How usable Drupal is

Some time ago I was chatting about Drupal with a friend who said to me:

“But my clients prefer Wordpress because Drupal is not user friendly for the content administration.”

I was amazed and I promised to him that I’ll write a post to show everybody how usable and user friendly Drupal could be. So, here it is!

First I would like to show you some big improvements that have been introduced in Drupal 8 regarding the admin graphic interface and user experience.

The Seven theme, the default administration theme for Drupal 8, has a style guide included with a big visual and usability improvements in most of its components, that makes it more enjoyable for the person experiencing the administration interface.

This new theme is responsive, this means that beside the new toolbar implementation (with room for improvements), enables to administer Drupal from a mobile device or other devices.

Another improvement is the possibility to edit a content directly from its own presentation without the need to access its edit form.

Moreover in Drupal 8, thanks to the Joyride library addition, we have the chance to incorporate a introduction visual tour with tooltips that explain a specific feature or page to the user.

Thus some complex admin pages like the edit views page, can incorporate a small tutorial that can present to a rookie user the different elements of the page and its features.

A special mention to the efforts introduced by the usability group to review and test with usability tests all this improvements and specially on how they put the focus on improving the experience of the personas that use Drupal.

It was very interesting to see the reaction of people who use Drupal for the first time at the DrupalCon Barcelona session where the results of the usability tests were presented along with the future plans to improve this experience.

If you are interested in UX world I recommend you to visit the group website and follow his Twitter account to be up to date about the progress and be able to participate in the process.

In the other hand I would like to recommend a few modules, tools and give some tips that can improve the administration experience in Drupal 7:

Personally I think that disabling the core module «overlay» improves the performance and the administration pages will appear more simple.

With the Module filter the configuration interface of module administration can be improved.

Through the admin menu module we can provide a drop down menu to easily access the administration menu links.

Installing the Chosen library with its contributed module allow us to improve the content administration field form widgets.

When we develop the create and edit content form is very important to use some modules to group elements, change the layout of the form or allow the creation of the referenced content from the same form.

Also we can change the general appearance of the administration side using a different administration theme like adminimal for example. This theme includes even another administration menu.

As a last remark we can create anytime a new subtheme, inheriting form other base theme to change any element that we want to change in our administration theme.

I hope that from this day you see Drupal a little bit nicer :)