Drupal Articles

Welcome to Anti-Usability Club

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the word "usability", and this abstract construct dubbed "the user".

This is not an entirely enviable stance for me to take. A brief search of my past writings will reveal that I've been downright promiscious in terms of discussing users, and their useiness. So why the change of heart?

Well, think about it:

  • have you ever thought to yourself "my, this website is insanely usable!".
  • Can you even remember the last time you uttered the word"usability" outside of a discussion about usability?
  • Have you ever heard a person who doesn't read web design blogs mention a site's "usability"?['1']

It seems to me that the word "usability" is much like the Tao: though one can speak of usability, the true, and eternal usability can only be nameless. If it had a name, than it would not be of the eternal usable nature.

A Very Timely CVS Command

Tags:

Normally I wouldn't double-dip the planet like this, but this is truly a nugget worth sharing. For the last few months you, like me, have probably been working off of the CVS head. However, as Drupal 4.7.0 is SO close, its time we return to the land of sanity. Imagine, my brothers and sisters: soon, we can checkout modules and EXPECT them to work! Truly glorious.

Unfortunately, as we all know, if we update our collection of modules and core files using the 4-7 tag, we'll lose all modules that aren't tagged for 4.7. For some time, I thought this was just "the way it was". But then, Dave Cohen brought this gem of a command to my attention.

Taking Drupal's Marketing to the Next Level

Someday, I'll have a chance to design some halfway decent drupal ads. In the meantime, however, I can only offer some general thoughts on how Drupal could become the poster child for good grassroots open source marketing.

The Focus of Our Marketing SHOULD NOT BE Drupal

Drupal's biggest problems, in terms of marketing is two fold:

A Brief Overview of the Future of Drupal: Short Term and Long Term

Last summer, nearly every client that I talked with who wanted a CMS would ask for Mambo. This was in spite of Drupal's obvious superiority in terms of code, flexibility, and power.

I was forced to conclude that Drupal's biggest weakness was the first impression it was making. I spent about 2 minutes looking at drupal.org, and Mambo's homepage, and the cause of Drupal's weak first impression was dead obvious:

Writing the Textbook for Drupal

During today's break, I participated in the second meeting of the drupal curriculum development group. For those of you with sex lives, our group is building a 5 day training course on all things drupal. The curriculum is targeted towards people with some sort of web design/development background. I think this makes sense, as I can't see anyone with a casual interest in drupal spending 5 hours for 5 days talking about drupal. However, I do know that there is more demand for experienced drupal developers than the current pool can supply. It is of the upmost importance for our platform to meet this demand.

Building Dynamic CSS Classes With Taxonomy

Michael Angeles' post on creating different looks for different sections by switching body classes and ID's inspired me to write up a related method.

The advantages of this method are that it dynamically builds classes on the basis of vocabulary and term that allow you to have wildy different styles for every node.

This method requires two parts, one snippet in your template.php file, and a special body tag in your page.tpl.php file.

On the Joys of Raising Free-Range node.tpl.php Links

Ah, chickens -- delicious chickens. Its a timeless truth, however, that not all chickens were born equal. And clearly, the best tasting chickens are those who've been allowed to feed, graze, and socialize on the open range.

10 Minutes to a Better Drupal User Interface

I'm not a betting man. However, I'd bet you 25 cents that your users will have a much easier time learning how to use Drupal with the interface I've designed below:

 

WHY? 

This interface is superior to the drupal defaults for a couple key reasons:

1. We can assume that if someone is using your website, they are already familiar, and comfortable with this type of navigation. Nearly every desktop program, from Firefox, to MS Word, to Photoshop, to Explorer, to the Macintosh Finder use this UI pattern. Always seek to design interfaces which your users will already be familiar with.

Some Thoughts for Ya'll Drupal/Civicspace Teachers, UI Designers, and Doc Writers

Today, while talking to Kieran from Civicspace labs, I mentioned that Civicspace would benefit from taking a more informal tone in their interface, documentation, and training. I supported this argument with, "well... ummm... there's -- like -- these studies... -- or something -- somewhere..."

You're damn straight that is powerful evidence!

In Praise of Lullabot, Bryght, and the scrumptulescent sIFR Module

I first discovered sIFR last October. If you've never heard of sIFR, then I suggest you pretend otherwise. Simply nod, smile, and read all about it.

The module is now available for download on CVS.

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