Thoughts on the Drupal Admin Experience (AX)

By mandclu, Thu, 10/08/2020 - 14:57

Something I've been passionate about for a while has been the admin experience we create to support the sites we build in Drupal. I remember a while ago noticing that particularly for site I was building for less technical clients, I would often spend at least as much time making the content editor experience easy to use as I spent on the public face of the site.

There were a few key principles that guided me:

  • Strip away unneeded complexity: Drupal is incredibly powerful, but for less technical users, the sheer volume of controls it exposes by default can be daunting to people whose skills don't run as much on the technical side
  • Provide multimodal options to manage content: Anyone used to Drupal knows exactly how to add content, but for new users, the standard option is ticked out the way, and an editor is required to remember a non-obvious way to access these options. Provide explicit and obvious prompts to add content across the website
  • Prompt to manage content in context: Building on the point above, it's especially helpful to have links in context, so editors can add to content lists wherever they exist on the site. At the top of any view/list of specific content (news, events, etc.) I tried to provide an editor-only link to add to the list
  • Keep editors in context whenever possible: Particularly for simple content types, allowing editors to stay in context will make the site more intuitive

I've been trying to build on these principles of late, and making them easier to implement in modern versions of Drupal. These ideas were what led me to create the modules Add Content By Bundle and Display Link Plus. I also took on being co-maintainer of Form mode control because I can see value in having a simplified node form in context, with an ability to have more extensive options in a standalone form. Stayed tuned for more details on how this will work with Add Content By Bundle.

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