10 UX Changes for Every Drupal Site


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Drupal Camp North East 2014 talk on UX changes for Drupal sites

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  • Hello everyone, I’m Vicky. I’m a UX designer (at Orange Bus) a longtime Drupal designer and dev (since Drupal 6, I think my first Drupal site was in October 2008, a personal blog that I completely ruined. Luckily I learnt a bit more after that!).
  • Drupal is great for a lot of things, but usability isn’t one of them. Admittedly, it’s a lot better than it used to be - for anyone who remembers Drupal 6 - but there are still a number of issues that are always worth ending up getting fixed: and in fact are often one of the things that makes it clear to me that a site has been built on Drupal. Well, that and that Webalyser on my computer shows it up as being Drupal. I’ll admit that there’s been a serious push on usability for Drupal 7 and that a lot of this is being actioned in Drupal 8, as Adam pointed out earlier today with a lot of the changes happening with Drupal 8. (I know that Leisa Reichelt, the head of gov.uk and one of the two designers involved in the Drupal UX project a few years ago, has noted that a lot of the things they pointed out have started getting pushed through now). I’ve seen that some things I’ll talk about today are going to get fixed (hopefully) in Drupal 8. However, most of us are still on Drupal 7, and will certainly be supporting them for a fair while.
  • I’ll admit that this is based on a combination of my own experience as a Drupal developer from the last few years, as well as some of the changes that our UX team at Orange Bus always implement on Drupal sites we build or end up picking up when clients have existing sites running on Drupal. However, our developers tend to custom code a lot of options, so the modules I suggest are often my own experience rather than our agencies. I have used most in the past and tested all of them, but I felt that it was important to provide easy options for site builders to implement rather than just saying ‘go talk to the devs’.

    I’ve also focused on front end options rather than back end, for that I recommend looking at the fantastic set of modules put together in Tasty Backend by Jenny Tehan.
  • on to the 10!
  • I read a post from a few years ago complaining about why for some reason Dries had decided that usernames could have spaces rather than the standard ‘no spaces in username’ pattern. The entire issue of usernames is problematic when it comes to sites that you don’t go to very often: the old ‘what on earth did I register this as’?
  • To be fair, this isn’t specific to Drupal. This is from a damning review of healthcare.gov (not a drupal site) where one of the many things they pointed out as being wrong was that people had to select a user name to register. This is a particular issue with ecommerce where not having a guest checkout is likely to make people leave.
  • Luckily there’s a fairly well known and reliable answer to this: logintoboggan gives you a lot of options that all help with usability: it allows you to log in using an email address as well as a user name, and a lot of other great details that I’ll discuss later. Some other ones to think about are: email_registration: which completely removes the need to set up a username at start: it guesses at one based on your name which you can change later. `
  • My colleague Joanne Rigby previously worked on the TV licencing site which was all about forms, and as a result we’re pretty thorugh when it comes to checking them. However, out of the box the Drupal validation system is problematic: it shows errors on submit and at the top of the page. It’s not always the best languaging either.
  • Luke Wroblewski is the UX form guru (as well as possibly the mobile guru) and has done a lot of evangelising for form usability, and has shown that good validation makes a difference. We’ve also found this doing tests (namely that often sites without good validation were harder for participants to use and so they were slower).
  • In a lot of situations, we’d amend the theme and/or write this into a custom module with hooks. However, for site builders, inline form entity and clientside validation work well together (though you do have to turn on ‘on blur for all fields’. It’s also worth looking at tipsy, which moves the help text into a tooltip (though I would be careful with this and test as it can be overwhelming if you have lots of text), and dramatically string overrides which will let you change some of the text in the validation fields.
  • My cat is sad because a Drupal site is spitting out computer talk. There are different types of errors: the errors where a user may have made a mistake (e.g. 404s) and those where the computer has made a mistake.
  • For those that don’t know, Jakob Neilsen is the grumpy old man of usability (apparently wasn’t always grumpy, but that’s another story for later). However, NM Group gives a lot of useful guidelines.
  • One element of making user elements visible and helpful is ensuring that they’re appropriate and feel like the site rather than the CMS is talking to you. I say this particularly because it’s easy for error messages to miss being themed. In this respect styleguide is useful in showing base UI elements that a theme uses to check for
  • For those messages that shouldn’t be seen, you can either amend in your theme or use the disable messages module. I would use this carefully as it doesn’t always differentiate between user and system errors: and users can miss important information (though this is captured by the clientside_validation and ife modules).
  • I know that meta information can seem as much about SEO as UX.
  • However, I bring this up as there are different things to consider when it comes to metadata. While some things such as page titles and page descriptions are part and parcel for Google, the game is shifting so much that they’re starting to become less important. We’ve always advised our clients that good content is good SEO. However, the rise of social media means it’s worth getting things looking good for the various networks. The fun
  • The metatag module gives you good options for considering these things off the bat. I haven’t added is as I haven’t had a chance to investigate it yet (and am waiting for a Drupal project to investigate) but there’s a module for structured data on Drupal so that you can create a ‘content once publish everywhere’ COPE system.
  • Ah, drupal comments.
  • I have to admit I added this from doing search on online as I know personally I’ve always hated that Drupal by default expects comments, and other people have been vocal about this too. For years. I don’t think I’ve ever done a wireframe that has a subject header for comments!
  • Sadly this is the one example where as far as I know you do have to amend the theme. I have to admit it’s always an option that’s felt incredibly buried as well.

    There are also other options,
  • The rise of ecommerce has made sort and filter more important. (Oh, for site builders who don’t know about it already, devel_generate is a great quick way to test sites using dummy content). However, this has also made them more sophisticated.
  • I have to admit that this taken from another project of mine as the act of
  • Other ones to consider: metatag.
  • 10 UX Changes for Every Drupal Site

    1. 1. 10 UX Changes for Every Drupal Site Vicky Teinaki @vickytnz
    2. 2. Drupal 7 UX needs tweaking Some things will get sorted out in D8.
    3. 3. Caveats
    4. 4. 10Some big, some small, all Drupal-ed
    5. 5. 1. Login/registration WTF is my username again?
    6. 6. If possible, use email as registration [and login] “In 2008, Forrester estimated call-center calls to cost $5.50 per call versus 10 cents for a user who self-services online. HealthCare.gov’s Account Setup: 10 Broken Usability Guidelines Jennifer Cardello http://www.nngroup.com/articles/affordable_care_act_usability_issues/
    7. 7. logintoboggan think about: email_registration , remember_me
    8. 8. 2. Form validation What did I do wrong?
    9. 9. “Our participants [in a test of 22 average users on six variations of a typical web registration form] were faster, more successful, less error- prone, and more satisfied when they used the forms with inline validation.” Luke Wroblewski Inline Validation in Web Forms http://alistapart.com/article/inline-validation-in-web-forms
    10. 10. (Entity form/Webform) ife, clientside_validation, email, date etc Consider: tipsy, stringoverrides
    11. 11. 3. Error messages COMPUTER SAYS NO
    12. 12. “Make [user] error messages clearly visible, reduce the work required to fix the problem, and educate users along the way.” Error Message Guidelines Jakob Neilsen http://www.nngroup.com/articles/error-message-guidelines/
    13. 13. Consider: styleguide (see from /admin/appearance/styleguide and make sure you have permissions set)
    14. 14. disable_messages (with caution!) consider: stringoverrides, customerror (pay attention to your 404s!), logintoboggan
    15. 15. 4. Meta information Sharing is caring
    16. 16. “The incentives for adding social structured data are clear: ● It can improve your CTR [click through rate]. ● You can tailor content for each social network. ● It gains you extra real estate and exposure. ● If you don’t use it the resulting data can look a bit messy, as a computer will have to work out which bits of information you want to show.” David Moth The three types of social structured data and why you need them https://econsultancy.com/blog/62540-the-three-types-of-social-structured-data-and-why-you-need-them
    17. 17. Metatag (look at the defaults)
    18. 18. 5. Comments Why so many options?
    19. 19. “I'll add my pet peeve, though: COMMENTS SHOULD NEVER HAVE SUBJECTS. Never. Not just no Subject field, but NO SUBJECT AT ALL. A comment is about the post, so the subject is the post.” ‘Barry’ as comment (2007) on Drupal Usability: Comment Configuration http://www.lullabot.com/blog/article/drupal-usability-comment-configuration
    20. 20. Amend settings to remove title + amend theme: or use Disqus/Livefyre also: Mollum is good, or reverse CAPTCHA
    21. 21. 6. Menus and navigation Be logical and signpost
    22. 22. List of navigation and IA usability guidelines 1. There is a convenient and obvious way to move between related pages and sections and it is easy to return to the home page.… 29 navigation and IA usability guidelines David Travis http://www.userfocus.co.uk/resources/navchecklist.html
    23. 23. taxonomy_menu/menu_block/menu_trail_by_path/pa thauto. And sitemap! Consider superfish, up_to_top
    24. 24. 7. Blocks and block titles Not all blocks are the same
    25. 25. “So when are you going to ditch your sidebar?” Commenter on “The key to modern blog design: promote UX by retiring your sidebar” http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2014/04/the-key-to-modern-blog-design-promote-ux-by-retiring-your- sidebar/
    26. 26. <none> Block_titlelink/using views
    27. 27. 8. Email messaging Don’t be a robot
    28. 28. “The From field should show a recognizable brand name (if available).… People simply don't open messages that don't have recognisable sender information . In both rounds of research, this was the number one reason users gave for not opening email.” Transactional and Confirmation Email Messages Jakob Neilsen http://www.nngroup.com/articles/transactional-and-confirmation-email/
    29. 29. Review system emails, sender. Consider: Mailchimp for newsletter sends
    30. 30. 9. Sort defaults Make them plain English!
    31. 31. “Sorting and filtering are essential for helping users to find the products they're looking for…. The options you provide for both should speak users' language and be specific to the actual product listing (and not generically applied across the site).” Filter & sort: Improving ecommerce product findability Tory Dunn http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-usability/ecommerce-findability.shtml
    32. 32. better_exposed_filters (and views)
    33. 33. 10. User profile Make it useful
    34. 34. “The following features should be accessible via a user account: 1. Personal Information / Contact Information 2. Security Information 3. Links to member-specific content areas 4. Information users have uploaded [contributed] to the site” Usable User Accounts Andrew Maier http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/usable-user-accounts/
    35. 35. Profile2, Views, Logintoboggan/Login Destination
    36. 36. Extras
    37. 37. 11. Favicon: 12. In site navigation: back_to_top 13. Search: search_api + facet_api 14. Making pages for print: print 15. Connecting things with each other: references 16. Media and images: Media (/ARRGH)
    38. 38. ?