Drupal UX, the conceptual criticals

Where Drupal does not meet people’s expectations of how things are done:

bubble diagram showing how small first time users perceive Drupal to be.

Where Drupal does not meet people’s expectations of how things are done:

  1. Using unfamiliar words for basic concepts. Naming things is hard. Understanding weirdly named things is even harder.
  2. Lack of wayfinding, onboarding, getting started instructions make people feel lost. They are not guided towards quick successes that instill confidence.
  3. No visual hierarchy in how features, options are presented. Everything is presented as equally important which makes it hard to make choices, it doesn’t help people “guestimate” and “satisfice”, which is the default mode of operating, especially when exploring something new.
  4. People are never really sure they are doing the right thing. Depending on previews to check if they’re on track makes for inefficient workflows.
  5. Order of how to do things is backwards. People are forced to create abstract placeholders first before being able to do the actual thing. Having to put a menu in a block in a region on a page whereas people want to click the spot on the page where they want to add some navigation links.
  6. The standard installation is too sparse, making Drupal appear limited in functionality.
  7. The ‘river of news’ model for the homepage is outdated and causes confusion after creating the first post.
  8. All of the above lead to a reluctance to explore and probe functionality. The impression people get is that Drupal is limited in what it can do.

One of the D8UX design principles was to connect the dots. It obviously still should be a, if not the guiding principle because the above list makes it clear that the lack of guidance, presets, and hierarchy/prioritisation of functionality is what makes people stumble.

No solutions offered in this post, just compiling the list :-)