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Evolving Web: Drupal Admin UX Study: What We Can Learn from Contentful, Craft CMS, Squarespace, and WordPress

Planet Drupal - 26 November 2018 - 9:09am

There is exciting work being done in the Drupal community to improve the Admin UI, including the JavaScript Modernization Initiative and an overhaul of the look and feel of the Seven theme. Meanwhile, I've been working with a group in the Drupal community to research what user experience improvements we should be making for content editors.

So far, we have conducted a survey to get feedback from content editors, performed a card sort to see how content editors group their tasks, and recently, conducted a comparative usability study that looks at the authoring experience provided by other content management systems.

We chose four content management systems that offer different experiences: Craft CMS, Contentful, SquareSpace, and WordPress with Gutenberg. In this article, I’ll walk through the different aspects that we tested: first impressions, the editing experience, the publishing workflow, and what we can learn.

The setup

Going through the process of setting up several other content management systems was an eye-opening experience. I highly recommend it for anyone involved in building Drupal websites for a living. The setup process gave me lots of food for thought about the onboarding experience for new users, what configuration comes out of the box, and the language and positioning of Drupal in the CMS landscape.

We recruited volunteers with Drupal content editing experience (from 1 month to 9 years of experience!)

My colleague Annika Oeser and I conducted the studies using a script that we had put together. We asked participants for their first impressions of each platform, then asked them to do a few simple tasks: creating an article from content in a Google Doc, editing and previewing it, and then deleting the content. Then, we asked what they thought of the platform.

First Impressions

First impressions are important. Each platform that we selected had some type of content editor dashboard that we presented to users. While some platforms have more of a learning curve than others, it’s obvious that platforms with a more inviting dashboard will encourage new editors to like the tool and want to use it more.

Contentful

Right away, participants found Contentful intimidating. One even said it looked “scary”. The dashboard’s messaging is not aimed at content editors (although in the setup process, it asks if you're a content editor or developer), and the terminology is just obscure enough to be intimidating. As one participant pointed out that “None of this says build an article”. That being said, the interface didn’t prevent authors from performing their task, it just made them more apprehensive.

On the content overview page, there are filters to narrow down the list of content. Because of the colorful button-like design of the filter, some participants mistook this for the link to add content.

Craft CMS

Overall, participants liked the fact that Craft CMS has a form to create content directly from the dashboard. Putting content creation forms on the dashboard makes it clear that this is a platform designed for content editors. That being said, everyone complained that the form was too narrow, and made the experience of filling in the form not great. Participants all liked it better once they were on a dedicated content creation page.

Some participants mentioned a solution, removing the “Craft News” block form the default dashboard to free up space, which is possible by configuring the dashboard if you know how to do this. I also think that having a button to expand the form or jump to the content entry page would be incredibly helpful.

Squarespace

The Squarespace dashboard gives content editors the impression that it would not be ideal for larger, more complex websites. Everyone mentioned that the UI seemed “simple” or “for a blog”. I found this an interesting observation. The editors in our study were all familiar enough with their requirements for a CMS (a large amount of content, taxonomy, content hierarchy) that they felt that the simplicity of Squarespace might be too good to be true, and that they would be alright with a more complex UI if it meant a more featureful one.

WordPress

Participants described WordPress’s dashboard as “clean”. They see right away that it's an interface designed for them. Although there are more advanced features presented (e.g. Appearance, Plugins, Tools, Settings) the UI for creating and editing content are prioritized. Granted, some of our participants had WordPress experience, giving this particular UI the bias of familiarity. One mentioned that "They don't change the interface often, which is good."

Content Editing Experience

To assess the content editor experience, we asked participants to create an article and then add some standard elements to it (an image, a link, bold text, a quote). When building the study, we selected four CMSs with very different editing experiences:

Contentful

Contentful provides a content structure similar to Drupal, with content types broken down into fields. It has some very particular terminology which will be unfamiliar to most people. Instead of a WYSIWYG editor, it provides a markdown editor with a tab for previewing the content.

It’s amazing how important labels are. Participants were confused by labels like “Slug” and the subtle difference between the purpose of the “Description” and “Body” fields. Another thing, most content editors don’t know markdown. So as much as developers might love having the markdown editor tab and a tab for previewing the content, this experience seemed like a big hurdle to content editors. A minor experience gap that we noticed was in the way the link button in the editor pre-fills “https” at the beginning of the link. Since most editors copy and paste a URL instead of write it out by hand, this led to mistakes and frustration.

Craft CMS 

Craft CMS has a WYSIWYG editor for editing long text, but instead of a large main content textarea, it provides a UI for creating sections, such as headings, text, images (this works similar to Drupal’s Paragraphs module).

All the participants easily understood the UI for adding sections to create the Article Body. It was somewhat confusing to have two ways to add some elements, for example an image or a quote can be added through a Text section, or by creating a new Image or Quote section. If anything, this maybe shows content editors’ eagerness to add content "the right way" and their willingness to work within a content structure rather than having one large WYSIWYG editor.

Squarespace

Squarespace provides a much more visual editor. The editing interface appears in an overlay. Users paste everything into one text area. There is also the notion of adding new elements (images, quotes, etc.) to this text area using a + button.

There were a couple ways to add images in Squarespace. Adding a “Thumbnail” image in the metadata of the post, which is used in the teaser version of the post. Or, using the + button to add an image element, which can then be dragged/dropped above or below other elements, such as text, buttons, etc.

None of the participants found the + button without help. I had always assumed that this UI was easy-to-use, but for a content editor not expecting to use a page building experience to add images to content, it was clearly not obvious. As one participant said "I would never have found that, it's so not clear."

Another sticking point was that the thumbnail image field in the "Options" tab doesn’t adequately explain to users that the image won’t be displayed on the full post page, only in teasers. This is something I see a lot on Drupal sites, that have images that are used in content listings, but without a proper help text to explain this to editors.

WordPress

WordPress’s new Gutenberg editing UI provides a similar experience to Squarespace, in that the editor is visual and invites users to create components, such as headings, text, columns, or media.

One participant described the interface as having an “instant preview” quality. It seemed like they thought that the way the article they were creating looked here would be how it would look as published content. "I like this a lot". "The paragraphs are clearly divided with white space". One called the different components that were created "blocks".

"The great thing here is that I can see everything". Almost all the participants brought up the fact that they assumed they could edit the HTML. "I assume I can go to the source code if I need to".

Publication Workflow

We asked authors to preview, edit, and then delete the content they had created. We knew from user surveys that content editors want autosave, but from watching them go through these steps for each CMS, we realized the anxiety that the publication workflow can cause. Content editors really want to be reassured about the state of their content.

Contentful

Contentful is designed as a backend for a decoupled website. So the preview provided is not an actual preview, but a read-only version of the fields of content you’ve created. Unsurprisingly, content editors found this confusing. In terms of workflow, users found it difficult to delete the content, because the current state of content and the fact that it needed to be unpublished before it was deleted was not clear. It seemed like the status of the content was unclear, and users ended up back on the content listing page to change the status.

Craft CMS

Craft CMS has a “Live Preview” that provides a side-by-side editing and previewing interface. All the editors liked seeing that when they add content, it looks like a page right away. One exclaimed “I'm great at this, look how good it looks.” The one part of the workflow that was confusing for editors is when they click “Save” from the initial dashboard, and they’re not redirected to the page they’re just created. If this button was "Save and preview" and it went to the edit screen with live preview, that would be more natural.

SquareSpace

SquareSpace doesn’t provide a way for authors to preview content before publishing. They expected that clicking on the content in the listing would display the preview. Saving and publishing the content was intuitive for users.

WordPress

Overall, the publishing workflow in WordPress seemed to be the most clear to users. Having the status of the content, and the links to preview, publish, and delete in close proximity seemed natural to all users. The only part that participants got stuck on was the phrase "move to trash". Some users suspected that this meant they had to empty the trash. One other sticking point was the preview. The WordPress Gutenberg UI looks so much like the front-end of a site that users are surprised or disappointed when they realize that the theme enabled on their site looks different and perhaps less good.

Takeaways

We learned a lot from this usability testing. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways:

  • Editors appreciate that a more complex UI is necessary for a more complex website. This doesn’t mean we don’t need to create a user-friendly admin UI, it just means that some degree of complexity is expected.

  • A content editor-friendly dashboard, with content-editor tasks prioritized and easy-to-understand terminology will help smooth the learning process.

  • Sometimes editors find it hard to distinguish between the admin UI and the front-end UI when learning a new platform.

  • Editors have anxiety about clicking save and what this will do. Having autosave and a clear workflow for previewing content will make this process smoother.

  • Editors feel like they should be able to edit the HTML. They don’t want to learn markdown. That being said, I think the goal of a great content authoring experience would be that authors don’t feel that they have to edit the HTML, because they have the right balance of flexibility and content structure.

  • Editors want to know what the state of their content is, and they want clear options to Preview, Save, and Delete. The state of the content and the links to change the state should be in close proximity.

  • Even with a small number of participants, usability testing can help inform improvements in a user interface. We learned a lot from testing with just 5 participants.

What’s Next?

Now that we’ve taken the pulse of how content editors interact with these CMSs, I think it would be helpful to look more closely at the experience of creating more complex content. I would like to do a follow-up study looking at authoring of structured content, something Drupal is highly valued for and excels at, and more flexible, landing-page-style content, something that Paragraphs has been widely used to for over the last couple years. I think it’s essential that Drupal provides a great interface for both these use cases (whether in core or contrib). Testing how editors edit both styles of more complex content will help us understand how to do this better.

How Can I Get Involved?

The Drupal Admin Experience group that includes Cristina ChumillasAntonella Severo, Jessica Becker, and myself. If you want to get involved, join the #admin-ui channel on the Drupal Slack.

A huge thanks to my colleague Annika for planning and running the usability testing with me and to McGill University for providing the venue for the testing.

+ more awesome articles by Evolving Web
Categories: Drupal

TheodorosPloumis blog: Change the default language of a Drupal 8.x website

Planet Drupal - 26 November 2018 - 8:48am

Some weeks before I had to overcame an interesting task. A media webportal in Drupal 8.x with more than 4k articles decided to change the site default language from englush to greek (mainly for SEO reasons but this doesn't matter).

Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: Drupal Plans to Push the Page-Building Frontier with “Layout Builder”

Planet Drupal - 26 November 2018 - 8:03am

If you’ve been reading about new -- and promised -- easy-to-use page builders, you many not be aware that the Drupal community has been working on a super ambitious visual design tool, Layout Builder, that will be included in the next version of Drupal, Drupal 8.7, scheduled to be released this Spring, 2019.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Considerations for Obtaining Consent to Your Data Practices - by Kimberly Culp

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 7:27am
The trend is to offer end-users more choice and transparency into how their data is used. Practically speaking, that means more consent boxes will be delivered at the outset of a game. What that looks like will vary based on your data practices.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Jason Canam, Household Games: Removing Accessibility Barriers - by Jessica Paek

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 7:10am
We’re continuing our series of collaborative articles with Jason Canam of Household Games, the studio and developer behind Way of the Passive Fist to talk about making a game you love, and making it so that as many people as possible can play them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Prince of Persia: Escape - Why The Level Count is a Secret - by Olin Olmstead

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 7:10am
A level based game with no level selection? Not even a total level count? Why Ketchapp made this design decision and more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Unrealistic Challenge of Realism in Video Games - by Josh Bycer

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 7:08am
Realism is a popular marketing point for many videogames, but today's post looks at how it can get in the way of playability.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

At Meaningful Play and Beyond: Exhibitor Primer - by Mars Ashton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 7:02am
A collection of tips, tricks and guidelines for exhibiting your work at an event, showcasing it at a social gathering or just putting it in front of players in general.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Historian discusses Red Dead Redemption 2 - by Bob Whitaker

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 6:54am
Historian Bob Whitaker explores the depiction of crime and the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Red Dead Redemption 2. Topics include "testing," train robbery, and informants.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Scalability: How to scale your app or online game in terms of architecture and hosting infrastructure - by Moris Preston

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 6:47am
In this post I would like to talk a bit about very important problem affecting developers of online video games and app developers. It is about scaling of growing projects.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Attentat 1942: The Long Road Towards German Release - by Ondrej Trhon

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 6:47am
In our first development blog, we look back on how our serious game about Nazi regime in Czechoslovakia became the first officially released PC game with Third Reich symbolism in Germany after this year's policy change.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

4 Ways to Make Your Game Better By Making It More Accessible

Gnome Stew - 26 November 2018 - 5:22am

He ain’t heavy, he’s my clone. (Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

A couple of months ago, a friend sent me this great Lifehacker article about how using audio descriptions in streamed content can help teach the fine art of providing enough (but not too much) description as a GM. Audio descriptions, initially intended to make media more accessible, also have the delightful side-effect of creating a tool that has the potential to help everyone have a better time of it. This phenomenon, usually called the “Curb Cut Effect” refers to how making something more accessible for some people ultimately makes things better for everyone. It takes its name from those small ramps (or “cuts”) that you find on curbs near crosswalks. These were originally intended for those with wheelchairs or other mobility considerations to be able to get up on sidewalks without being hit by the nearest bus. However, if you’ve ever pushed a stroller, had to jump a curb with a shopping cart, or had the kind of Saturday night that leads to a greater-than-average number of stumbles (*cough*), you’ll have noticed that clever little piece of design is useful in a whole lot of ways.

Of course, the biggest benefit of accessibility is, and will always be, accessibility. More accessible games mean fewer people being shut out for reasons that have nothing to do with the games they want to play or run. Fewer people being shut out means more different perspectives on this hobby we all love. More perspectives means (and I cannot highlight this enough), more stuff for us to play with. We live in a world with D&D and Pathfinder and Blue Rose and Harlem Unbound and Monsterhearts and Bluebeard’s Bride and the Cortex System and the Pip System and the Cypher System and Dread and literally hundreds of other games full of unique and interesting stories and mechanics. No single person, no matter how brilliant or driven, could ever, ever come up with all of those things on their own. Making space for more people at our tables makes our tables better in every way we could imagine.

Which brings me to an important point. I don’t personally have any accessibility concerns. I’m lucky enough to be able to cruise through most situations without being made aware of my limitations. However, I have some friends who do have these considerations, and I try my best to listen to them. My life is immeasurably better for having those folks in my life and at my table when I’m lucky enough to play with them, but I’m not an authority on any of this.

Look: I’m a half-functional manchild, barely able to dress myself in the morning, and I’ve been doing that since at least high school.  I’m not an expert on anything except how to eat fifty cent ramen for a week without dry heaving (the secret is butter and low expectations). Share13Tweet18+11Reddit1EmailI’m not an expert on anything except how to eat fifty cent ramen for a week without dry heaving (the secret is butter and low expectations). I’m most especially not an authority on the experiences of the people at your table. If you have a player or a GM who requests accommodations that are different from or contradict anything I say here, listen to that player or GM. Everyone is an unparalleled expert in their own lives; listen to that expertise.

However, with all of that said, I can now climb down off of my soapbox and present to you 4 Ways to Make Your Game Better By Making It More Accessible.

Turn On Audio Descriptions When you Watch TV

Accessibility Functions: helping blind or visually impaired media audiences engage with media.

How it can make your game better: If you’re not used to it, the experience of listening to descriptions as they take place is jarring at first, but very rapidly the descriptions begin to recede into the background of your attention, and you begin unconsciously following along with the meter and language of that description. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself moving faster and more evocatively in your descriptions almost immediately.

 Nothing will ever, ever make conversations between two NPCs anything but painfully awkward for everyone involved. Sorry. Share13Tweet18+11Reddit1EmailOver time, it also becomes easier to tell how to smoothly transition between character dialogue and description. Though nothing will ever, ever make conversations between two NPCs anything but painfully awkward for everyone involved. Sorry.

Pay Attention to Space

Accessibility Functions: People with mobility concerns or mobility aids like canes need clear walkways and adequate space between tables, walls and chairs. Cluttered surroundings can lead to your friends struggling to move around in the space you’ve set up for them, or in extreme cases, not being able to participate at all.

How it can make your game better: Paying attention to how your space is laid out helps all of your players move in and out to grab snacks, quickly step away from the table without disrupting others, and, for an added bonus, helps make cleanup quicker and easier, too.

Take Breaks

Accessibility Functions: Players or GMs with joint, back, or muscular problems, attention issues, or some conditions like Crohn’s disease need to take breaks more frequently than players without those issues.

How it can make your game better: Getting into the habit of taking more frequent breaks (five minutes or so every hour or hour-and-a-half of gameplay) helps to keep your players fresh, and allows them to plan their next moves. It also takes the pressure off of you as a GM to keep the game running for long stretches of time. When setting the expectation for frequent breaks, it also helps maintain focus during other times, since everyone knows that there will be another break coming soon, and provides a convenient stopping point for a session.

Note that it’s critical to keep short breaks short—especially at first, it’s very easy to allow a five-minute break to stretch into a ten-minute or fifteen-minute break, but that can very rapidly turn into not getting to play at all. Having frequent breaks means everything that isn’t a break needs to stay on task.

Focus on Visual Aid Design

Accessibility Functions: Players and GMs with ADHD, dyslexia, and visual impairment sometimes struggle to read rules or handouts that are overly long or designed for those with sharper vision.

How it can make your game better: There are a few clear ways that paying closer attention to how your visual aids are designed can help you and your players enjoy your handouts more. Paying attention to this kind of thing is 25% graphic design, 50% writing, 30% putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and 7% being terrible at arithmetic. But don’t let that intimidate you; if you’re thinking about this at all, you’re already light years ahead of many GMs.  The harder something is to be used, the less likely it is that it actually will be used. And your stuff is there to be used, right? Right? Share13Tweet18+11Reddit1EmailThe harder something is to be used, the less likely it is that it actually will be used. And your stuff is there to be used, right? Right?

  • Keep handouts short and sweet. It’s tempting to add additional evocative language to your handouts. Don’t. That’s what your narration is for. More words means crowded text and longer sentences. Every second your players spend reading is a second they’re not listening or engaging the game. Most players should be able to take in everything (unless it’s a puzzle) at a glance. Your handouts are reminders, not instruction sheets. Speaking of:
  • Don’t rely on written rule instructions. I have a dyslexic friend who is one of the best players I know; I enjoy every game I’m in with him, and if he hadn’t told me, I never would have known he was dyslexic. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact his experience. Once, in a large con game, this player was handed over a dozen pages of densely-packed rules when he walked in to play. While the rules were e-mailed out before the game, predictably, almost none of the players read them. Anyone would have struggled to understand such complicated instructions in a compressed timeline, but for my friend, that wall of text erected a barrier it was completely impossible for him to get over in time to participate in the game. In that situation, the GM taking the time to boil down the essence of the rules to the players all at once would have gone a long way to making sure everyone could play. There are a lot of challenges out there, and not every player who has them will be comfortable telling every GM.
  • Remember that design matters. Use big, simple fonts. Usually, I try not to use anything smaller or more complicated than size 14 Calibri. Fancy fonts may look cool, and occasionally have a neat immersion effect, but use them sparingly and intentionally. There’s nothing wrong with using simple black text on a white background; odds are good your players won’t even notice. The real imagination is in the game, and other combinations run the risk of making it exhausting for your players to read.  You’re not trying to create a logo here—you’re trying to create a tool to get your players more in the game. Share13Tweet18+11Reddit1EmailYou’re not trying to create a logo here—you’re trying to create a tool to get your players more in the game.

So what do you think? Do you do anything at your table to help make it easier for your players or GM to engage?

Resources:
  • Fans for Accessible Conventions (Facebook Group). A great group of folks with a wonderful perspective on the intersection of fandom and accessibility. I can’t recommend this group highly enough, and a couple of these suggestions came directly from this group.
  • Usabilablog’s Article on Design for Color Blindness. The same blog’s article on readability is also worth a look.
  • Interactive Design Foundation’s Usability for All While focused on web design (like much of what you’ll find on the web, unsurprisingly), has a great overview of how accessibility is broader than thinking about how someone with a given disability may interact with your stuff. Worth a read.

 

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Taxonomy Place

New Drupal Modules - 26 November 2018 - 4:41am

This module dynamically creates a 'Place' vocabulary using Address module to manage the geographical information. The taxonomy terms that are created are nested by country, then state/province, then city. The Address module is used as an API to retrieve the right country and province codes and names, and to manage the nesting of countries, provinces, and localities.

Categories: Drupal

Entity Modifier

New Drupal Modules - 26 November 2018 - 2:46am
Categories: Drupal

test - by Kris Graft

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 26 November 2018 - 2:03am
test
Categories: Game Theory & Design

If This Then That

New Drupal Modules - 26 November 2018 - 1:09am

At the current moment this module is just a POC to integrate with ifttt.com

Categories: Drupal

How Wendy's sells fresh, never-frozen hamburgers online

Dries Buytaert - 26 November 2018 - 12:27am

During the Innovation Showcase at Acquia Engage, I invited Mike Mancuso, head of digital analytics at Wendy's, on stage. Wendys.com is a Drupal site running on Acquia Cloud, and welcomes 30 million unique visitors a year. Wendy's also uses Acquia Lift to deliver personalized and intelligent experiences to all 30 million visitors.

In the 8-minute video below, Mike explains how Wendy's engages with its customers online.

For the occasion, the team at Wendy's decided to target Acquia Engage attendees. If you visited Wendys.com from Acquia Engage, you got the following personalized banner. It's a nice example of what you can do with Acquia Lift.

As part of my keynote, we also demoed the next generation of Acquia Lift, which will be released in early 2019. In 2018, we decided that user experience always has to come first. We doubled our design and user experience team and changed our product development process to reflect this priority. The upcoming version of Acquia Lift is the first example of that. It offers more than just a fresh UI; it also ships with new features to simplify how marketers create campaigns. If you want a preview, have look at the 9-minute video below!

Categories: Drupal

Dries Buytaert: How Wendy's sells fresh, never-frozen hamburgers online

Planet Drupal - 26 November 2018 - 12:27am

During the Innovation Showcase at Acquia Engage, I invited Mike Mancuso, head of digital analytics at Wendy's, on stage. Wendys.com is a Drupal site running on Acquia Cloud, and welcomes 30 million unique visitors a year. Wendy's also uses Acquia Lift to deliver personalized and intelligent experiences to all 30 million visitors.

In the 8-minute video below, Mike explains how Wendy's engages with its customers online.

For the occasion, the team at Wendy's decided to target Acquia Engage attendees. If you visited Wendys.com from Acquia Engage, you got the following personalized banner. It's a nice example of what you can do with Acquia Lift.

As part of my keynote, we also demoed the next generation of Acquia Lift, which will be released in early 2019. In 2018, we decided that user experience always has to come first. We doubled our design and user experience team and changed our product development process to reflect this priority. The upcoming version of Acquia Lift is the first example of that. It offers more than just a fresh UI; it also ships with new features to simplify how marketers create campaigns. If you want a preview, have look at the 9-minute video below!

Categories: Drupal

Fuzzy Thinking: Timing and the RPG Stack

RPGNet - 26 November 2018 - 12:00am
Fuzzy botch!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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