Improving Drupal 8's usability and the impact

We started regular Drupal usability meetings twice a week almost a year ago in March 2016. That is a long time and we succeeded in supporting many key initiatives in this time, including reviews on new media handling and library functionality, feedback on workflow user experience, outside-in editing and place block functionality. We helped set scope for the changes required to inline form errors on its way to stability. Those are all supporting existing teams working on their respective features where user interfaces are involved.

However, we also started to look at some Drupal components and whether we can gradually improve them. One of the biggest tasks we took on was redesigning the status page, where Drupal's system information is presented and errors and warnings are printed for site owners to resolve. While that looks like a huge monster issue, Roy Scholten in fact posted a breakdown of how the process itself went. If we were to start a fresh issue (which we should have), the process would be much easier to follow and would be more visible. The result is quite remarkable:

New status page in Drupal 8.3

While the new status page is amazing, for me the biggest outcome is how eager people were for this refresh and the example we set as to what is possible to do in Drupal 8. We can take a page, redesign it completely and get it released in a minor release for everyone to use! Some feedback on the result:

If this is not enough proof that we can make significant improvements and that people are more than open to receive them, not sure what else could be it.

To join these efforts, there are several smaller things in the works currently, including improving the bulk operations UI on views forms (or for the more adventurous redesigning filters and bulk operations, which would affect the content, users and even the media admin pages). We are working to update the throbber in the Seven theme, make the add content link finger friendly, and so on. There are many smaller to bigger issues for anyone to work on, we can match you with an issue. We need designers, developers, testers, etc.

Want to be a part of the next celebrated improvement? Join the UX slack on (get an invite at Meetings are 9pm CEST every Tuesday and 9am CEST every Wednesday. See you there!


Phil's picture

Don't get me wrong, I love the UI and UX work being done. However, I'm disappointed the UX topic isn't any deeper than fixing a handful of pages at a time.

What I look forward to is a set of UX standards that remove the Frankenstein from Drupal UI.

Instead of asking: "How can we fit this around Drupal", we should be asking "How can this be designed into Drupal". The UX teams are doing their best, but the lack of standards to follow from the ground up, are limiting the progress. At this point, I'm just hoping D9 will be the frontend and site builders release.

So, it begs the question: "Are the current UX initiatives enough?"

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

No, they are not enough. Very few people have the luxury to take the longer look though. If you have the time/resources and interested in helping out redefining entire UX approaches / subsystems, you are most welcome. The hardest part there is it needs a lot of consensus building and buy-in gathering at the start because it takes a lot of time to even form and agree on plans, let alone have any success implementing them. But that does not mean its not worth the effort :)

Phil's picture

Thanks for clarifying Gábor and a million thanks for the work you ARE putting into it. I don't want to come across unappreciative because I am grateful for what's being done, but I also have my reservations. It sounds like someone from a high up position will need to step in, take the bull by the horns and be willing to throw some resources at the issue to give it true purpose and direction from the ground up. Just my opinion. Until then, it sounds like it's a matter of dealing with the low hanging and very ripe fruits.

Add new comment