Two weeks ago, I was in London for two days of working on the Drupal 7 User Experience (D7UX) project with Leisa Reichelt, Mark Boulton and Acquians Jeff Noyes and Jason Reed. A lot of topics were covered. Here's my notes on some of them:
Sketching in teams of two generates a lot of material, fast. You can easily fill the day talking about what comes from thirty minutes of sketching.
A toolbar along the top that offers quick acces to the most important bits of your Drupal installation? How boring, how obvious! How revolutionary for Drupal. We can argue some more about what to actually put on that shelf, but let's agree that having that shelf there would be a Good Thing, ok?
Site building and navigation. It's probably the toughest nut to crack. The ideas for fixing this aim to bring many levels of site building together into one flow. From sitemap to page, to region to content or block, to widget to a single field. Oh, plus the menu system of course. This subject would benefit most from chopping it up in a few smaller (but still big) chunks: 1. Building site structure/navigation, 2. Defining Page layouts, 3. Manage all the different bits and pieces to put in those layouts.
Edit on page. Ok. The idea is *not* to make everything directly editable in place. Title and body, yeah sure, why not. Everything else gets taken to the admin overlay. Think inspecting a page with Firebug and the block editing links in Zen theme.
Dries Buytaert joined us on the second day. Even his questions could be answered within the existing framework of ideas. Which was the main goal of this meeting after all: validate the existing concepts, find the holes, do inital brainstorms around those. The only nagging feeling was that at the end of day two, we were just about ready to start tackling the remaining design problems. Time up.
Jeff Noyes invited me to come along to provide some "Drupal insider" experience and perspective. Acquia generously paid for my flight and hotel, for which I say many thanks. Certainly a very interesting exercise I was glad to be a part of.
The take away? Leisa and Mark know what they are doing. Really. We're moving in the right direction. And, with all the Drupal tough love and genuine positive feedback and input combined, we are slowly but surely getting under their skin. They love us already :-)
Let's love them back even more during the second half of this project. Things will be getting a lot more hands-on during the coming weeks and I hope you will join in to help build yet another user friendliest Drupal release ever.
All your input most welcome on the D7UX project web site.