Site Builders: Let's clean up our UIs!

Note: this is an archived site. The current site can be found at
Doheny Beach A

The more advanced we become as web developers (or development teams), the more we segregate aspects of building a quality website.

At the end of the day, however, our users do not know (or care about) the difference between information architecture, accessible content or usability and development or quality coding.

Possibly more important, our clients, the people who need to keep the content up to date and valuable for their users, don't know or care either.

All either knows is whether or not they can find the content or tool they need without having to break out a thirty page manual or watch a 20 minute video first.

Drupal's basic components, such as

  • Blocks
  • User roles
  • Views
  • Display modes
  • Menus

actually make it very easy for the site builder to build in golden UI nuggets while setting up content types, view displays and more. If we do this work while building the site (rather than waiting until theming, cleanup or post-user-testing), then not only are our lives much easier later on, but the client remains happier throughout the process. When we get to the bug-squashing/clean-up phase, we can focus on real improvements rather than fixing basic usability.

This session will cover ideas that qualify as "low-hanging-fruit" (easy and quick to implement) for how to improve site usability right from the get-go, while building your views, content types, blocks, contexts, panels, etc. in the first place. Nothing covered in this session will require advanced knowledge of Drupal, or even coding knowledge.

Ideally, this session will also spark a longer-term discussion -- where many share their ideas -- about other easy ways to make sites more user-friendly, and give us all a starting point to make Drupal shine even more than it already does.

Site Building
One hour