback and usability testing, but both need to be carefully assessed and put into context. In the end, someone has to take the leadership role and say this is what we are doing -- and I'm nervous about that role going to someone who not only doesn't use Drupal, but will not use Drupal.

One thing Mark and Leisa have done well is spark debate, by using that proven technique once quaintly called sensationalising (remember newspapers?) and now called traffic trolling. Of course, it's a gross exaggeration that Drupal's usability is broken. If it really was so unusable, nobody would be using it.

To some extent, it's a matter of horses for courses. I'm not a coder or full-time developer, so naturally I tried Wordpress, Joomla and other so-called easier CMSes first. I quickly took a dislike their inflexibility and limitations. By contrast, while I can't say Drupal was easy to learn, I did feel an instant affinity with its "blank canvas" and I was quickly amazed by what I could do with Drupal (even without coding). That's not to say Drupal doesn't need significant usability improvements. It needs to be much simpler for end users, and to have a gentler entry point for new site builders. But there should be just as much emphasis on increasing productivity for experienced site builders.

My final request: if Mark and Leisa aren't willing to start seriously using Drupal, please at least take extreme care with the UI changes. Trying to radically change the way thousands of Drupal developers work could be flirting with danger for the Drupal project.

Dries’s picture

I think you missed the point. Mark and Leisa are recruiting hundreds of Drupal experts to guide and help them. You are falsely suggesting that they are redesigning the Drupal UI in isolation without listening to the community. Sorry, but my BS-detector just exploded.

It is industry practice to work closely with domain experts. Usability and user experience design is a profession; they are trained and educated to do this and do this all the time. And in Mark and Leisa's case, they are extremely talented at it too. Who are you to brush this off as ridiculous approach? Clearly, you don't know what you are talking about.

What do you suggest instead? Installing Drupal instead of Wordpress is not going to make them instant Drupal expert. It takes at least 6 months, and probably closer to 12 months, to become a true Drupal expert. It is absolutely key that they surround themselves with domain experts willing to contribute, and I bet you that they'll learn a ton about Drupal in the process.

As you said, the good news is that they sparked a debate, and hopefully enough people will now care to participate. This means we'll be in good shape. Have faith.

minesota’s picture

Usability and user experience design is a profession; they are trained and educated to do this and do this all the time. And in Mark and Leisa's case, they are extremely talented at it to.

How, in an open and transparent community we arrive at this decision ? Have we compared at least half a dozen other similar persons/firms and discussed/voted to arrive at the final choice ?

Usabilty expert : fine. But we need the right one. An aeroplane usabilty expert may not be right for a ship and vice versa. Have they done stuffs for something as robust as Drupal ? What ? Where ?

As far as I remember a decent and majority-acceptable Drupal logo could not be designed by this team ... and "talented" people do not create such a video as above.

This are my personal opinion and I mean no malice. I apologize if this has been improper.

Best regards Dries

Dries’s picture

How, in an open and transparent community we arrive at this decision? Have we compared at least half a dozen other similar persons/firms and discussed/voted to arrive at the final choice?

The Drupal Association used an open process to compare various world-class companies and selected Mark Boulton for the redesign. I (with funding from Acquia) picked Mark Boulton for the Drupal 7 usability work because of their successful track record in working with the Drupal community.

Either way, we don't usually have an open and transparent process for deciding who can contribute to Drupal. Did we have an open and transparent process to determine if _you_ should be allowed to contribute to Drupal? No, we hadn't. Everyone can contribute at any point in time.

Mark and Leisa are experts -- if you'd look up their resumes and portfolios online, you'd know that they are world-class experts. It is time to stop spreading FUD, or your comments will make you look silly when Drupal 7 is released.

minesota’s picture

You as creator of Drupal or the Drupal Association should have the final word and the final action too.

Somehow I remember of Orwells Animal farm - where anything they wrote on the wall became the rule.
Its hurting to be accused of FUD and flame but the last words I would like to have on this post

I questioned their inclusion from the very beginning at or before redesign - I asked about the track record not at D7UX level but much before that ... to put frankly with what credentials they were chosen for d org redesign. Its has been in my not-so-tranparent knowledge that worldclass companies were compared but I asked who, how and under what criteria.

The D org redesign is a success because of the feedbacks in forums and issues over years and the coders and developers. The M & L team produced a big search box which was much questioned , several other questionable stuffs, and I cant remember they could produce a nice logo (**irrespective of the fact whether the logo was finally going to be needed or not and I did fight for not to have any such logo**)... I had very long discussions at that time during the redesign process and I indeed looked up their portfolios and I was not convinced why they were chosen - they had no experience of designing something as robust as Drupal. Everybody is entitled to their opnion.

Everyone can contribute at any point in time Yes. But sick logic. They are not just contributors like me . Contributors like me do not need funding :)

I think I am already looking very silly :)
Behind this usability factor is the need or urge to have market dominance. Drupal is already usable otherwise it would not be used by so many sites or won awards much before the M & L team came.
But Drupal probably now wants larger share of the market.

Why that may not be possible ( if we are looking in the next 15 - 20 years perspective )

- wrong team chosen ( yes I may be wrong at this )
- while D will improve usability so will WP ... WP was the early player in the blog market and early player has an advantage which is hard to break
- social networking sites or scripts will rise to prominence like buddypress ( and Drupal is lacking here except APK and OG which needs much more love like Acquia funding )
- modules are not geting updated as fast, documentations are falling short ( I know I can contribute and have started )
- various companies web-only approach for marketing will diversify into social nets, handhelds, mobiles etc

This is not to say I am agaiinst usabilty improvements. The site being used for that is somewhat unusable - I have detailed the reasons in this thread but if everyone is happy I am no one to complain ... I will post my ideas and suggestions there.

Everyone will have chances to review how D7 or D8 will fare in the UI issues and market share and I will be happy to look silly in the long run.

Regards again Dries

Jeff Burnz’s picture

farriss’s picture

Apart from disclosing who the other respondents were, I have detailed how MBD was selected:

MBD and Leisa Reichelt have exceeded my expectations and I have nothing but gratitude and admiration for their efforts to create an elegant, researched design and excitement over the work to come.

If for no other reason than they are willing to engage the community directly, give voice to dissenters and conduct their work in the open, Mark Boulton Design and Leisa Reichelt were, and remain, absolutely the right choice.

momendo’s picture

Ahh flame bait, and directed at Dries no less.

In regards to M & L, they were hired by Dries and they are experts in their field. Period. Whether that fits in your hemisphere of logic and personal opinion, doesn't contribute to the discussion. In regards to their credentials, please do your due diligence, research and form an informed opinion before flaming.

M & L provide insight and knowledge where the normal open source procedures would take a long time to figure out on its own. We have a tight time frame and we need to put a focus on UX as Dries pointed out many months ago at the Minnesota usability test. These actions have been set in motion many weeks in advance and the process has been transparent and open to much debate. It's nice to see you are just now forming an opinion after watching M & L's videos.

It's nice to see them pour cold-water over the hard-core developers and put perspective on something we have all invested our time and money into.

Noyz’s picture

I am a usability expert. I've been in the field for 15 years. And when I started on Drupal, I really felt like I needed to learn the tool prior to offering advice - just as you suggested. So that's the approach I took. Sadly, it took me waaaay to long to learn Drupal. And now, 7 or so months later, I can honestly tell you that I can not look at new features in an unbiased way. I've drunk the cool-aid.

All is not lost though, I'm still the person you seem to want - a usability expert with lots of Drupal experience. A non-aeroplane type. You should be happy to know, that I'll be working right along side M&L until they're finished.

BTW, it was a choice not to design the Drupal logo. You should watch the keynote in Szeged before throwing out such hog wash taints the rest of those reading these comments.

David Naian’s picture

I have to admire Dries courage to continue to choose together with the Drupal Association and Drupal.Org Leaders, (I'm conviced on that), to find new People like Boulton Design & co and bring Top expert to the Community. I repeat I'm really no business man, no Drupal Expert just a member of the Community that is going throughout the Drupal learning curve and even if it's a bit hard I'm getting always motivated to go further exactly because every Day I discover new Members, new Coder, new Developer that join this great and growing community.

glennr’s picture

OK, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but I appreciate the opportunity to give my opinion, anyway.

Perhaps my problem is I've been too many years in and closely observing the IT industry, and seen too many horrendous software mistakes, by organisations much bigger than Drupal with the ability to bankroll an army of UX experts. Perhaps also my opinion is too coloured by my own bad experiences of external experts who breeze into an organisation, make a big noise and either achieve nothing or make disastrous changes.

My personal experience is that the best ideas for change often come from those close to a product (who work with or use the product regularly), or from consultants who immerse themselves and really get to understand the product. This is why I was suspicious of Mark and Leisa's hands-off approach and why I still believe that distance equals impartiality argument is fundamentally flawed. I am not suggesting they have to become Drupal experts, but surely it can only help them understand Drupal, and the issues facing it, if they actually start building Drupal sites or least being part of a build team.

This, and my previous posting, is not an attack on Mark and Leisa's credentials, or the work they have been doing for Drupal; it's a disagreement over this one approach.

However, I can see now that I've made one fundamental mistake. Drupal isn't an organisation but a strong, healthy community. I'm encouraged by the lively discussion here and reading more about the process elsewhere. Good luck!

yoroy’s picture

Leisa and Mark keeping their distance mostly means not clicking around in the actual interface it too much, for now. Before you know it you'll accept having to go through three completely disconnected admin screens to enable, configure and set permissions for a module, etc.

Conceptually, they are in there way deep already. We talked with Leisa and Mark in IRC yesterday talking about RDF, making taxonomy and users fieldable and what have you. Really, they ARE immersing themselves completely.

Sophia’s picture

Why is it that I sense from so many people that they are convinced that "Mark and Lisa are going to completely rewrite Drupal and they will fail, for they don't know it enough"? I have worked in similar projects, with both internal and external project managers, and what they do, indeed, is keep their distance and the LAST thing they do is ACT or DICTATE. Instead, they LISTEN, write up reports, and work WITH the company (in this case that would be the community), not against them. They won't touch any code with a bargepole, indeed, usually they can't program their ah, er, I mean nose from their elbow.

Really, honestly, I don't see why there is such a need to panic, these two young people are NOT going to dumb down Drupal, change it into a blogging tool, or remove vital features. Please, give them a chance to work on this, and then judge.

For the sake of argument: Suppose in their project, they got it all WRONG. They don't know what they are talking about, they have no idea what we (the community) want, they got all the Drupal facts wrong. What do you think will happen? WE will jump on them, and tell them quickly what we WANT. Result: a better product. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Dries is probably after... not p-ing off 90% of the faithful developers in here. I do appreciate a lot of the concern and heaven knows I share some of that, but at THIS point there REALLY is no need to jump up and down that bad...

Please, before you jump, realize this:

- Mark and Lisa are NOT going to write code
- Mark and Lisa are NOT going to dumb Drupal down
- Mark and Lisa are NOT dictating a final product, they are (or should be) flexible and listen to YOU, yes, you

Oooh now I make it sound like a rant, but really, I too do feel passionate about Drupal and I don't see how this project could possibly make the product worse, or fork, or dumbed down, or a blogger's tool solely.

perkywebdesign’s picture

I am an avid fan of Drupal but if there's anything I can add to this development process, it would be the question: what is Drupal going to do about outdated, unmaintained and uncompetitive module library??

Modules add convenient functionality, esp for those who can't code their own, but with every new Drupal verision we see that too many Modules are not being updated or maintained. The variety of modules is unbalanced and lacking, for example there is not a single functioning digital "download monitor" module for 6.10 yet their are tons of modules video embedding modules.

If the Modules factor is not solved with Drupal 7, we, and increasingly more designers, will change from Drupal to Buddypress (Wordpress Mu), which, for example, has fantastic plugin support and now community functionality with Buddypress.

In saying all of this, Drupal is still the best. I would choose a drupal solution over anything else, hands down. But if the support and maintenance for Modules (and even themes) is going to be ignored by Drupal and left only to contributors (who often leave modules outdated or broken) then I'm afraid Drupal will become less useful and less competitive.

Please, please consider this.

All the best guys, well done!

robertDouglass’s picture

I am an avid fan of Drupal but if there's anything I can add to this development process, it would be the question: what is Drupal going to do about outdated, unmaintained and uncompetitive module library??

This isn't a question that has to do with the usability of our existing code. It is a question that is mired in security concerns at the deepest technical level and the very nature of a volunteer organization. M & L were not even asked to find answers to your questions, so please don't expect them to address them. Thanks.

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

perkywebdesign’s picture

There's a post here from Dries in which he states that M & L are asking for our suggestions and questions here, hence the posting of my concern about the maintenance of modules - with is especially important with a new release of Drupal. I feel there are a number of modules, eg. CCK, that should be included in the core.

And this has everything to do with usability, what else would it be? If Drupal 7 comes out and there are at best a few updated modules and many outdated, unmaintained modules (some since v5) then how USEFUL will Drupal 7 be? As modules extend usability of the core, the relevancy of their compatibility is an issue that hasn't been raised nor addressed.
Wordpress and Joomla are fantastic at maintaining updated plugins and modules, probably due to their focused community. If you robertDouglass are any representation of the Druapl community however, then it's not surprising that modules are left unmaintained and outdated.

WorldFallz’s picture

If you robertDouglass are any representation of the Druapl [sic] community however, then it's not surprising that modules are left unmaintained and outdated.

wow-- you must be kidding: / ?

Just when I thought i'd seen it all in the forums-- what's wrong with this picture?

The module situation is definitely something that needs to be evaluated and addressed. However, instead of wasting time on fraudulent and baseless ad hominem attacks against those that actually contribute to drupal, unlike you, you might want to consider being part of the solution instead of nothing but an incendiary troll.

In any case, as has been pointed out above, the state of the module repository, though related, is not the topic of this thread which is the usability of drupal core. If you don't know what the words "usability" and "core" mean I suggest you do some research instead of mucking up this thread with more useless Non sequiturs.

Care about the future of the forums? Please join our conversation and show support for improving the forums infrastructure.

dnewkerk’s picture

CCK is in Drupal 7 core already (in fact its "fields" are affecting quite a lot in core, not just nodes). Please do some research to find out about what is happening in D7 development... a good primer is this lullabot podcast. A variety of key modules are already going in D7, as they have matured at this point in time for that to be possible.

Again no, and please let this issue rest now... the status of contributed module upgrades has nothing to do with this discussion. Every contributed module is offered, free of charge, by the generous developers who give them to the community. Some developers lose the time needed to continuously maintain those modules version after version (again free of charge)... when this happens those modules have to be taken over by others who still have the time and need for them (everyone, including you or me, is free to become the maintainer of any abandoned module). Other modules are abandoned in light of better solutions. Some modules will never be upgraded unless you or someone who needs them either upgrades them, or pays someone to upgrade them (people who don't need them won't upgrade them, in most cases). This has nothing to do with usability, and nothing to do with Drupal core... just a fact of life in open source. If you build your sites with only the modules you actually really need (and do your due diligence on checking out whether the maintainer is consistent, history of the module, etc), and use CCK, Views, etc as much as possible, then you will face less difficultly with modules in future versions. And... the state of automated tools for upgrading / helping to upgrade modules is improving (coder, deadwood, simpletest, etc). As these tools mature, it becomes easier and faster to upgrade modules.

Lastly, I'd advise you to not burn bridges with comments like your last snip at Robert. He's a prolific contributor to Drupal, has co-authored a book about Drupal, maintains and contributes to a variety of critical modules, works at Acquia, etc. Be nice ;)

Jeff Burnz’s picture

History proves you wrong. Drupal is just getting bigger and better, the user base doubles with every version.

Your swipe at a fellow Drupaler is most uncalled for and quite out of line, we certainly do not need that sort of hostility in our community.

perkywebdesign’s picture

my comments have not been a swipe at anyone at all, I just find the usual "well this doesn't really matter" and "this shouldn't be raised" answers unproductive and ignorant.
Why? Because if we choose to ignore these issues then, as Dries quoted, I and others will move to a CMS which is easier to use, with a lower learning curve and has intuitive features. For example, wordpress with the Pods plugin - I can create content types like Drupal's CCK, but have the coding simplicty that Wordpress is famous for. So why don't I just do that and not bother bringing up these questions in the Drupal forum? Well, because I'd like to see Drupal simplify it's usability. It's a great CMS solution but it's in danger of becoming a historic pioneer that set the standard but then others came along and bettered it. I hope I'm proven wrong, but it's going to be difficult to do if the growing list of unmaintained modules is ignored. That's it. That's my 2 cents. You MUST see the relation between continually left-behind modules and new Drupal releases.

If there was a hostile tone in my raising these issues - I apologise, it was not my intention.

webchick’s picture

Some of the latest replies have me wondering if we have some fundamental disconnect here.

People are saying things like, "Mark and Leisa don't use Drupal, and therefore they have no idea all of the things we need to do with it, and now they're going to go off into their ivory palace and come back 3 months later with something that's "Drupal For Blithering Morons" and strips Drupal of the power that made me use it in the first place."

There are several things wrong about this line of thinking:

  1. There is no "ivory palace" where Mark and Leisa are working secretly to undermine everything the Drupal project stands for. Everything that Mark and Leisa are doing is transparent, out in the open, begging for public comment/participation at And I don't know what else they could do to show us how much they want our participation.
  2. Regardless of their own personal experience levels with Drupal, they are not working in a vaccuum. There happens to be this awesome, passionate community I know of who is obsessed with Drupal, 400K+ strong, and growing every day. :) As long as we're over at providing insight, critique, alternative ideas, etc. then the work Mark and Leisa is doing will reflect our needs.
  3. Furthermore, the idea that you need to be an expert in the inner workings of something to design it is fundamentally flawed, I think. I highly doubt the person who comes up with the design for an iPod or a Ferrarri is the same person building the underlying machinery to make it work. It's the job of the client (i.e. us) to explain to the designers what our core values are, things we see that we want their work to address, etc. so that they can factor this in to the past experience they bring in and come up with something we can all be proud of.
  4. In case you missed their work in the redesign process, Mark and Leisa want us to be engaged in what's going on. Once things get going, there will be lots of "iterations" of designs (version 1, version 2, etc.) and plenty of opportunity to jump in and be very vocal if you feel like things are going in a fundamentally wrong direction, and to suggest alternatives.

    If you opt out of this opportunity and choose to keep your head in the sand for the next three months, then yes, there's a risk that you'll be unhappy with the results. So don't do that! Don't strip yourself of the power to have a voice and help shape this process and make the end result something awesome we can all stand behind! Don't look at the end result in three months, start participating now. There are numerous opportunities referenced at the top of this post, and also at

  5. No one, including Mark and Leisa, wants to make Drupal for Blithering Morons (that's what Drupal UE is for. ;) What we want to do is address some of the fundamental user experience problems that cause the Drupal learning curve to be much steeper and a lot pointier than it needs to be. The goal is not to make Drupal so easy your 2-year old could use it, but rather to get rid of the "And I got frustrated and left" part of the all-too-typical "I tried Drupal and it was too hard, so I got frustrated and left, went over to $other_cms and then hit a wall where it couldn't do what I want, and begrudgingly went back to Drupal. After another few months I finally 'got it' and now I love it." entry point that most people have. I would hope this is a goal that we can all get behind. Fewer frustrated people means more users which means more potential contributors, which means more Drupal awesomeness for everyone! :)

Hope that helps clear some stuff up.

minesota’s picture

Yes ... there is some fundamental disconnect. Sorry this is not rant.

- We or many of us cannot identify with M & L, for some reason or the other. For example if it was
M & L && Webchick Michelle we would have identified better and in a friendlier way

- We do seem to understand the "distance" concept but do not understand why useless videos - they can work their personal things on wp - no problem ...
- ... but we do not understand why we need to discuss things at a WP site ... the interface, the method of posting pixes, subscribing, following are impossible or uncomfortable there, why not the same stuff in an OG here ?

Providing comfortable and "well connected" environs is the first step .......

Sophia’s picture

minesota, it seems that finally we do seem to disagree :) First, who is this "many of us" you keep referring to? It does not include me... I think you mean "I" all the way, or perhaps one or two others that I saw were very vocal in this thread. Three people does not "many" make, and frankly, I think all of us should speak for ourselves and not pretend to represent a non-existent group.

Second, we (yes, we) should be friendly at any time, not just to people we "know". With ALL respect to the people you mentioned (I love what they do too), choosing a project manager from within is always a bad idea.

Let's not all of us start to sound like a broken record, this project is a given, and if what you see WITHIN the project is not to your liking, by all means, spout off! That's what it is for. But, frankly, I think it is time to stop complaining about the PROJECT now, and just get on with it. But that, of course, is my opinion, I am sure some will disagree.

minesota’s picture

Since you replied I cannot edit this post ... I stand corrected. It is not "we" but I and some of us ....
Happy ?

I have no problem with being friendly with unknown people but I asked
- what was the process of choosing them, based on what .. if its clear to you pl. explain if u care
- why not couple them with persons we know from the community as prominently
- their ways does not appear friendly ( the video is one example )

I want to get on ... I replied first with some very valid issues, I asked for datamining and a proper discussion site to begin with ( please read my posts)

if what you see WITHIN the project is not to your liking, by all means, spout off!

D 7 can be great as Dries has asserted but this is precisely where big giants subtly start to have a fall ...

PS : sophia ... its you who said "Why is it that I sense from so many people" ... note the word "so many" in your statement ... it is this same sense that made me write "we". Got ??

Sophia’s picture

I'll devote one last reply to you, minesota, because I like you, and then call it quits :)

Thank you for rectifying "many of us" into "I". To me, that makes a huge difference and will convey a better idea to newcomers :)

The rest of your concerns I cannot answer knowledgeably (is that a word?) but I'll give you an educated guess.

-what was the process of choosing them, based on what .. if its clear to you pl. explain if u care

I don't know, but looking at the footer of this page, I'd say Dries might have had something to do with that. Having an open, transparent and open source environment, does not mean that EVERYBODY has a say about EVERYTHING. M&L were chosen, and as I said before, let's consider that a given. Might give you piece of mind actually, especially if they do bugger up, at least nobody will say it was YOUR fault because you chose them ;)

- why not couple them with persons we know from the community as prominently

As far as I can tell, they are coupled with EVERYBODY, you, me, webchick, Michelle, Michael and Jane. I'd say that is the most open structure possible! In fact I'd go as far as to say, if there were only 5 or 6 people chosen, I think more noise would be made that WE were not included. Don't you agree being coupled with the WHOLE community is so much better?

- their ways does not appear friendly ( the video is one example )

Fair enough, you seem to have a personal dislike to these two people. I suffer from that as well, occasionally :D

Finally, I'll end with a question about your last remark:

D 7 can be great as Dries has asserted but this is precisely where big giants subtly start to have a fall ...

How do you picture that in the current context, minesota?

minesota’s picture

Somehow I like you :)

I dont know

And I want to know :). Everybody may not say everything but things are better brought into light for everybody, saying or not saying is choice

As far as I can tell, they are coupled with EVERYBODY

- thats the entire issue, when we are coupled together we need no two elements jut out of the rest

you seem to have a personal dislike

- Based on facts, read my posts :) . What are yours ?

How do you picture that in the current context

You said me to spout off! I remembered the proverb "Pride comes before a fall" :)

PS - I asked you a question in the last PS

Sophia’s picture

PS - I asked you a question in the last PS

Ack, you make me eat my words... twice ;)

1) Now I am forced to answer you after all
2) I stand corrected as well, consider the "many of you" that I wrote earlier, as "one, two or three of you" :D

That better?

minesota’s picture

Yep! Thanks. We make the same assumptions, see?
And I think but may be wrong, if we converse like this this thread is going to get closed :|

How are you finding yourself in the new central site to post your ideas ?
I am feeling lost ... as I don't know how to keep track of my posts if I start, I find no easy means to attach pictures to comments etc ... Are you ok there ? Look forward to see your ideas there :)

Jeff Burnz’s picture

Who is the "we" mate? I dont give a rats arse if they are using dot net nuke for all I care. Focus on the big picture for a minute and see the potential we have to contribute. A poor workman blames his tools.

Look, when Mark was chosen for the redesign project I was thrilled, I've been following his blog and other work for a long time and the guy really knows his shit, so give them a break and contribute rather than denigrate.

minesota’s picture

And I was not thrilled - if you care why read my posts there.

>> Who is the "we" mate?

Not "we" then. Just few of us and I. If that answers you but did you
read my posts ...
I am supposed to contribute on a site I have no familiar interface, why not a subforum or OG here?
To attach picture I have to visit yet another site
I cannot track my posts as there is no tracker or it is lurking somewhere I do not find
I have to again come back here for my daily forum posts issues ....

I hope you get the picture.

perkywebdesign’s picture

jmburnz, you got the right attitude.

As for Minesota... well, come on.. contribute rather than wine about something clearly irrelevant. And, if you're not familiar with Wordpress or it's "interface", get familiar with it because Wordpress coupled with Buddypress, Wordpress Mu and plugins like "Flutter" is becoming arguably the biggest threat to Drupal - apart from probably Drupal's only other serious threat: the outdated and unmaintained Drupal Modules library.

M & L are doing fantastic job by spending their energy for the improvement of Drupal by facilitating this discussion thread, let's help them out by contributing, shall we?

cel4145’s picture

Better yet, the idea that one has "to be an expert in the inner workings of something" to analyze what the problems are with it (not design it) is even more fundamentally flawed. User experience theory and testing procedures are based on universal principles, not Drupal specific knowledge. Given their specific expertise, Mark and Leisa should easily be able to point out problems with the UI and changes for the UI and then leave it up to the rest of the Drupal community to discuss implementation.

Besides, if Drupal specific knowledge is what was needed, one would then guess that this community wouldn't need their help ;-)

ldbl’s picture

"And I got frustrated and left" - this is very common.
I don't want get in details.
But I also want to say something.
I know many people that think about drupal like this:
Drupal is made from aliens to aliens. This is end user point of view.
If you take time and try to understand how drupal works you will probably start to think that it's not from alien to alien.
But this take time and many people can't get over this alien barrier.
I think more people involved is better.There will be more ideas more , more code , more support more of everything.
Simple and intuitive interface will attract more people and there will a lot more opportunities for developers also.

There is really a lot of things that can be improved.
I just don't want to sacrifice flexibility because of easy of use.

javier_’s picture

I highly doubt the person who comes up with the design for an iPod or a Ferrarri is the same person building the underlying machinery to make it work.

I think this phrase summarize the fears of many developers, is Drupal a Ferrari or it's a Ferrari factory? because of the way I see it Wordpress is the Ferrari and Drupal is the Ferraris factory and we need from Drupal much more than just an awesome car, we need it to be able to build many different types of awesome cars.

In the other hand it's very important to keep things clear and simple because if not it may fall in the risk of becoming an overloaded framework like already happened to other systems, and here is where usability efforts like this become essential.

I think that all usability or architecture analysis are positive. One of the biggest issues with the Drupal interface is that there isn't a clear separation between the website and the administration and this confuses new users and new developers, I had been in that situation too. Hopefully this will help to fix those issues


Jeff Burnz’s picture

Frankly I am stoked about this, and kudos to Dries, Acquia and Webchick et al for getting in behind this in a big way.

I have been using Drupal for around 4 years or so and have built dozens of sites and perhaps hundreds of themes. It took me about a year to truly come to grips with Drupal. When I say "come to grips" I literally mean how to build a Drupal site when faced with a brief—should I use Taxonomy, Views, CCK fields, Menus or what image module should I install?

I can only imagine the pain new users go though when faced with what should be obvious decisions. How to build a basic site should not require 3 to 6 months of trail and error, late nights, several books & a video tutorial course.

Nor should it require several days training for content authors to learn how to input basic content. My clients raise their eyebrows when they spot the travel expense and training budgets... why they ask?

If the outcome of this effort is that it can cut my clients budget (and frustration level) then thank god and lets get on with it.

Thank-you Mark and Leisa, expect to see making an effort towards making Drupal easier to use, which is something that everyone can benefit from.

seanreiser’s picture

I began responding to this relating some experiences I witnessed with another developer community 15 or so years ago and realize that I had over 1,000 words in my response. Instead of posting that entire diatribe here I've blogged it. My conclusion is that developer focus is more important and third party modules (and perhaps a distribution with a more wizard like install.php) should handle some of these issues. If however you want to know I got there, or perhaps something about a debate like this from 15 years ago, go read the post. Enjoy!

Noyz’s picture

I wanted to echo some of Leisa's and others points regarding usability and possibly exhaust some of the concerns that have surfaced in this post.

The goal of this effort is to make Drupal better - period! Simpler, easier, apparently come with negative connotations, so I'll avoid those words. Nothing will be lost, I'm confident much will be gained. And guess what, they're doing all of this out in the open, so if you disagree, you have the chance to inform their direction. If they succeed, we'll all succeed. Fewer users will run away screaming, and thus, our community and user base will grow. If that happens, those that prosper from Drupal will possibly prosper more. Sounds like a good thing to me. So if you have objections, concerns or what have you, then subscribe and contribute. That's really all Mark and Liesa are asking for here.

spencerwyatt’s picture

Just want to chime in and offer my thanks and encouragement to Mark and Leisa. I really appreciate what you guys are doing - please don't get discouraged.

I started using Drupal a year and half ago and (after the steep learning curve) really loved that I could make Drupal do anything I wanted it to - the power and flexibility it offered was amazing. But, I've always felt embarrassed when it came time to pass a site off to a client.

For me, it's ok that building a site in Drupal can be a cumbersome process - it's not ideal but it's worth it. But, once the site is built and just needs to be maintained, then it HAS to be dead simple. Because at that point, I (as the designer/developer) am no longer involved and my non-techie client has to be able to add/edit content, pictures, and even videos without help.

It takes a lot of tweaking - custom admin views, hook_form_alter() on node add forms, stripping out most of the navigation menu and rewording the rest, etc. - to get close to an intuitive interface for my clients.

A few months ago, I gave up and started using ExpressionEngine. There was definitely a new learning curve and there were a LOT of things about EE that I found lacking. I'm NOT suggesting that Drupal emulate EE. But, my clients were able to "get" the admin panel out of the box.

But, once I heard that Mark Boulton had been brought on to work on Drupal, I came back.

I'll continue to fight with Drupal to make it more usable for my clients until Drupal 7 comes out. And I bought the Pro Drupal Development book so that I can start contributing back to the community. The promise of an improved Drupal 7 has made me fully committed to the project and the community. Before now, I was too skeptical about Drupal's future to really commit.

I think Mark and Leisa's work and methodology on the redesign attests to the enormous value they bring to Drupal and their commitment to working with every member of the community. They both really get design and user experience. I trust that they will help make Drupal easier (and more enjoyable) to use without taking anything away from its power and flexibility.

As a side note, any designers out there should read Mark's new book "A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web" available as an ebook now and hard copy in two weeks at

yoroy’s picture

This thread is the perfect example of why Mark and Leisa deliberately use multiple channels and posts to sollicit input. Keep it all in one place and see what happens, we start running in circles around problems that never were (meant to be) part of the initial post. The distributed approach ensures that all points of view get a chance.

Now, this makes following *everything* (should you want to) a bit harder. To keep up, folow the posts on

For even more, here is a Yahoo pipe that collects all related blog posts, tweets, flickr and youtube:

David Naian’s picture

What for a surprise to discover another, of the 100s, projects to try to resolve or improve the usability of Drupal. I read some of the posting here an it's amazing how many start to debate and discuss over. It toke me almost 7 month to get quite a confidence in building a Drupal Site, and believe me I'm not gaining my money in making Drupal Site for other, individual or any company yet. I still love Drupal and like to give my 2 cent of experience and help in this community and even if I poked a lot in the past to make Drupal Documentation in the Handbook a bit more structured and rational for find what User may look for, and especially for no native English, I got frustrated and leaved for a while my attention to bring my modest view and modest opinion into the community.

I'm really Happy that again a new experience project starts and I really wish you good luck, but I will continue to summarize those link and nodes and post around that are really usefully and simple written and even understandable for no native English, because instead of getting simple to find documentation on it's becoming more difficult. I know that a lot of Doc-sprints are going on, and it's admirable with how much dedication many of you continue to try to organize better all the sections, but again excuse my criticism and maybe influenced opinion for past personal discussions with some of the members here, I see a greater confusion and no clear content management directives and plan.


mukhsim’s picture

In regards to my previous post in this thread (

Here are sample screenshots for the proposed Drupal Installation Wizard:


chrisbeaman’s picture

As I was instructed to do, I recommend adding them to the Drupal Redesign flickr group.

My idea was that it might also be helpful to have little hover-over question marks (that generate tip boxes) or example screenshots (viewable in a light box) to offer additional information to complete newbies.

I think it would be really cool if there was an option to view community-generated YouTube tutorials (pre-selected, for accuracy) for each segment of the installation/configuration process. This would give a community feel, and would be a reassuring resource to newbies who may have no coding experience or experience with open-source software or platforms.

mukhsim’s picture

I totally agree that there needs to be better instructions for installation process.

But problem with many people is that they only read instructions when they do not understand something. And if novices have to read instructions for every step, they will get frustrated pretty fast and give up.

Every decent software package for wide audience has install wizard which walks you through initial steps and helps you choose features you want to install and comes with default configuration for each feature which let the software to work out of box (think of adding blogs posts and uploading images right after installation). This Drupal does not do at the moment. Drupal is bare-bones and requires downloading, installing and manually configuring several modules (+ setting permissions) before getting very basic functionality for things like forums, wysiwyg and image galleries.

Therefore a better Drupal Installation Wizard is essential. Wizard should ask questions like:
Q: What type of website do you want? A: Forum (there should be also options for Basic and Load a configuration file.)
Q: Do you want an image gallery with your forum? A: Yes
Q: Select forum features (this is not modules, because one feature may require multiple modules and must come with default configuration).
Q: Would you like to manually configure settings before proceeding with installation. A: Yes (this should show all available modules with the ones to be installed checked and user should be able to go into each module and change default installation configuration).
After completing installation wizard should ask: Would you like to save your installation configuration to a file? This file can be used later for other installations.


janusman’s picture

I just blogged about something similar =)

Mi idea is to have a Wizard API that could let other modules expose "complex" tasks that are broken down in steps for a user to do. For example, setting up a new module might mean: getting module, getting other modules it depends on, activating module(s), configuring the module, optionally creating a new role, assigning permissions to roles, then assigning roles to users, then...

If the user (admin?) were tunnelled through this series of steps, all the possibilites are then obvious. Also, required steps could be differentiated from optional ones. Developers who use this would also go through a [healthy] review of how users interact with their module.

To me "steps" in the wizard are just existing drupal admin forms shown in a certain order...

This is just the idea, it "feels" rightIMO, but perhaps will get shot down in reality =)

Paul Natsuo Kishimoto’s picture

Totally off-topic, but:

I wonder if anyone else is interested in leadership theory, or a (incremental vs. continual improvement vs. transformational) change model of leadership ("change" as understood prior to the Obama U.S. presidential campaign). If so, this is a fascinating thread to read and parse for:

  • strong reactions based on values, and on perceptions of value judgements in others' actions,
  • the response of Drupal project leaders to these reactions,
  • the backlash inherent to transformational change,
  • the importance of consensus and articulation of shared values in an organization with fuzzy boundaries and little hierarchy,
  • the inability of some people to connect to a bold, long-term vision without elevating their level of thinking, and
  • similarity to design- or other upheavals in other Free Software projects, such as KDE4, the notifications system for Ubuntu Jaunty, etc.

While there is always risk associated with major change, it's thrilling to see Drupal go in this direction, instead of stagnating like so many other projects.

Amazon’s picture

We are nicely placed between Wordpress, Apple, and Mark Boulton on the map. A very nice Neighbourhood.


Kieran Lal

Robert Castelo’s picture

No Dries?!

Drupal Specialists: Consulting, Development & Training

Robert Castelo, CTO
Code Positive
London, United Kingdom

xmacinfo’s picture

The Map is nice. But it's a ones point of view representation.

The trendsetter for Drupal is not Mark Boulton, but Dries. :-)

markboulton’s picture

I've been on this nice little map for the past few years as part of the 'creative' line. You can probably see that Drupal is now on this line too - the orange one, which is why my name is there. You're right though, it's confusing to see me next to Matt, instead of Dries. I've asked Oliver to add Dries, but we'll see if he does.

keyo’s picture

I can see these main issues with D6.

  1. The installation could be a lot more helpful. It should ask questions and provide sensible defaults based on them.
  2. Decent functionality in core. I want things like a wysiwyg editor that knows real html, image support.
  3. Admin pages/forms that are intuitive. Look at add/edit node, the content list.
  4. A decent admin page/panel would really help. It should have a search filter like cPanel and icons.

I don't think any ux improvements should come at the cost of functionality though.

Jeff Burnz’s picture

An admin panel/dashborad embedded in a dedicated "admin section" is the way to go and certainly something I've been advocating for a long time. On this front WP 2.7 certainly offers some direction, although we might just as easily look at the drag and drop interface of iGoogle - take the weather widget as one example of "quick config".

One thing I like about Drupal though is that you get to see the node as soon as you save it, and going back to edit it is as simple as viewing the node and clicking Edit. Sure we can still have this but, aka WP, it seems a little clunky to jump back and forth between edit mode and view mode.

What I propose is in place editing per field. I have seen some examples from other Drupal developers and this could be done on a per field basis - this would be very wiki like type feature, but the difference is that you never leave View mode and all updates are via AJAX.

You should be able to edit Title, CCK fields, Body, Terms etc.

The idea is that once you have created the node you never have to go back to Admin mode just for minor changes, but certainly you can if you want to.


keyo’s picture

Personally I hate switching to and from an admin panel like wordpress/joomla/modx do. I would rather keep the site theme consistent so I know which site I'm on.
If it does turn out that there is an wordpress like admin back-end I hope it does not handle content creation/editing. Content should be created on the site just like facebook does it. It's disruptive to my workflow to switch from back end to front end often and I like to keep an eye on how the site is looking. The admin panel should only be for settings. It would be great to have a separate dashboard for handling things that can be added/deleted like content, users, taxonomies etc. Checkbox type forms could reside in a settings page/panel.

Perhaps the best outcome would be a dashboard in my account that displays recent content on the site. I've been playing around with the context module to make some features under the users "my account" page such as "my photos", "my blog posts" etc. Some simple views like this would help with the 'where is my content' problem.


Jeff Burnz’s picture

The approach needs to be more innovative than merely "switching between admin and front end".

Think live preview or a "Preview tab" that gives you the same view as front end.
Think inline editing per field.
Think rapid node creation, no need to constantly go create content > content type, when you create node its queued for publishing or whatever, you get a new blank form.

Lets cite two incredibly successful projects - Wikipedia and Wordpress, both of which have admin type interfaces for content creation and editing. Drupal is simply not adhering to best practice and resists the idea "just because" while citing anecdotal reasons why not to change, all the while the usability testing appears to tell us something to the contrary.

That said I am not actually advocating for either way, what I am at least entertaining is the possibility to be innovative and provide the best set of tools.

An activity log will get in, of that I am sure, its one of Dries desires for D7.

flamenco’s picture

I'm very pleased to see this project. Ease of use is paramount. Drupal has already come a long way. The first two times I tried it, I gave up in despair. Not because it wasn't good, it was fantastic, it was just so complex I couldn't grasp it.

Say you want to try piloting an airplane for the first time. You go to the airport, and they point to your plane - it's supersonic, totally computerized, carries enough high-tech weaponry to start a war, cruises at Mach 3, and has an instrument panel as big as your living room. They say, 'ready to fly?', and you can only reply with a little whimpering sound. It was kind of like that for me. :)

But I kept coming back every so often, because I could tell there were great features, a very active good community, decent documentation, and even books!! And the third time, I found a couple tutorials and a great book, and all the lights went on! I still don't know more than 15%, but I now know enough to make a decent site, and am good enough to keep learning without despair.

I use several systems. Any system has zealots. If there are too many zealots, their forums become echo chambers, and anyone who questions anything will be shouted down. That's why I like that this new site is in Wordpress. Much of the data in the site is blog-oriented, and Wordpress is, um, pretty good for blogging. I would even say it might be a tiny bit stronger than Drupal in this area. ;) If a system is to grow quickly, it needs to allow entry to outsiders, even harsh questioners that need to be won over (like me), and newbies who aren't PHP geniuses. To me, that's obvious, but I keep realizing it actually isn't on the forums I'm in.

The extension of this groupthink zealotry is that no matter what the project, you have to shoehorn it into that One System. I often work for people like this. :) I will say this - of all the systems I know, it does appear that Drupal is the most flexible and powerful, and could come the closest to being this "system for everything". But it's surely overkill (or simply inappropriate) for some tasks, IMO.

In any case, the right tool for the right job. Drupal is tough, and it can take it, I'm sure.

xjm’s picture

I'm surprised at the backlash in this thread... I guess a lot of us Drupallers hate to hear it, but it's true that the user experience needs some help. The Drupal learning curve has a couple of very steep stretches. Three years ago I came to Drupal with 8 years of web development at my back, 5 of those in PHP, and it took me months to build a basic website with simple features like a custom theme, a private blog, and a knowledge base of articles. As a developer, I love Drupal because it's a great framework to get a site off the ground quickly, secure in the knowledge that I can extend it later, but that confidence only came after three years of Drupal experience in a full-time job.

Now, Drupal 5 lowered a couple of the hurdles I faced intially (the Zen theme, in particular, was a huge leap forward for getting a new site off the ground, and the access control nightmare became merely a restless night), and Drupal 6 was another step forward (little usability improvements to forms and admin pages, the new branch of Views, etc. make a huge difference for me). However, I can tell there are still issues when I talk to my boss, who wears two hats as both the frontend guy and the web architect on our team. He's been working with Drupal for two years now, and the following things are still true for him (despite that he's a proficient and experienced web professional):

  1. It is difficult to navigate Drupal's administration menus.
  2. It is difficult to locate information on
  3. It is difficult to find and identify existing contrib solutions.

In addition to these three things, the simple process of content entry (input filters, URL aliases, menu locations) is a source of frustration for many of our web-proficient staff.

Finally, many people I have talked to agree that Drupal is intimidating just because of the jargon: node? taxonomy? module? block? hook? view? People who have worked with Drupal for awhile take Drupal terminology for granted--I know I do--but it can be very, very baffling to new Drupallers.

Edit, just to add: I agree that it is important not to lose functionality in order to accomplish the UX goals. Don't water Drupal down into just another blog/forum package; there are other solutions to do those jobs. Drupal's strength over "just another blogging tool" is the robustness of its structure, the superb separation of its various layers, etc. It could include a lot more of the basic things that most people want--out of the box, without the contrib easter egg hunt--and still be a powerhouse under the hood.

malexandria’s picture

I agree the terminology of Drupal is difficult to grasp. I would add developers rely heavily on CCK, Panels, and Views modules to create their websites. But those modules aren't well documented at all. Even when people do great case studies they always mention these modules were instrumental. But I would like to see some really clear and simple documentation on what it is these modules do, exactly how they work, etc. The other issue with Drupal Modules is, that most of them aren't well documented - if at all, beyond a basic description.

WorldFallz’s picture

There's great documentation on drupal terminology at:

Documentation -> Getting Started -> Before you start -> Terminology

Personally, I found that location intuitive, but maybe there's a better place for it?

As for module documentation-- anyone can contribute documentation. Coders code. That's what they're good at, that's how they should spend their precious time. I see a lot of comments about lacking documentation-- but it's only lacking because no one has stepped up to the plate and written it.

Take a look at the usage statistics for the cck, panels, and views modules-- there are 10s of thousands of instances of these modules being used. There's no excuse for lacking documentation. I see many comments like "boy, i wish i could contribute but I don't have the skills" and yet people are still complaining about missing documentation.

Sorry malexandria, but if you would like to see some "really clear and simple documentation" why not contribute some? A quick glance at your tracker shows you've been a member for >3 years and yet have not contributed one word to a book page. Who exactly should be writing this documentation if not users?

Care about the future of the forums? Please join our conversation and show support for improving the forums infrastructure.

malexandria’s picture

I may have been registered with Drupal for 3 years, but I don't use it because I don't have the patience to learn it. The people developing the modules should take the time to properly document them. I always find the excuse that Developers develop and don't have time to document their work kind of silly. Maybe one day I'll sit down and try and document all of the major drupal modules but that pressumes that I know how to use them in the first place. A lot of them aren't user friendly enough to even begin the process of documentation.

seaneffel’s picture

You should read Lee Hunter's talk from Drupalcon DC about document-driven coding. He makes a great argument for developing the documentation for a project before coding the project. We would think that with so many modules and themes being picked up by users who may or may not understand them, we could change the status and capital we give to documentation in the first place and have a hotter climate for people to learn Drupal on their own.

Anyway, his write up is here:

David Naian’s picture

Dear @malexandria I'm fully with you.

Who writes module should be also interested that users got it implemented but without clear documentation? that's a nightmare. Sure there is a need to laydown some rules for those who want their module published here on But you (and me) will not find really affiliate to your statement. There are two distinct group of members here: 1 The coders, 2The Drupal user and the number of coders on is in mayority and that's why the Documentation Team is really a group of crusadors that try to keep the Holy Handbook safe and clean!!! They all speak about usability and what ever and they do not see that if we on do not clear the problem and need of clear directive of who is going to have the merit to publish a contrib module should provide clear documentation or deputy someone that does it for he/she. So we will have more user that will try to install the module and have surely more feedback on how to make it better. I am back of testing almost 500 modules od Drupal 5.x on my own test environment but at least 60% does not have even 1 line of description on what the module does.

And you all here are somehow continuing blaming newby?


malexandria’s picture

Thanks for the comment, I would be more than happy to document a module if I understood what the module did or how to install the module. I think every other platform out there at least makes Module installation very easy and intuitive. From there it's fairly simple to document a module.

With Drupal just getting modules installed is a nightmare. Have you tried installing User Points, Images, Panels, Views, TinyMCE, etc? All of these modules require a million different steps from setting permissions in multiple different places, installing bits and pieces in various directories and then oh yeah, they all require additional modules to hook into in order to work. And then to administer you have to go to multiple areas of the admin panel (again Permissions, Content Types, Module Settings, etc.). It can take hours of hunting and pecking just to get a module installed and configured properly. When I install a Wordpress plugin or a Xoops plugin all I have to do is unzip, upload to the modules directory and activate it and it's ready to run. So far I haven't come across a single Wordpress (well I think one of the Gallery plugins require lightbox to do slide shows) or Xoops Plugin that requires another one to run properly. Again, I'm not saying Drupal should be like WordPress, but there's no real reason Modules shouldn't be made to be completely self contained, with proper permissions set out of the box.

Jeff Burnz’s picture

Those other systems are not particularly modular, Drupal is and from this it derives much of its power. If you recall a few years ago there were many monolithic modules, all has changed with the shift towards contrib API's and lots of smaller modules working together. This is a quite deliberate direction Drupal contrib has gone in and will never go back.

Of course, a feature to automatically download and install dependencies could be nice.

alliax’s picture

come on, if you complain about installing modules, change job or just find an easier script, because I never thought installing modules was hard. As for documentation, you simply need to know what the module is doing and that's it, why repeating on every module that you need to upload it, activate it, set permissions if any and go to the module's settings if there are any ?

Jeff Burnz’s picture

Can we please keep in topic here, this thread is about the D7 Usability Experience, not about documentation. If you have an issue regarding documentation there are avenues available for you to pursue that, first and foremost to post a request for documentation in the modules issue queue and secondly to have a crack at writing it yourself.

David Naian’s picture


... where do you think come this project from?
Where you think Drupal 7 is comeing from?

Did you ever toke a look deeply in the Drupal structure and contrib module installation process?
What do you think is this UX project for?

We just try to express our experience opinions and if I'm not wrong this is exactly what Leisa and Mark are asking for.

I'm surely not that Drupal guru but with over 2 yaers of intensive testing from drupal 4.7 to 5 and to 6 I can say I have almost an ammount of "User" experience and I'm really sad that if someone like me and others start to expone their difficulties to handle installation of Drupal get marked as: "OFF TOPIC" here.


Jeff Burnz’s picture

You are stirring up debate over documentation of contributed modules - this has little or nothing to do with core usability issues. If you cannot see that difference I ask you to look a little closer.

If Drupal were to start imposing restrictions or demands on contributors for documentation or impose other barriers such as usability benchmarks then the flow of contributed code would be reduced, possibly substantialy. You will loose, not win.

I ask you, of those so-many-modules that did not have a line of documentation, how many did you thereafter contribute back a book page, README file or other documentation to help other newbies get it installed and/or working?

My guess, none.

Scratch your own itch, that is the Drupal way.

malexandria’s picture

I don't know where you come from where you think Documentation has nothing to do with Usability???! How do you think people will learn how to use the system if there's no documentation? And I'm not trying to say documentation is the end all be all. My point is everything about Drupal is unnecessarily hard and difficult from installing Modules to doing simple things like uploading images. If you don't want to change the UI which so many of you seem to don't want, then everything should at least be documented.

David Naian’s picture

Dear @jmburnz

You do not really have the permission to know who I am and what I have done or not on and I really find it amusant to see how you argue here about something you do not have any clue, in my personal opinion. I have dedicated 6 intensive month to give my support in the Forum, in the Handbook and in the diffent issue queue, but with another user name, and surely here is not the right place to continue to discuss with you. Anyway I appreciate your engagement for the discussion and am happy you will have to sharp your comments a bit deeper staying in and that's great.

This is exactly what makes this community so fantastic.

dnewkerk’s picture

David, no one but you can know that you had a different account. Why would you change your account? A person's account (and their Tracker page) is their resume here on, which operates on a principle of meritocracy. If you choose to throw away what you earned, it isn't other people's fault (they simply could not know of your alternate identity). If you want people to be aware of this other account and afford you the merit it has earned, you should link to it on your profile page.

Anyhow, no one has said documentation is not important; it is important. However it is "not" what this thread is about. This thread is about making certain aspects of Drupal which currently require documentation to understand, instead become self-evident (as they "could" be, given an ideal UI). Separate efforts are ongoing for improved documentation (e.g. Addi, webchick, and many others are hard at work on it, preparing the way for how documentation will be improved in the coming months). Addi (docs team leader) has even received a grant to fund this effort. Again though, this is not related to Drupal 7 core - it's a separate, important issue, which is being worked on and discussed in the appropriate areas (not this thread).

David Naian’s picture

Dear @Keyz ,

1. If you go to my @david naian user account you will find that I specified my old account which was @wolfflow.

2. I really chip in in this thread because I found the comment of @malexandria interesting and wanted to support-

3. To my disgrace I had some intensive discussions with some of the members of the community about some aspects and for protest I decided to block my account as I understud that with my no native english and because most of Members are Coders and Dries Buytaert evangelist I would have really very weak change to contribute with my politic to help people to understand and orient them self better throughout Drupal Documentation, and as you can observe Drupal reflect this status in his overall performance. This is not only stated by my person. There are plenty of Article that praise Drupal potentiality but very few if any that price or underline the usability. I'm wrong?

4. Again you must be a coder, perhaps I'm wrong, maybe you as @jmburnz lead to continue to argue with me for simpathetic reasons. Anyway I did try to stop this. But you stepped in and I really do not like person who come with

I ask you, of those so-many-modules that did not have a line of documentation, how many did you thereafter contribute back a book page, README file or other documentation to help other newbies get it installed and/or working?

My guess, none.

that even doing it in an apparently gentle manner try to push to much opposition to very real statements and reasons and right to express the opinion about usability in general as @malexandria do. Are you with me?

5. This thread do not exclude to express the opinion about Drupal usability even if it's directed to Drupal 7 UX! I'm right?

6. If any other here are of the opinion that I'm going out of topic, again please read again my comments.

So I hope your curiosity is therefore satisfied and please excuse me if I will continue to stay on the side of newbies or peolple who are not native english or have the difficolty to get oriented on They will always get my support.


Jeff Burnz’s picture

I'd hate to see yet another thread get locked because off topic meanderings, lets tone it down guys and keep on track. Yes docs have their place but strictly speaking were taking more about the UI. The two can play hand in hand and I see great work towards better contextual help systems and delivery/integration of book pages as a sort of live help system.

Please, lets avoid conflict and no I'm not a Dries "evangelist", but I do love Drupal and he certainly has vision.

David Naian’s picture

Agree with you. Thanks for this replay.


malexandria’s picture

This is a great topic and it shows both the good and bad of the Drupal Community. You have the people who recognize the need to improve and make Drupal Easier for everyone and the other people who see Drupal's complexity as a badge of honor and want to keep it complex.

The Quickest and easiest way to improve drupal usability is to add two things -

1) Wysywig Editing Out of the box, this can be a customized solution, or include the two popular Editors (TinyMC, FcEditor) as selectable
options out of the box. Make it so that it's the first thing a User Does, a checkbox that says "which editor do you want to use?" HTML, TinyMC, or FCKEditor.

2) Image and Media Uploading OUT OF THE BOX. A user should be able to easily add an image anywhere in a post, resize it, etc.

The problem most noobs have with Drupal is you can't do something as simple as post a story out of the box without going through a big pile of hurt first. Fix this problem and everything else falls into place relatively easily. Until you do you are doing nothing but "putting lipstick on a pig."

David_Rothstein’s picture

Modules for doing the things you list already exist for Drupal 6. If someone wants to provide them out of the box, they don't have to wait for Drupal 7. They could put together an installation profile that contains them.

One thing that would improve the user experience immensely for Drupal 7, though, would be to make improvements to the install profile system, so that it's easier for people to package together and distribute different install profiles. There are already efforts around that.

But weighing down Drupal core with the features you mention - just because they happen to be useful for particular kinds of sites - is not the answer, in my opinion.

malexandria’s picture

Creating install packages is something that a 3rd party developer would have to do and that seems to be the answer to everything within the Drupal community - there's modules for this, let someone else put together a package for you. That would invariable cost several thousand dollars, since most Drupal developers charge ridiculous money to install and configure a solution. This thread is about making Drupal easier. Having a install profile as part of the core that provides a user selectable Editor options and image uploading out of the box is important. You shouldn't have to search for all the modules out there and try and figure out how to install them just to create a darn Post/Article/Content Type.

myke’s picture

We need to focus on usability for the modules as well. Drupal core is just one piece of the puzzle.

Maybe we need usability guidelines for modules? Similar to how we have coding guidelines?


webdev2’s picture

How does this mess or fork from what Lullabot is doing?

JohnForsythe’s picture

It's not an April Fools joke.

webdev2’s picture

dnewkerk’s picture

That link is definitely an april fools joke. Did you click on the example, or read any of the comments? ;)

malexandria’s picture

Well, Lullabot (as far as I know) is about providing training and documentation. I think this project is about improving the actual UI.

peterx’s picture

Symmetry helps. As an example, a module .info file can specify prerequisites but a theme .info file cannot, even though subthemes have themes as prerequisites and themes can require specific modules such as the colour module. Prerequisites could be a standard specification across all .info files. There are some other places where there there are inconsistencies that could be improved.

While we are on .info files, a lot of the settings file content could migrate to a .info file.

David Naian’s picture

Just for readers that come across this huge posting with none or very few knowledge about UX.

1. UX: User experience design
User experience design is a subset of the field of experience design which pertains to the creation of the architecture and interaction models which impact a user's perception of a device or system. The scope of the field is directed at affecting "all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used

source of definition: User experience design (Wikipedia)

2. UX: user experience
Encompasses all aspects of a digital product that users experience directly—and perceive, learn, and use—including its form, behavior, and content. Learnability, usability, usefulness, and aesthetic appeal are key factors in users’ experience of a product.—Pabini Gabriel-Petit

source of definition: UXMATTERS

It is assumed that you are able to install a Drupal 7 dev version on your test environment locally(Home PC) or you have a dedicated host space(Remote) to do so.

webthingee’s picture

It was suggested that I add this comment to assist in D7 usability.....

I have often wondered...
when I create a post, I can assign it to a menu, on the node/add screen...
but when I create a block... why can't I assign it to a region, on the the block/add screen?

robertDouglass’s picture

Can you, as a follow up, please open a feature request issue describing your idea in more detail? Thanks!

my Drupal book | Twitter | Director, Product Operations Commerce Guys

Nico_O’s picture

I think Drupal usability has much room to improve, although I do not think it's broken now:)
Especially the Blocks section can be a pain to use with big complex Drupal sites..
I think it would be better if this page had subpages per region..

Jeff Burnz’s picture

I like the Panels UI, with the modal window etc. I think its quite intuitive and we could have a similar system where you can select your page.tpl.php (akin to a panel page) and then add the blocks via the same type of interface. Oh darn it, why not just have panels in core and get rid of the blocks page altogether :D

WorldFallz’s picture

Oh darn it, why not just have panels in core and get rid of the blocks page altogether :D


Imagine panels and in core-- nothing else will come close!

Care about the future of the forums? Please join our conversation and show support for improving the forums infrastructure.

leisareichelt’s picture

hi everyone

I wanted to thank you all so much for participating in this conversation - we are really pleased to see so much passion and interest around this project. This thread has probably run its course for now tho, and the project has moved on a lot since we first posted this, so we're going to close off new comments so that we can concentrate on what we're doing in the project now - to that end, please do come join the conversation over at or in the groups - we'd love to have your continued involvement over the coming months.

thanks again,