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Meeple Centred Design: A Heuristic Toolkit for Evaluating the Accessibility of Tabletop Games - by Michael Heron

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 1 May 2018 - 10:47pm
This is a hopefully human readable version of my recent paper published in the Computer Games Journal. It's about how to assess board-games for their accessibility in various core categories of interaction.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Inspiration from the great industry we are in - by Ashkan Saeedi Mazdeh

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 1 May 2018 - 10:43pm
In this post I would like to post a set of great videos from the history of our industry and also talk about why we are in a great industry
Categories: Game Theory & Design

MTech, LLC: Guide to Estimating an Upgrade to Drupal 8 (from Drupal 6 or 7)

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 3:01pm
Guide to Estimating an Upgrade to Drupal 8 (from Drupal 6 or 7)

If you are weighing whether to upgrade to Drupal 8 but aren’t sure what kind of budget to expect, we’re going to breakdown the upgrade (migration) process. Along the way, we'll highlight the factors that will add hours to your project. This guide is especially for non-technical folks (and written by one). However, all audiences should gain something. We’ll detail the questions you should go to your developer with before quoting your upgrade. We'll also discuss some best practices and common "gotchas".

Luke Pekrul Tue, 05/01/2018 - 16:01
Categories: Drupal

Kickstarter Launch Date Announced For Anno Domini 1666

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 3:00pm
Preparation beats expiration, in any form. So having all your ducks in a row and a plan for what’s coming up is important. If you’re wanting to get in on the upcoming game Anno Domini 1666, that plan includes knowing when the campaign launches on Kickstarter. Well, that will be May 15th. So you’ve got […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The League of Augsburg Taking Pre-Orders For Beneath the Lily Banners: The War of Three Kings

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 2:00pm
Love is a battlefield… So was Central Europe for much of its history. In order to recreate the conflicts that raged across the continent from 1660 to 1721, the League of Augsburg has created Beneath the Lily Banners: The War of Three Kings. They’re taking pre-orders for this pike & shotte-era miniatures game now. From […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

In-app purchases now available on Facebook's instant games platform

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 1 May 2018 - 2:00pm

In-app purchases will be available on the instant games platform for developers to implement on Android devices and Facebook.com starting May 7.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Starter Bundles Available For Relicblade

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 1:00pm
When getting into a new gaming system, it can sometimes be difficult to know where just to start. You don’t know exactly what all you might be getting into, and you don’t really want to waste money on things you don’t need. Thankfully, there’s starter bundles around to guide you along. And Relicblade has several […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Previews TIE Reaper For X-Wing

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 12:00pm
When you think of a TIE fighter, you think primarily of something light and quick, a single-seater fighter with high maneuverability and a distinct lack of thick hull and shield. That, however, is not what you get with the TIE Reaper. It’s a troop transport that is ready to take Stormtroopers right into the thick […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Podcast Radio

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 11:00am
Monday is gone and we’re firmly entrenched in Tuesday. The work week continues along as we make our way back to the glory of the weekend. If you’re like me, you fill up as much of your day with gaming as you can. To help with that, as we do every week, we’ve collected together […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Announces X-Wing 2nd Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 10:50am
When a game’s been around for a while, it can feel like things have gotten stale, or bloated, or just in need of some tweaks and changes. Not to say that the X-Wing Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight feels stale or bloated, but it has been around for a while, and has changed quite a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

SoR2: Against the Slavers

New RPG Product Reviews - 1 May 2018 - 10:40am
Publisher: Casey Brown
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second adventure in the „Shadows over Riverton“-AP clocks in at 58 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 54 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


This review was moved up in my reviewing queue due to me receiving a print copy of the book. You’re seeing the review this soon because I received the copy prior to release to the public and thus had ample time to analyze and test it.


Now, before we dive into the meat of this adventure, let me talk a bit about the series: The author was one of the triad members of Living Greyhawk, and particularly involved with the Bandit Kingdoms. This module, in tone and spirit, thus breathes the legacy of Greyhawk, and indeed feels like a lost Greyhawk adventure with the serial numbers filed off. That is a good thing. The adventure takes place in the city of Riverton, the stage set in the first adventure of the series, and directly builds upon it – characters met and interacted with directly influence some of the proceedings and represent the main hooks. That being said, the adventure is VERY easy to adapt to other locales. As long as you can justify a humanoid slum (perhaps due to a lost war effort) in front of an otherwise more traditional city, you’re good. It should be noted that the Bandit Kingdoms-flavor that suffuses this adventure means that the town is grittier and somewhat more realistic than comparable settlements.


Now, if you recall my review of the first adventure in the series, you’ll recall some components I loved: For example, Riverton gets settlement statblocks for EACH QUARTER. These, if relevant herein, have their modifiers hard-baked into the challenges. This is just one the various components, wherein this adventure sets itself apart from the majority of modules. The second, and most important aspect here, though, would be the obsessively, meticulous detail that is provided for the GM. PCs follow their employer after the quest, due to massive paranoia? There’s a scene that covers it. Need an encounter for one of the myriad gangs in the humanoid-slums? There’s an encounter for that. Unlike most published adventures, I can’t see this one requiring much in the way of GM-expansion o account for players going off the rails, which is even more interesting and remarkable, considering that this is a pretty free-form investigation/infiltration!


Now, the adventure does another thing right that I really love: Rules-decisions, explanations and help for the GM is provided in a massive array of footnotes that further make handling the actual running of the module much, much easier. The adventure also sports a metric ton of statblocks, which render the challenges faced distinct and don’t leave you hanging dry when you’re looking for the stats of character xyz. This all conspires to make the adventure work in as much of a Go-Play-fashion as can be: While, being an investigation/infiltration and pretty free-form at that, the adventure works better (like all modules!) when you’ve read it prior to running it, but you won’t need to make many notes and GMs with at least a bit of experience under their belts should be able to run this without previously preparing it in detail. The adventure also presents an impressive array of read-aloud text, in vivid prose, bolds rules-relevant context so it’s easier to find (without violating formatting conventions)…and it eve sports an appendix, wherein effects of different lodging situations that the PCs find themselves in have significant mechanical aspects. The adventure also provides a handout.


In short: This is one of the most convenient to run modules I’ve seen in a while, and its attention to detail is impressive and really helps to set the stage and maintain the atmosphere throughout: It generates a sense of reality, an impressive achievement. There is, for example, a magic item that most groups will not find. It is pretty cool and relevant for a powerful figure in town, though – the adventure even devotes time to the negotiation process regarding the figure and the item! In short: There is A LOT of care poured into this adventure, and it shows.


All right, this is as far as I can go without diving deep into SPOILER-territory. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, it’s been a few days since the PCs arrived – enough to have their accommodations in Riverton have an impact on their well-being. The Halfling Stefania, an acquaintance of the PCs from module #1, contacts them to meet up at a tavern – and while this may sound like the oldest trope in the book, it provides a great example for the case I made regarding details. The module takes into account that PCs may show up early and scan the area; it covers the discussion of the task at hand with both read-aloud text and bullet points for conversation, skill-use, etc. – and if they unearthed the connection of the goblins from module #1 to the slavers in the slums, that also plays into the proceedings. Misty is acting on behalf of one of the most powerful NPCs in the city, who comes to meet them: None other than Misty Homeagain. Now, in another module, the proceedings would just boil down to a read-aloud text. Here, Misty uses a custom spell to provide a discreet means to converse (and paranoid PCs are taken into account) before talking to them – it’s a small thing, but it provides a rules-based foundation to discreet talks that adds a sense of realism and authenticity to the matter at hand. Heck, as mentioned before, paranoid PCs stalking Misty may be in for a thrashing – they’re small things, yes, but they add to the immersion, and this level of detail is maintained throughout the module.


So, folks have been disappearing, and as the PCs found out in module #1, there may be a tunnel to provide egress to Riverton, past the corrupt, but at least nominally stringent guards. Thus, the mighty halfling wants the PCs to go to the humanoid slums before the city, to Beggartown, find the missing folks and rescue them. Sounds easy, right? Well, Beggartown is not a nice place to be – the rickety shantytown is characterized by lawlessness and the corrupt half-orc captain Llerdnig is one of the movers and shakers there. With orcs, tieflings, gnolls and goblins freely living there, some races like elves, dwarves, etc. may want to think about disguises. Nice: Stefania will accompany the PCs as a sort of GM-PC, and her input, well-meant, if not truly helpful, can help steer the PCs. If she does accompany them, they’d better make sure she gets out alive, though! Anyways, with incidents or without, the PCs enter Beggartown, where the trail does not really grow cold – instead, it becomes hot rather quickly, as the PCs are faced with a cool and diverse skill challenge/chase: The contact amidst all the squalor and misery of Beggartown seems to have just met his rather grisly end at the hands of gnolls, who see the PCs rather instantly, courtesy of Stefania. (Neat: This does help “sell” the chase as a not a railroad!) If the PCs succeed in catching up to the mottled gnolls, they’ll have a fight on their hands. But there is a pretty good chance the gnolls get away as well – so, how does the module handle that? Well, successful PCs can wring the location of the slaver compound from the gnolls, no problem…but if they failed…they don’t really have an issue.


Clever PCs will note that the mottled fur only is sported by one of the gnoll tribes in Beggartown, a tidbit of information that clever GMs can seed…and even if the PCs know where the complex itself is, they’re left with more than one issue. You see, the tribe is rather sizable. To the point where assaulting the compound sans doing legwork is not a smart move. But if they haven’t managed to pinpoint its location, we have no problem either: You see, the compound obviously needs to purchase goods, right? Well, one means of thinning the opposition (and potentially secure an ally for a coup-d’état of sorts) is to ambush said team! There are plenty of other ways to help weaken the gnolls, provided the PCs can survive in Beggartown, that is – random encounters for all of the diverse gangs in town are provided…and, indeed, if the PCs are smart, they may even manage to take down the Alpha of the gnolls prior to assaulting the complex: Growl, the rather huge (size Large) leader of the gnolls likes to spar in the Chapel of Slaughter, the ramshackle fighting pit/neutral ground of Beggartown, and the module actually talks, in detail, about the process of becoming pit fighters and potentially stopping the brute. No mean feat, but if the PCs manage to achieve success there, they’ll have a demoralized tribe when faced with the folks who defeated their champion.


Speaking of “Alpha” – where this, in another supplement, would have been just a moniker to denote the chieftain, here, we actually get a fully depicted hierarchy – and gnolls being gnolls, there is plenty of dissatisfaction and drama behind the scenes, including affairs and the like. Roleplaying savvy players may well be capable of destabilizing significant portions of the tribe before attacking the compound. Extensive notes on further development pertaining both success and defeat allow the GM to organically maintain the flow of the adventure. Oh, and guess what: Yes, the module accounts for the PCs buying the captives! Provided they have the funds, this would make for a smart move prior to attacking the compound, for example, as the PCs wouldn’t have to take care of the NPCs. Speaking of which: Hirelings and named NPC allies that have a stake in seeing the slaves freed may be recruited, and the adventure provides proper names, motivations and further adventure hooks for the slaves. Are you starting to see what I meant with “impressive details”?


The assault on the compound, should the PCs choose to undertake it, is btw. not a singular rail-road-affair – there are chances for folks not being there, and day/night does matter as well. Heck, the respective shacks etc. get full game-mechanics, should your PCs choose to smash through them! This is a bit like having terrain that can be damaged in a videogame. While, in pen and paper, you theoretically have that all them time, but flimsy construction of the shacks makes it really relevant here! Having stats for the frickin’ structures makes the whole complex feel more dynamic, and before you ask, the compound is fully mapped in pretty detailed color maps. As a minor downside, these maps do not come with a key-less player-friendly version, which is a bit of a bummer, considering that it’s pretty likely that the PCs will capture a gnoll at one point. That being said, the gnolls are amazing – there are plenty of archetype’d and template characters here that deserve the moniker: There would be, for example, a venerable gnoll who has become slow in her old age, the flavor represented by drawbacks; a crippled gnoll s who dabbles in fire breathing and makes use of goblin skull bombs, nearsighted ole’ Stinky…these gnolls feel indeed like they have lived. While rank and file beings exist, it is ultimately in these NPCs that the tribe truly comes to life.


I did mention an item, right? Really clever PCs may notice a magical shovel used near the trash pit, an unlikely treasure not identified by the gnolls – that would be the shovel of the final rest, which can yield PCs a nice financial windfall…if they don’t overly tax the goodwill of the guardian of the graves, that is. It should also be noted that XPs gained are contingent on more than enemies slain, so that’s another big plus as far as I’m concerned.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are excellent – Casey Brown’s professional background and experience in editing is quite apparent here. I wish I was as good at editing my own writing! On a rules-language level, the adventure is similarly impressive – though slightly less so: When e.g. a caltrop-trap references “slicing” damage that should be “piercing.” That being said, the module is actually more precise than PFRPG’s base rules here – caltrops inflict RAW, in a nonsense-decision, untyped damage, which clearly should be “piercing.” So yeah, my nitpick pertains something that the module does better than the core rules. Here and there, I could nitpick some minor rules-language in new content, but never to the extent where it would constitute a proper issue. The copious amount of statblocks are solid as well – I attempted to reverse engineer and encountered no problems. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The print version is b/w and sports a nice, matte cover; if you’re familiar with Raging Swan Press’ PoD-books, it uses that type. The lack of player-friendly maps represents my only somewhat valid complaint on a formal level against this module. The pdf version comes with a copious amount of nested bookmarks that render navigation comfortable and painless.


Casey Brown’s second foray to Riverton is amazing. It develops the strengths of his previous offerings and applies them vigorously to a module-type that is a) harder to pull off properly and b), wherein the application of this attention to detail is much, much harder. From a formal perspective, this is one of the easiest infiltration/investigation-sandboxes to run that I have ever read. So, it’s comfortable to run and provides plenty of gaming material as well.


The second strength of the module is one that is harder to describe and get right. Most folks would call this “old school”, but that term is, at this point, a flawed one. You see, “old school” does not equal “old school” – when we take a look at OSR-gaming, for example, we have e.g. the Advanced Adventures-line by Expeditious Retreat Press, which champions a slightly weird AD and D-ish feeling; we have the psychedelic nightmares of LotFP; we have Frog God Games’ fantastic Lost lands, which are a precarious, dark setting that always had, at least for me, a subtle sense of melancholia suffusing its books, a feeling of a world that is in the process of moving on, of empires fallen and a dark age impending; there would be Goodman Games’ DCC-material, which I always refer to “Metal-fantasy.” All of these, and many, many tastes more, are generally called “old school.”


There is another type of old school, one that you only get to see rather rarely – because it is really, really hard to pull off. You see, I could sum up this module as “PCs rescue slaves from gnolls in a slum.” I wouldn’t be lying. It’s a basic premise. The module does not throw some central weirdness in your face, it does not use some over the top shenanigans to distract you from structural shortcomings. It doesn’t have to. It is my firm conviction that unpretentious, Greyhawk-style fantasy sans a ton of high-fantasy stuff, with grit and detail and grime, is extremely HARD. You can’t rely on a catchy pitch that will make folks go “OMG, zis iz teh awes000m1111oneone!!” and you always risk the danger of becoming generic, forgettable. In fact, only your prose, your ability to evoke a concise, living, breathing environment, is what separates you from a “been there-done that” type of experience. You have to work in the small aspects, and when you botch the job, you’ll probably get a “soso”-review that can’t put the finger on *why* they were not engaged. That type of writing is HARD to pull off, very, very hard. Few publishers and authors manage to hit this precarious balance, this elusive sweet spot, with e.g. Raging Swan Press coming to mind as one of the few publishers that do.


You may have realized it by now: This module manages to hit the right mood right on the head. And it, in passing, serves as a perfect rebuke to the claim that complex systems like Pathfinder can’t do this tone. The module uses a TON of material from Pathfinder’s extensive mechanics to enhance the mood that is conveyed in the adventure, to underline the realities of the game-world. It represents an impressive synthesis of mechanics and flavor, all in the service of storytelling.


Why should you care? Simple. Because we frankly need more adventures like this. Because this atmosphere, this feeling, is precarious, hard to get right, and because, even if you prefer far out concepts, the weird ultimately does become stale if you constantly barrage the players with it. The wisdom inherent in this type of old-school sensibility is, that in order for the outré and fantastic to properly work, you have to ground it, contextualize it. And that is much harder than writing an adventure about 8-armed flying monkey/mi-go-hybrids with laser canons. See what I did there? I bet you thought “that sounds cool” – see, that is the elevator pitch I mentioned.


I can’t do the same type of elevator pitch for this module. Don’t get me wrong. I love far-out weirdness. But know what? Chances are, that if you buy this module (the price-point is btw. imho really, really low for the amount of material), you’ll start smiling upon reading the module. Because it draws you in. Because it feels alive and organic and plausible. Because it doesn’t rely on flash and bang and world-ending threats, instead opting for a more subdued theme – without becoming generic. It is interesting, once you start to think about it, that strange and weird concepts and high fantasy over-the-top superhero-esque gaming have become so prevalent that fantasy like this, grounded, grimy, and down-to-earth, has become fresh, unique, and a rare and treasured type of experience. I do get why, mind you – in the hands of a mediocre author/designer, this would have been boring. It’s not.


The second installment of “Shadows over Riverton” is an impressive, extremely flavorful, detailed, and most importantly, fun adventure that even relatively new GMs should have no problems with. In fact, it’s good enough to transcend the lack of player-friendly maps that most of the time prevents modules from reaching my highest accolades. This is worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval, and if Greyhawk and the type of module I mentioned above even remotely struck a chord with you, then give this a chance. If you never understood why those old folks lament the lack of proper Greyhawk support by WotC – look no further than this to understand it! (And, if you’re a fan of Raging Swan Press, check this out – same hold true for vice-versa, obviously!)

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Paystack Donate

New Drupal Modules - 1 May 2018 - 10:39am

A very simple module to accept donation using the Paystack Payment gateway. Users fill in their email, amount, and that's all. This uses the Paystack inline API and donation is made on a single page without any redirect.

No need of any module like ubercart/commerce. Just install Paystack donate and head on to the config page at admin/config/user-interface/paystack-donate.

The donate link is also configurable. Do not forget to flush your cache if you change the link.

Categories: Drupal

Rebel Minis Spring Sale Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 10:00am
Spring Cleaning is a thing, including for gaming companies. They want to help clear out space in their warehouses so they can fill them up with all the awesome, new things they’ve got coming for the year. Rebel Minis does this with their annual Spring Sale, going on now. From the announcement: Rebel Minis’ Famous […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Modiphius Taking Pre-Orders For Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 9:00am
From announcement to pre-order to release, the new 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade is taking no time (even immortal undead hate waiting). Modiphius has started taking pre-orders for the core rulebook (in three versions, depending on how luxurious you want the book to be), as well as Camarilla and Anarch sourcebooks, dice sets, notebooks, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupal Association blog: Drupal Association Board Elections 2018

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 8:30am

Now that Drupal 8 is maturing, it is an exciting time to be on the Drupal Association Board. With Drupal always evolving, the Association must evolve with it so we can continue providing the right kind of support. And, it is the Drupal Association Board who develops the Association’s strategic direction by engaging in discussions around a number of strategic topics throughout their term. As a community member, you can be part of this important process by becoming an At-large Board Member.

We have two At-large positions on the Association Board of Directors. These positions are self-nominated and then elected by the community. Simply put, the At-large Director position is designed to ensure there is community representation on the Drupal Association Board. If you are interested in helping shape the future of the Drupal Association, we encourage you to read this post and nominate yourself between 1-11 June, 2018.

What are the Important Dates

Self nominations: 1-11 June, 2018

Meet the candidates: 12-29 June 2018

Voting: 2-13 July, 2018

Votes ratified, Winner announced: 25 July, 2018

How do nominations and elections work?

Specifics of the election mechanics were decided through a community-based process in 2012 with participation by dozens of Drupal community members. More details can be found in the proposal that was approved by the Drupal Association Board in 2012 and adapted for use this year.

What does the Drupal Association Board do?

The Board of Directors of the Drupal Association are responsible for financial oversight and setting the strategic direction for serving the Drupal Association’s mission, which we achieve through Drupal.org and DrupalCon. Our mission is: Drupal powers the best of the Web.  The Drupal Association unites a global open source community to build and promote Drupal.

New board members will contribute to the strategic direction of the Drupal Association. Board members are advised of, but not responsible for matters related to the day-to-day operations of the Drupal Association, including program execution, staffing, etc.

Directors are expected to contribute around five hours per month and attend three in-person meetings per year (financial assistance is available if required).

Association board members, like all board members for US-based organizations, have three legal obligations: duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience. In addition to these legal obligations, there is a lot of practical work that the board undertakes. These generally fall under the fiduciary responsibilities and include:

  • Overseeing Financial Performance

  • Setting Strategy

  • Setting and Reviewing Legal Policies

  • Fundraising

  • Managing the Executive Director

To accomplish all this, the board comes together three times a year during two-day retreats. These usually coincide with the North American and major European Drupal Conferences as well as one February meeting. As a board member, you should expect to spend a minimum of five hours a month on board activities.

Some of the topics that will be discussed over the next year or two are:

  • Strengthen sustainability

  • Grow Drupal adoption through our channels and partner channels

  • Evolve drupal.org and DrupalCon goals and strategies.

Please watch this video to learn more.

Who can run?

There are no restrictions on who can run, and only self-nominations are accepted.

Before self-nominating, we want candidates to understand what is expected of board members and what types of topics they will discuss during their term. That is why we now require candidates to:

What will I need to do during the elections?

During the elections, members of the Drupal community will ask questions of candidates. You can post comments on candidate profiles here on assoc.drupal.org.

In the past, we held group “meet the candidate” interviews. With many candidates the last few years, group videos didn’t allow each candidate to properly express themselves. We replaced the group interview and allow candidates to create their own 3 minute video and add it to their candidate profile page. These videos must be posted by 11 June, the Association will promote the videos to the community from 12 -29 June. Hint - Great candidates would be those that exemplify the Drupal Values & Principles. That might provide structure for a candidate video?

How do I run?

From 1-11 June, go here to nominate yourself.  If you are considering running, please read the entirety of this post, and then be prepared to complete the self-nomination form. This form will be open on 1 June, 2018 through 11 June, 2018 at midnight UTC. You'll be asked for some information about yourself and your interest in the Drupal Association Board. When the nominations close, your candidate profile will be published and available for Drupal community members to browse. Comments will be enabled, so please monitor your candidate profile so you can respond to questions from community members. We will announce the new board member at the 25 July, 2018 public board meeting and via our blog and social channels.

Reminder, you must review the following materials before completing your candidate profile:

Who can vote?

Voting is open to all individuals who have a Drupal.org account by the time nominations open and who have logged in at least once in the past year. If you meet this criteria, your account will be added to the voters list on association.drupal.org and you will have access to the voting.

To vote, you will rank candidates in order of your preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). The results will be calculated using an "instant runoff" method. For an accessible explanation of how instant runoff vote tabulation works, see videos linked in this discussion.

Elections process

Voting will be held from 2-13 July, 2018. During this period, you can review and comment on candidate profiles on assoc.drupal.org.

Finally, the Drupal Association Board will ratify the election and announce the winner on 25 July.

Have questions? Please contact Drupal Association Community Liaison, Rachel Lawson.

Many thanks to nedjo for pioneering this process and documenting it so well!

Categories: Drupal

Evolving Web: Mobile-First Content Strategy for Drupal

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 8:26am

By now, we all know the importance of building responsive websites that dynamically adjust to any screen size. According to Statista, 52 percent of all global web pages served in 2018 were viewed on smartphones. And now that Google’s index is mobile first, it’s essential for websites to be designed (or redesigned) mobile first — with a smartphone screen size as the starting point, and resizing up from there.

Building a site to be fully responsive starts with organizing your content so it can be browsed and read on even the smallest smartphone. Whether you’re creating content for a new site, or restructuring a legacy site, begin with a responsive content strategy that defines how you will optimize and structure content for mobile users.

Here are the key components of responsive (and mobile first) content strategy:

1. Be mobile first

When you begin planning content, start with the smallest screen size and work your way up. This will allow you to tackle the most challenging task first, and it will help you make the most of the smallest interface. This process is also very effective for eliminating unnecessary content elements that you may be tempted to include if you’re designing desktop first. An effective and efficient mobile-first design will more easily translate to a clean desktop design (rather than trying to scale down your desktop design).

2. Structure your content first, design later

Begin by stripping all the design elements from your text content. Develop and structure your content, add it to your Drupal 8 CMS and then apply styling and design.

3. Optimize and structure your content for mobile

Responsive content needs to be modular so it will easily break into mobile-friendly pieces. And it needs to be skimmable, so mobile readers can easily consume it.

Create less content (if that’s an option) and keep it short. Organize website copy into small, granular paragraphs or chunks, no longer than three paragraphs. Add subtitles that define each piece, so mobile users can easily browse and scan content.

Working in your Drupal CMS, define separate fields for different pieces of content. The more fields you create for your content, the more flexibility you will have. In other words, you’ll have a field for a title, subtitle, pull-quote, body text, instructions, etc. Each field can be uniquely styled according to its content type. Then prioritize fields based on their importance so they stack in a logical way on a user’s screen — the most important content up top, less useful content can be condensed, stacked below, or even hidden.

4. Simplify navigation

Nobody wants to browse a mega menu that consumes their entire smartphone screen. The ubiquity of mobile means menus need to be reduced and simplified. Put a lot of thought into how you will make your most important content accessible via your menu. How many menu items can you remove or de-prioritize? Flatten your navigation — stop nesting menus inside menus inside menus and instead create fewer layers and way less navigation points. If you’ve decided to take links out of the menu, you can add them elsewhere as links or call to action.

5. Be strategic with your calls to action

Take the time to prioritize your calls to action. On mobile, it’s even more important to define your most important CTAs — the ones that directly impact your business objectives. List your objectives in order of importance, and align a call to action with each one. Then choose objective that’s most critical to your bottom line. This is the only CTA that should live above the fold on your mobile screen.

6. Optimize media

Make sure your sound, video and image files are optimized for devices large and small. Always use image thumbnails so users don’t have to load a video player. And never, never use autoplay on your video and audio content.

For images, start with image sizes and proportions that can be adapted. And don’t resize or add image treatments before adding images to your CMS — let Drupal do the heavy lifting (just like you did with your text content). Images should not be larger than you need them to be (even on large screens). Rely on Drupal 8’s Responsive Image module to resize images to the screen-appropriate size.

7. Begin the long, hard task of cleaning up legacy content

Of course, there’s always the large, old-school website that needs to have its content converted to mobile first. In addition to all the content tips we’ve outlined above, you want to dive into that static HTML and clean it up. Remove fixed-width tables, inline media and floats with content (ouch). And on the content level, start to structure long content into browsable chunks that can be organized into content fields.

Mobile first: it’s universal

Many of us been applying similar content guidelines and strategies for quite some time; but the need for a mobile-first approach was not universal. It was dependent on the project, technology used, the target user, etc. In today’s digital ecosystem, mobile-first has become a given. Now it’s time to explore the creative potential for creating sharp, sparse, targeted content that fits in the palm of a user’s hand.

+ more awesome articles by Evolving Web
Categories: Drupal

Evolving Web: Mobile First Content Strategy: Once an Option, Now a Necessity

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 8:26am

By now, we all know the importance of building responsive websites that dynamically adjust to any screen size. According to Statista, 52 percent of all global web pages served in 2018 were viewed on smartphones. And now that Google’s index is mobile first, it’s essential for websites to be designed (or redesigned) mobile first — with a smartphone screen size as the starting point, and resizing up from there.

Building a site to be fully responsive starts with organizing your content so it can be browsed and read on even the smallest smartphone. Whether you’re creating content for a new site, or restructuring a legacy site, begin with a responsive content strategy that defines how you will optimize and structure content for mobile users.

Here are the key components of responsive (and mobile first) content strategy:

1. Be mobile first

When you begin planning content, start with the smallest screen size and work your way up. This will allow you to tackle the most challenging task first, and it will help you make the most of the smallest interface. This process is also very effective for eliminating unnecessary content elements that you may be tempted to include if you’re designing desktop first. An effective and efficient mobile-first design will more easily translate to a clean desktop design (rather than trying to scale down your desktop design).

2. Structure your content first, design later

Begin by stripping all the design elements from your text content. Develop and structure your content, add it to your Drupal 8 CMS and then apply styling and design.

3. Optimize and structure your content for mobile

Responsive content needs to be modular so it will easily break into mobile-friendly pieces. And it needs to be skimmable, so mobile readers can easily consume it.

Create less content (if that’s an option) and keep it short. Organize website copy into small, granular paragraphs or chunks, no longer than three paragraphs. Add subtitles that define each piece, so mobile users can easily browse and scan content.

Working in your Drupal CMS, define separate fields for different pieces of content. The more fields you create for your content, the more flexibility you will have. In other words, you’ll have a field for a title, subtitle, pull-quote, body text, instructions, etc. Each field can be uniquely styled according to its content type. Then prioritize fields based on their importance so they stack in a logical way on a user’s screen — the most important content up top, less useful content can be condensed, stacked below, or even hidden.

4. Simplify navigation

Nobody wants to browse a mega menu that consumes their entire smartphone screen. The ubiquity of mobile means menus need to be reduced and simplified. Put a lot of thought into how you will make your most important content accessible via your menu. How many menu items can you remove or de-prioritize? Flatten your navigation — stop nesting menus inside menus inside menus and instead create fewer layers and way less navigation points. If you’ve decided to take links out of the menu, you can add them elsewhere as links or call to action.

5. Be strategic with your calls to action

Take the time to prioritize your calls to action. On mobile, it’s even more important to define your most important CTAs — the ones that directly impact your business objectives. List your objectives in order of importance, and align a call to action with each one. Then choose objective that’s most critical to your bottom line. This is the only CTA that should live above the fold on your mobile screen.

6. Optimize media

Make sure your sound, video and image files are optimized for devices large and small. Always use image thumbnails so users don’t have to load a video player. And never, never use autoplay on your video and audio content.

For images, start with image sizes and proportions that can be adapted. And don’t resize or add image treatments before adding images to your CMS — let Drupal do the heavy lifting (just like you did with your text content). Images should not be larger than you need them to be (even on large screens). Rely on Drupal 8’s Responsive Image module to resize images to the screen-appropriate size.

7. Begin the long, hard task of cleaning up legacy content

Of course, there’s always the large, old-school website that needs to have its content converted to mobile first. In addition to all the content tips we’ve outlined above, you want to dive into that static HTML and clean it up. Remove fixed-width tables, inline media and floats with content (ouch). And on the content level, start to structure long content into browsable chunks that can be organized into content fields.

Mobile first: it’s universal

Many of us been applying similar content guidelines and strategies for quite some time; but the need for a mobile-first approach was not universal. It was dependent on the project, technology used, the target user, etc. In today’s digital ecosystem, mobile-first has become a given. Now it’s time to explore the creative potential for creating sharp, sparse, targeted content that fits in the palm of a user’s hand.

+ more awesome articles by Evolving Web
Categories: Drupal

UI Patterns Pattern Lab

New Drupal Modules - 1 May 2018 - 8:18am

The UI Patterns Pattern Lab module automatically discovers patterns defined in a Pattern Lab instance and makes them available to be used in Drupal as UI Patterns.

Categories: Drupal

Time Vault Soccer Card Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 1 May 2018 - 8:00am
Soccer (or football, as most people actually know it), is the world’s most popular sport, with a history that stretches back quite a long time, with quite a lot of notable players throughout the years. In Time Vault Soccer, a new card game that’s up on Kickstarter, you’re not only put in charge of your […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Acro Media: Drupal for Education: Why Universities use Drupal, but not Commerce

Planet Drupal - 1 May 2018 - 8:00am

A lot of universities use Drupal in some capacity. Universities don't typically have just one site; they're made up of a ton of different pieces put together for course registrations and calendars and events and alumni and so on. So a couple of those pieces might use Drupal. Or one or two departments might use Drupal even if others do not.

Many educational institutions like Drupal because it's open source. Universities are often publicly funded and favor open stuff more than proprietary products. Plus, they need to manage a ton of content by a ton of different people, so they need a really big robust CMS.

 

 

Introducing OpenEDU 3.0

The new OpenEDU 3.0 is a Drupal distribution setup for educational institutions. The older version was mostly a set of custom configurations, whereas 3.0 actually has unique functionality. It has analytics and monitoring built right into it, for instance. There's a new analytics dashboard that allows a central admin to see what's going on in all the different sections without having to check a while bunch of different accounts, which is pretty cool. There's also new functionality related to content management, workflows and editing flows that universities need to handle.

OpenEDU is also being integrated into the Commerce (keep an eye out at commercekickstart.com), so you can have both of them together.

The Commerce Disconnect

Strangely, a ton of universities are using Drupal, but they are not using Commerce. Even those they use Drupal and perform ecommerce are typically using pretty terrible antiquated systems, if they have a system at all.

Lack of awareness is a big factor in this. A lot of universities are so focused on the publishing end that they don't even think about commerce. Another stumbling block is security—they don't want to deal with the compliance issues around online payments, so they just keep doing what they're doing (i.e. accepting cash or taking credit card details over the phone, which is even less secure).

The reality is that businesses or organizations within a university could really benefit from using Commerce, particularly if they already use Drupal. They could just tack on a bit of Commerce and easily sell club memberships and accept donations (remember: Commerce has a built-in point of sale). There could be one central system that IT could maintain and keep secure, and everyone could still spin up their own customized version of it.

TL:DR - Educational institutions already use Drupal and so should really adopt Drupal Commerce to replace their old, antiquated payment systems.

More from Acro Media Chat with us

Our team understands that one-size does not fit all, especially in the education space, so we listen and work together to bring your students and staff the most secure and integrated open source solution available in the Commerce arena. Contact us today to discuss how Drupal Commerce can fit it with your existing systems.

Categories: Drupal

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