Exploring the Drupal 7 UX Redesign, and learning lots!
The Setup …
I must say I’ve become quite fascinated by the work of Leisa Reichelt, Mark Boulton, and team on the Drupal 7 User Experience Project. So why is that? Well first, I’m not a web designer or UX guy. And I think what I find most fascinating is that they’re opening their world to me – and making transparent their core design principles, information architecture, and collaborative community design process.
What is the Drupal 7 User Experience Project?
The D7UX project is basically a community effort to make Drupal easier to use, and simplify the information architecture. As mentioned above, it’s led by designer Leisa Reichelt and Mark Boulton, and it seems to me (with my limited knowledge of Web UX) that they’re doing a great job.
Breaking it down …
So I stated above that Reichelt and crew are managing the evolution of their UX design/IA in a very open and transparent way. Below are a few links and videos that give you a really good sense of their process/approach and key design decisions.
Strategy and Principles
Here’s a video from May 2009 where Reichelt and Boulton discuss core design principles guiding the D7UX project:
In April 2009, as a result of initial “Ideation”, Reichelt and Boulton produced this video speaking to initial concepts and direction:
And finally, at the end of March 2009, the team produced this updated user experience strategy statement.
Right then (as the British would say), what about the overall process of the Drupal UX redesign? Well, Mark Boulton spoke to the overall process here, where he discusses the process illustrated on this visual:
… and Leisa and Mark elaborate on the approach here.
A number of excellent posts/videos on the IA for Drupal 7, starting with this delightful video from Roy Scholten:
IA for Site Building Environment
Leisa has a couple of prototype walkthroughs of the Drupal 7 Site Building environment, which is accessed through the “Structure” menu item. This one is from May 2009:
And this one is from June 2009:
Communicating to the Community
Did I say this already? That I REALLY like the openness and transparency in Leisa and Mark’s communication with the broader Drupal community? Case in point, here’s an updated from May 2009 where Leisa and Mark felt compelled to communicate to the community how, as the project moved beyond the Ideation phase into a more concrete design phase, that the nature of the communication would change to.
And here’s the blog post accompanying the video.
The Drupal Community
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some feel for the broader Drupal developer community that is working to evolve the platform. Here’s a slide from Dries Buytaert‘s State of Drupal 2009 presentation in Paris:
Drupal 7 and the Semantic Web
A bit OT, but as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m also impressed by the vision Drupal has around the Semantic Web generally, and RDF specifically. Please refer to this previous post if this is a topic of interest to you.
Again, I’m not a web designer, and haven’t really had any previous experience with Drupal. But, I can recognize a well-thought out process and architcture when I see it … even if it’s just an intuitive feel at first. I’m also quite fascinated by the Open Source approach, and the vast community feedback process at work in designing and developing an open source platform.
Thanks Leisa and Mark for opening up your world to your creative process.