Designers, meet the Drupal community!

20 Mar 2009 - 1:57pm
5 years ago
14 replies
1062 reads
Philipp Schröder
2007

Hi everyone,

I joined the ixda mailing list 3 years ago and it has contributed
immensely to my personal growth as an ixd practitioner. The in-depth
design discussions in this community are a true treasure trove.

However, even with 10'000 members, I consider it still somewhat one of
the internet's "best kept secrets". IMHO, the current website doesn't
succeed well in representing the power of this community.

I've been glad to learn about the plans to revamp the ixda site. Even
better, I'm thrilled about the recent decision to use Drupal as a
technological base.

I joined the Drupal community 3 years ago and it has been instrumental
in helping me to stay up to date with the latest web trends / developments.

In my opinion, the best kept secret about Drupal is that its power is
not so much the technology - a web content management framework. The
power lies in the up-to-date technology discussions in the community. As
an added bonus, Drupal developers build some of technology in discussion
and release it to the world, as usable software, free to use and modify
by anyone (it's open source).

There has been some talk here recently about 'open source user
experience' and collaborating with open source movement and learning
from each other. Well, here is the chance staring right at you!

According to the plan of the IxDA Board, the new Drupal-based platform
(code-named "Conan") will likely comprise local groups, an events
calendar, member profiles and improved discussion tools. Well, all of
that is available on groups.drupal.org today, free to use.

Therefore, any IxDA members who would like to get first hand experience
of what functionality currently exists in Drupal Groups, feel free to
have a look for yourself:

http://groups.drupal.org/interaction-designers-network

Feel free to join the group and start experimenting, providing feedback,
constructive criticism, etc.

Collaborating on the ready-to-use infrastructure there will achieve two
things:
A.) You can help to shape the future networking platform of your very
own community.
B.) You can start to engage an amazing community of clued-in technologists.

Dave Malouf has pointed out that the culture of open source software is
one where "code contribution is king". True. However, you might find
yourself surprised. I feel that the Drupal community is insofar special,
as it is - at large - very aware of what design brings to the table.

The spirit of OSS is grounded in open collaboration. To me, it is the
future - come and engage with it!

--

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::.

Philipp Schroeder
DIN15 / Information Architecture & Interaction Design
www.din15.org, philipp at din15.org

Comments

20 Mar 2009 - 2:48pm
James Wanless
2009

I hear what you're saying and, no doubt, Drupal does some things very
well. Where I work, we've built a few standalone projects with it.
However, it also has some huge drawbacks when compared with something
like Wordpress for medium sized, discussion-based sites (blogs on
steroids, or even discussion forums).

Drupal is a mess to theme and very difficult to hand off to an end
client who just wants to easily update content. Theming it, with
it's convoluted combination of views and mods is, frankly, a pain of
monumental proportions. The mod update process, compared to that of
plugin updates on Wordpress, pales in comparison, from an ease-of-use
standpoint.

Wordpress is infinitely easier to configure and to manage content,
due to a much more elegant backend. It has a very active community
and follows the same open source approach to extending the platform,
as does Drupal. Wordpress has addressed many of the things that used
to make it a second choice for larger sites with a lot of users,
though it's still probably weak compared to Drupal in the user
management arena.

I'm not trying to open a debate here, since IxDA has already chosen
to use Drupal, but it's certainly not the only game in town for
seeing an open source approach in a robust community.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40227

20 Mar 2009 - 3:38pm
Angel Marquez
2008

It's a sign that experts would choose drupal over wordpress.

Wordpress is far superior on to many fronts to even waste time
discussing.

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 20, 2009, at 12:48 PM, James Wanless <james at wanless.info> wrote:

> I hear what you're saying and, no doubt, Drupal does some things very
> well. Where I work, we've built a few standalone projects with it.
> However, it also has some huge drawbacks when compared with something
> like Wordpress for medium sized, discussion-based sites (blogs on
> steroids, or even discussion forums).
>
> Drupal is a mess to theme and very difficult to hand off to an end
> client who just wants to easily update content. Theming it, with
> it's convoluted combination of views and mods is, frankly, a pain of
> monumental proportions. The mod update process, compared to that of
> plugin updates on Wordpress, pales in comparison, from an ease-of-use
> standpoint.
>
> Wordpress is infinitely easier to configure and to manage content,
> due to a much more elegant backend. It has a very active community
> and follows the same open source approach to extending the platform,
> as does Drupal. Wordpress has addressed many of the things that used
> to make it a second choice for larger sites with a lot of users,
> though it's still probably weak compared to Drupal in the user
> management arena.
>
> I'm not trying to open a debate here, since IxDA has already chosen
> to use Drupal, but it's certainly not the only game in town for
> seeing an open source approach in a robust community.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40227
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Mar 2009 - 4:59am
AJ Kock
2007

This is critique in general about people who prefers to choose the
complex path, in fearing of being devalued.

I actually didn't want to get involve in this discussion, because it
is almost like Apple vs PC, but if I don't ask or discuss clarity will
never be reached, and some people actually think that WordPress is
just a blog and can't be a CMS.

I have been on this group I think for over a year now and I thought
that the aim of this group, of like minded people, was to create
better user experiences. We want to create products that users can
embrace and not be frustrated by. Why is it then that the "experts"
fear WordPress? Why do the "experts" choose systems that are known for
their higher learning curves and shun the systems like WordPress that
has excelled in user experience? WordPress embodies everything we want
in our digital life; a product that are easy to learn and use (than
any other similar system currently on the market).

Does empowering the user, scare the experts because they might no
longer be needed or feel less of an expert among their peers?
Why do you want to do the more complex methods if easier ones are
available?
I hear things like Drupal or Joomla can DO so much more? Really? Are
you working on possibility or practicality? How many users do you
think WordPress MU handles?
Are we being hypocrites (especially as IxDA Members) by choosing more
complex systems?

I am not criticising Drupal or anyone specifically here. I am sure the
people at Drupal are great and passionate about the product they
create and so are the Joomla supporters; and their products can do
amazing things. But if you are evangelists for a better user
experience, shouldn't you be supporting the products which have a
better user experience?

The funny thing is that Drupal & Joomla can improve their user
experience with leaps, if only they will only choose to stop using
engineering and programming terms and start talking the user's
language.

21 Mar 2009 - 5:29am
AJ Kock
2007

Please, I would seriously be enlightened if you could tell me what those
features are that you can find in Drupal but not WordPress.

21 Mar 2009 - 6:45am
Peter Van Dijck
2008

Does Wordpress have groups and flexible roles? I'm not sure, just asking :)
Peter

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 11:29 AM, AJ Kock <ajkock at gmail.com> wrote:

> Please, I would seriously be enlightened if you could tell me what those
> features are that you can find in Drupal but not WordPress.
>

--
me: http://petervandijck.com
blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
global UX consulting: http://290s.com
free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

21 Mar 2009 - 5:15am
Peter Van Dijck
2008

So your point is that Wordpress has a better user experience, so we should
use it, even though the other products have more features?
Sounds fair enough, if WP actually does what we want it to do.

Peter

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM, AJKock <ajkock at gmail.com> wrote:

> This is critique in general about people who prefers to choose the
> complex path, in fearing of being devalued.
>
> I actually didn't want to get involve in this discussion, because it
> is almost like Apple vs PC, but if I don't ask or discuss clarity will
> never be reached, and some people actually think that WordPress is
> just a blog and can't be a CMS.
>
> I have been on this group I think for over a year now and I thought
> that the aim of this group, of like minded people, was to create
> better user experiences. We want to create products that users can
> embrace and not be frustrated by. Why is it then that the "experts"
> fear WordPress? Why do the "experts" choose systems that are known for
> their higher learning curves and shun the systems like WordPress that
> has excelled in user experience? WordPress embodies everything we want
> in our digital life; a product that are easy to learn and use (than
> any other similar system currently on the market).
>
> Does empowering the user, scare the experts because they might no
> longer be needed or feel less of an expert among their peers?
> Why do you want to do the more complex methods if easier ones are
> available?
> I hear things like Drupal or Joomla can DO so much more? Really? Are
> you working on possibility or practicality? How many users do you
> think WordPress MU handles?
> Are we being hypocrites (especially as IxDA Members) by choosing more
> complex systems?
>
> I am not criticising Drupal or anyone specifically here. I am sure the
> people at Drupal are great and passionate about the product they
> create and so are the Joomla supporters; and their products can do
> amazing things. But if you are evangelists for a better user
> experience, shouldn't you be supporting the products which have a
> better user experience?
>
> The funny thing is that Drupal & Joomla can improve their user
> experience with leaps, if only they will only choose to stop using
> engineering and programming terms and start talking the user's
> language.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
me: http://petervandijck.com
blog: http://poorbuthappy.com/ease/
global UX consulting: http://290s.com
free travel guides: http://poorbuthappy.com
Belgium: (+32) 03/325 88 70
Skype id: peterkevandijck

20 Mar 2009 - 8:49pm
Brian Henkel
2007

James, I agree with your points on WordPress. WordPress, as you say,
is much easier on many fronts. But, it is not nearly as powerful as
Drupal. I think that's a notion most will agree with.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40227

21 Mar 2009 - 2:17pm
Angel Marquez
2008

Drupal being more complex and technical is a fallacy.
I've used drupal, joomla, mambo, crown peak, trinidad, proprietary systems a
slew of others and when I finally got around to checking out wordpress I was
pleasantly surprised.

Even if wordpress doesn't do exactly what you want it to do out of the box
the experts should be able to pull it together and make it happen within a
reasonable amount of time.

I always wondered why some big dev teams or communities just don't develop
their own tool/system. Why don't you guys do your things and conduct your
millions of tests, make some decisions, make some wireframes, prototypes and
wow the world with that skill everyone should buy into? A team of designers
agreeing to use drupal is kind of strange.

I think the communication of creating a simple internal tool is probably the
best opportunity to get everyone in sync before you offer your whacky
service to the public.

Just my 2 cents.

I'll still read the emails no matter what you use. Please don't take this
away (bad move). It's discouraging a specialized team/community that boast
about optimal research before design would just jump on the bandwagon and
say drupal, we are using drupal. Drupal is the first search result that
comes up when you google CMS, it must be the best...

21 Mar 2009 - 3:54pm
Brian Henkel
2007

Just so I understand, who is the %u2018user%u2019 when you say
WordPress provides a better user experience? If you%u2019re talking
about the end-user who doesn%u2019t know (or care) what CMS was used
to build the site, then I%u2019d like to learn more about how exactly
WordPress provides a better user experience?

I%u2019ll presume you are referring to the user experience of a
person or team building a website. Then, yes, without a doubt,
WordPress provides unmatched ease of use to the *non-developer*. But
if you need/desire customization, most developers will say they feel
their hands are tied. In this sense, it is not a better user
experience.

In terms of features, one can add plugin after plugin to WordPress to
inch it closer to Drupal%u2019s core feature set. User management is a
strength of Drupal (I can%u2019t comment on the value of the user
management WordPress plugins mentioned). Views and the creation of
Content Types are also very powerful for custom sites. The famous
Yahoo Design Pattern Library was built on Drupal using these features
( http://tinyurl.com/cdxdma ), saying %u201CUltimately, we chose
Drupal because of its breadth of capabilities, powerful taxonomy, and
extensibility.%u201D When we discuss %u201Cfeatures%u201D, I suspect
we first think of blogs, forums, polls, etc. %u2013 but out-of-the
box capabilities such as Content Types, Views, Taxomony, etc. are
core Drupal features to support tailored designs.

If we were to do an assessment of each tool%u2019s Administrative
areas, Drupal is a better provider of tools to manage large-scale,
multi-authored sites. Core User Management, Roles, Permissions,
Actions, Logging and Alerts, System Performance, Load Optimization,
etc. support site maintenance and performance.

Drupal is a content management framework that provides the basis for
building, extending, and maintaining large, multi-authored sites. It
boils down to choosing the right tool for the job. If you need a
%u201Cstandard%u201D site (blogs, forums, polls, profiles), WordPress
is probably your answer. If your design requires customization, Drupal
is more flexible; if you need to support a large, multi-authored
community, Drupal provides better site maintenance and performance.

I'm not married to either Drupal or WordPress. I just know each has
its strengths.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40227

21 Mar 2009 - 4:01pm
Angel Marquez
2008

You can put your drupal T-shirt on and jump off a cliff and I won't try and
stop you.

21 Mar 2009 - 6:39pm
Philipp Schröder
2007

> I actually didn't want to get involve in this discussion, because it
> is almost like Apple vs PC, but if I don't ask or discuss clarity will
> never be reached, and some people actually think that WordPress is
> just a blog and can't be a CMS.

I hope this thread doesn't derail into a discussion about whether tool y
is better than tool z.

In my original post, I was trying to put forward that I see a huge
opportunity for collaboration and cross-fertilization between the ixda
community and the drupal community. I feel both communities can profit
from each other's *expertise*.

> [...] Why is it then that the "experts"
> fear WordPress? Why do the "experts" choose systems that are known for
> their higher learning curves and shun the systems like WordPress that
> has excelled in user experience?

Well, in an ideal world, software would be so adaptable to one's needs
and personal experience level, that we wouldn't need distinct 'software
for experts'. I feel that Alan Cooper's suggestion to optimize for the
"perpetual intermediates", rather than for the beginners, is good advice
and something I feel Drupal is aiming for.

> Does empowering the user, scare the experts because they might no
> longer be needed or feel less of an expert among their peers?

That is an interesting question. I am curious, where do you see evidence
of such behaviour?

Consider for example that Dries Buytaert - original creator and project
lead of Drupal - has been evangelizing about empowering the user by
"eliminating the middlemen" for years:
http://buytaert.net/drupal-and-eliminating-middlemen

> [...] But if you are evangelists for a better user
> experience, shouldn't you be supporting the products which have a
> better user experience?

Building software with great user experience "for the masses" is hard.
That's why I point out that there is a great opportunity here ripe for
the taking - for the ixda and drupal communities to actively collaborate
on the ixda networking platform project.

The ixda site building team will benefit from drupal's developer
community. Drupal will benefit from expert ixd advice that can be
incorporated into the core framework. And most importantly, the members
of this community, who notably will be the "end users" of the resulting
platform, are participating in the process. Hey, I am talking about
user-centered, participatory design here. :-)

> The funny thing is that Drupal & Joomla can improve their user
> experience with leaps, if only they will only choose to stop using
> engineering and programming terms and start talking the user's
> language.

It's interesting that you mention language here.

In fact, the terminology used in the system was what originally led me
to Drupal and its community - namely Drupal's "taxonomy" module. As far
as I am concerned, Drupal introduced a paradigm shift on how to organise
and structure content. Drupal's abstract way of storing all content
types as 'nodes' and then allowing all kinds of navigation -
content-linking, filtering, searching, ... where hierarchical
organisation is only one option, rather than the dominant one.

Drupal was and is developed by a bunch of forward looking technologists,
right there on the "web frontier". IxD'ers, come and play! :-)

--

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::.

Philipp Schroeder
DIN15 / Information Architecture & Interaction Design
www.din15.org, philipp at din15.org

22 Mar 2009 - 6:39am
Leisa Reichelt
2006

also not wanting to enter into the 'my tool is better than your tool'
debate, but thought some people may be interested to know that Drupal
is very aware of their current user experience issues and having
conducted some recent usability testing that found some users
completely at a loss when asked to complete a task to 'create
content', the community on the whole is very aware of the fact that
significant work needs to be done.

to that end, I'm really happy to be currently working with Mark
Boulton Design on a project sponsored by Acquia that is focused
entirely on improving the user experience of Drupal 7 (the next
version release of Drupal) for novice / intermediate users and as has
been suggested, there is an awful lot that we hope to approve in this
next release to make Drupal a much more viable option for
non-developers.

we're trying to run this project as 'open source' as we can - you can
see some of the work to date here
http://www.disambiguity.com/category/planet-drupal/ and we're in the
process of getting a site that aggregates all of the activity from
within the community and elsewhere on this project - just seeing the
feedback here has already been insightful, so if you're interested in
commenting on or participating in this process I would be really
thrilled to have your input throughout the process. (that's a message
for anyone, not only those currently jousting in this thread!)

despite being drafted to work with Drupal on UX projects, I'm still a
relatively happy Wordpress user. In fact, one of the success criteria
we set for this project is that Drupal7 will be such a significiant
improvement that it will be enough to tempt those of us working on the
project from our other platforms (Wordpress and Expression Engine) and
over to Drupal.

I'm the first to admit that there is a long way to go, but the tide is
really starting to turn within the Drupal community - there are now
some really energetic UX and Design communities starting to emerge and
the community overall has a much clearer sense of the impact that
their current poor user experience is having on the perception of
their product.  I'm really excited to see what we can accomplish in
the coming months and years and again, for those interested in helping
us better integrate design into an opensource environment, please come
and help out!

It's a particularly great opportunity for anyone relatively new to the
field and looking to gain some hands on experience - there's lots of
work that needs doing - if you are interested, please ping me and I'm
happy to help introduce you to the lay of the land (at least as much
as I know it - I'm only fairly new to the community, but I can at
least make it a whole lot less scary!)

________________________
Leisa Reichelt
Disambiguity.com
Contextual Research, User Centred Design & Social Design

leisa at disambiguity.com
+44 778 071 2129

2009/3/21 Philipp Schroeder <philipp at din15.org>
>
> > I actually didn't want to get involve in this discussion, because it
> > is almost like Apple vs PC, but if I don't ask or discuss clarity will
> > never be reached, and some people actually think that WordPress is
> > just a blog and can't be a CMS.
>
> I hope this thread doesn't derail into a discussion about whether tool y
> is better than tool z.
>
> In my original post, I was trying to put forward that I see a huge
> opportunity for collaboration and cross-fertilization between the ixda
> community and the drupal community. I feel both communities can profit
> from each other's *expertise*.
>
> > [...] Why is it then that the "experts"
> > fear WordPress? Why do the "experts" choose systems that are known for
> > their higher learning curves and shun the systems like WordPress that
> > has excelled in user experience?
>
> Well, in an ideal world, software would be so adaptable to one's needs
> and personal experience level, that we wouldn't need distinct 'software
> for experts'. I feel that Alan Cooper's suggestion to optimize for the
> "perpetual intermediates", rather than for the beginners, is good advice
> and something I feel Drupal is aiming for.
>
> > Does empowering the user, scare the experts because they might no
> > longer be needed or feel less of an expert among their peers?
>
> That is an interesting question. I am curious, where do you see evidence
> of such behaviour?
>
> Consider for example that Dries Buytaert - original creator and project
> lead of Drupal - has been evangelizing about empowering the user by
> "eliminating the middlemen" for years:
> http://buytaert.net/drupal-and-eliminating-middlemen
>
> > [...] But if you are evangelists for a better user
> > experience, shouldn't you be supporting the products which have a
> > better user experience?
>
> Building software with great user experience "for the masses" is hard.
> That's why I point out that there is a great opportunity here ripe for
> the taking - for the ixda and drupal communities to actively collaborate
> on the ixda networking platform project.
>
> The ixda site building team will benefit from drupal's developer
> community. Drupal will benefit from expert ixd advice that can be
> incorporated into the core framework. And most importantly, the members
> of this community, who notably will be the "end users" of the resulting
> platform, are participating in the process. Hey, I am talking about
> user-centered, participatory design here. :-)
>
> > The funny thing is that Drupal & Joomla can improve their user
> > experience with leaps, if only they will only choose to stop using
> > engineering and programming terms and start talking the user's
> > language.
>
> It's interesting that you mention language here.
>
> In fact, the terminology used in the system was what originally led me
> to Drupal and its community - namely Drupal's "taxonomy" module. As far
> as I am concerned, Drupal introduced a paradigm shift on how to organise
> and structure content. Drupal's abstract way of storing all content
> types as 'nodes' and then allowing all kinds of navigation -
> content-linking, filtering, searching, ... where hierarchical
> organisation is only one option, rather than the dominant one.
>
> Drupal was and is developed by a bunch of forward looking technologists,
> right there on the "web frontier". IxD'ers, come and play! :-)
>
>
> --
>
>
> :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::.
>
> Philipp Schroeder
> DIN15 / Information Architecture & Interaction Design
> www.din15.org, philipp at din15.org
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

22 Mar 2009 - 5:15pm
Sam Liu
2009

Open source needs open minds.

Philipp's message is not to promote Drupal but welcome IxD
professionals to bring their real world tested practice to the open
source development of Drupal. There is a lot to learn from both
sides.

--- Someone new to both Drupal and IxD worlds but willing to learn.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from ixda.org (via iPhone)
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40227

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