Drupal 6 had problems. While it was better than all the other previous versions, there were still fundamental problems with the user experience of the software. Usability testing and interviewing revealed people had trouble with even the most simple of tasks such as adding content to their website. It was our job to fix this, along with the other problems we knew Drupal had (and some we didn’t).
To keep us on track throughout our initial six-week research period we determined some design principles to work to:
- Privilege the content creator
- Make the 80% delightful and the 20% achievable
- Smart defaults
The first of these was perhaps the most important from our perspective. Drupal is a community largely made up of developers committed to making the best, most scalable, sustainable open source content management system they can. The other side of this coin is that, by doing this, the community can be too focused on the technical delivery of Drupal rather than understanding the needs of the people who are using it every day. Our job was to understand and focus on these people.
Designing for community
Having been through the Drupal.org redesign process, we'd learnt some valuable lessons on how to design within an open source project. By clearly communicating our work, every step of the way, we ensured the community was across all of our thinking, research and design work.