Current Drupal's admin UI (the Seven theme) was a great improvement but hasn’t evolved much over the last years and it starts to feel outdated and needs a visual update. Some first steps were done at DrupalCon Vienna 2017 and conclusions can be seen here. The defined vision so far is:

Declutter and simplify the content authoring experience by driving user’s focus on the content itself, modernize the tools used for content authoring and move the meta/settings/workflow elements to a new “utility(ies)” section(s).

Although Experiments with JavaScript frameworks or modernization of the underlying theme architecture will help and we rely in the improvements it will bring, this is not the place to discuss them. We should design thinking on the user needs.

What do we need?

One of the next steps is to search what is going on outside Drupal’s island that we can implement. Have you seen something that you think Drupal should have? Help us collecting ideas, patterns and workflows to improve Drupal’s Usability and Interface and make it better.

Some competitors and products to look at would be:
- Wordpress
- Contentful
- Adobe Experience Manager
- Sitecore
- Squarespace
- Wix
- [More ideas?, please add others here]

How to collect ideas&patterns

To be able to process and analyze all the ideas later on it would be great to follow some patterns. We’ll need visual examples of what you are sharing because we might not have access to the product you are sharing and all we’ll have about it is what you share.

  1. Moodboard. We’ve prepared this easy-to-use so you can add GIFs/images just by Drag&Drop with no need to register:
  2. Youtube. Have you recorded a long video? Share here the link so we can watch it.
  3. Issue queue. You can also add here what you found, but please add some screenshots to it.

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ckrina created an issue. See original summary.

dman’s picture

Shout-out to LICEcap (Win/OSX) as the most no-nonsense OSS/free instant screen-GIF-capture utility I've ever needed to demonstrate a single UI concept quickly. I use it several times a day in support issues and creating docs.
Protip: zoom your browser screen down a bit before recording, so your audience can watch your interaction, not read your text.

bryanhirsch’s picture

Thanks so much for working on this!

I recommend taking a look at Netlify CMS

Here's some of the thinking we've been doing on, looking ahead to supporting an increasingly decoupled authoring experience:

joaogarin’s picture

First of all thanks for raising this issue! Its a great point, and analysing competition and what they are doing right is a great first step.

I think I would categorise things I like to see in other CMS's in three or four different categories.

1 ) Design

The first one is rather obvious, but maybe the most subjective / controversial one perhaps and so one that is not really easy to just fix. The Seven theme is just aesthetically boring. It was such a let down to many people I know installing Drupal 8 and seeing the same (yes many people don't even realise there are some differences) admin theme and bartik when installing with the default (You have no content published -> more on this up front). It needs some great design, better usage of icons and so on..wont go too much into it

2 ) Naming / Drupalisms

Maybe this one is not so much of the scope of an admin theme so I am a bit reluctant to put it here.. But the configuration of content models (content types etc) is too couple into what drupal people know, or even the implementation of these types. I am thinking for example of the field configuration. Lets compare Drupal with contentful as an example :

Drupal :

Contentful :

In the contentful example an administrator is immediately picturing what will be appearing in terms of UI. In drupal not only it is the first thing you need to know you also need that mapping in your head (List text = dropdown, Number list = dropdown of integers etc..some of which are totally not clear and easy to picture..even after doing drupal for some time)

3 ) Empty states

Empty states deserve better design. They are quite important in terms of a user's (admins) experience. Its essencialy about those weird parts of an app, that mostly come into the design process as a "later" stage thought. Things like that page when the user just signed up for the first time and everything is empty, errors, when the user clears all data and a list becomes empty and so on..

I will just link some articles I think its relevant here, maybe "empty states" doesn't ring a bell to some people reading this

In drupal, and more specifically in the drupal admin theme this would related to empty lists, empty structures etc..Which normally deserve only a line of text. They need design process. They need to be taken seriously as important parts of the user experience. there are many ways to make these temporary states relevant like providing more info on the platform (educating the user), call to actions etc..

I wont repeat what I have seen in the moodboard which i think are great ideas as well, sry but I wasn't able to find how to make an account and contribute with a bit more there..

I hope my contributions here where a bit helpful. It looks like CMS's are popping up a lot now, they are a bit hip again (?) and thats great for Drupal but it also means we need to do a better job in staying relevant and keep up with other great solutions out there that have great design in mind. Drupal needs great design as well, and for the admin theme I think thats prob what I see lacking most. I do see huge improvements over Drupal 7 (huge!!) but showing Drupal 8 to other users I have seen faces like "is the same?", I think just hoping for something more fresh.

I really don't want this to sound like I am neglecting the great work being done by everyone that has contributed to the Seven theme and any other parts of Drupal. I appreciate and love the hard work that has been consistently put out in there.

joaogarin’s picture

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