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Microprojects – Dip your toe in Open Source Design

Posted: May 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: designing together | Tags: | 59 Comments »

There’s been a lot of talk about Open Source Design & User Experience lately. Here is a great opportunity to dip your toe in Open Source Design, see what it’s like and work on a small but important project for the Drupal 7 User Experience Project (D7UX).

What is this?

An opportunity for UX people to work with Drupal developers to solve specific, finite and modular user interface issues. No previous experience or knowledge of Drupal is required.

A UX volunteer will be paired with module developer(s) to work on the interface and UX aspects of a module, create wireframes that capture UX recommendations which may then be implemented by the developer(s).

A Drupal UX Mentor will provide guidance and support as required. We’re estimating that each microproject will require no more than 12 hours of a UX Volunteer’s time and those hours can be spread, flexibly, over a 3 week period.

Why are we doing this?

  • to give UX professionals an opportunity to ‘try out’ designing in an Open Source Community (and hopefully love it so much they stay!)
  • to give developers the opportunity and framework to engage with designers/UX professionals to maximise the usability of their module
  • to get feedback and insight into how we can help designers and developers to engage in a much more holistic way on an ongoing basis
  • to spread the UX workload and maximise the improvements available for inclusion in D7
  • to help make Drupal 7 an amazing user experience!

How will it work?

This is a brand new and somewhat experimental initiative so your involvement will be instrumental in shaping the way the process works, but this is what we have in mind:

  • 26 May – 1 June 09 – Call for participation: see ‘Get Involved’ below.
  • 2 – 10 June 09 – Cross Matching: We’ll assign UX volunteers to modules and introduce the teams!
  • 10 June – 1 July 09 – Engagement
    A three week period will be assigned for the participants to work together to improve the UX of their assigned module.The work involves
    o Developers briefing the UX people on how the module works and anything they need to know about how Drupal works
    o UX people creating wireframes or prototypes (your call!)
    o UX people and developers collaborate to finetune the user interface and perhaps do a little guerilla usability testing (if possible/appropriate).
  • 1 – 8 July 09 – Evaluation
    Each participant will be asked to submit a brief evaluation of their experience (what was good, what was challenging, how they’d do things differently next time, how things could be better) so that we can learn more about how to foster the engagement between Designers/UX people and Module Developers throughout the open source development lifecycle.

What kind of projects?

We would love to sign up around half a dozen microprojects. Here are some examples of projects we think would be perfect as a microproject:

  • design a great WYSIWIG Editor interface for Drupal 7
  • design the interface for a great media library for Drupal 7
  • design some great dashboard widgets for Drupal 7

There will be opportunities to get involved in more complex UI projects for D7UX and we’re working closely with the Drupal Usability team to define and collaborate on these.

Get involved!

Want to get involved? Yay! We’d love to have you aboard!

  • If you’re a UX person who’s interested in participating, leave a note in the comments below (and use your real email address in the comment form so we can contact you!)
  • If you’re a Drupal developer and you’d like some UX love for your module, add a link to your module project page or even the specific issue if there is one and give a quick summary of what the module does and what the main user interface challenges are.
  • If you’ve got some ideas for what needs UX attention (task ideas) even if you’re not a designer or developer – feel free to post your suggestions in the comments below

We’re really looking forward to working with you all on these projects and seeing what we can achieve in the coming weeks!

ps. want to find out more about how you can get involved in the Drupal Usability Community? Come say hello here and see what we’re up to!

59 Comments on “Microprojects – Dip your toe in Open Source Design”

  1. 1 Marcus Blankenship said at 7:14 pm on May 26th, 2009:

    I’d love to help with this project from a UX perspective. Please contact me.


  2. 2 sun said at 7:20 pm on May 26th, 2009:

    - Microproject -

    Task: Design the ultimate, snappy administration widget for Drupal; ensuring a neutral look, extensibility, and customizability.

    Requirements: UI expertise, UX expertise, Widget design skills, CSS + JS magic, Drupal administration, Drupal modulitis.

    Volunteers: Multiple, 2+

    Mentor: sun + ?

  3. 3 Maureen said at 1:25 am on May 27th, 2009:

    I’d like to be the UX person on a mini-project. I’ve built a few sites in drupal so I know what the current UI looks like (i.e. not so friendly).

  4. 4 matthew solle said at 8:55 am on May 27th, 2009:

    Leisa. Count me in. UX perspective. Thanks

  5. 5 Maarten Verbaarschot, UX person said at 8:55 am on May 27th, 2009:

    I’d be happy to!

  6. 6 Tom said at 9:00 am on May 27th, 2009:

    Awesome idea! Love to help out, sign me up as an UX person.

  7. 7 Sam Wieck said at 9:03 am on May 27th, 2009:

    Hey I’d love to get involved.

  8. 8 Paul Ledbrook said at 9:05 am on May 27th, 2009:

    Fantastic idea! Would love to be involved as a UX person.

  9. 9 Colm Brophy said at 9:07 am on May 27th, 2009:

    I’d be happy to help out from a UX perspective but it would have to be post 12th July.

  10. 10 Darci said at 9:07 am on May 27th, 2009:

    I’m interested in helping out with an open source project as a UX person.

  11. 11 Per said at 9:20 am on May 27th, 2009:

    I’m a UX person and definitely up for this.

  12. 12 Simon said at 9:40 am on May 27th, 2009:

    UX person here, very interested in helping out too!

  13. 13 Neelesh said at 9:56 am on May 27th, 2009:

    Another UX person itching to play. Not familiar with Drupal’s UI.

  14. 14 skilip said at 12:39 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    This is great! Count me in.

  15. 15 Leisa Reichelt said at 1:24 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    suggesting My Profile would probably be a nice little microproject (http://www.d7ux.org/my-profile/)

  16. 16 Martin Baker said at 1:44 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    Another UX person happy to get involved.

  17. 17 greggles said at 2:40 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    Start at the top of http://drupal.org/project/usage and go to the bottom :)

    I’ll specifically ask for help on two modules I work on that are quite popular:




    Pathauto needs an admin interface overhaul.

    Comment Notify could use help on the user facing interface (the part attached to comments) and the admin interface.

  18. 18 joshmiller said at 2:47 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    Regarding the media library idea, it has been worked on. I’ve followed the progress and don’t know where it has been for the last few months. You will perhaps need to contact the main media module contributor, aaron and ask him if he would like the help of a UX Volunteer.

  19. 19 joshmiller said at 2:51 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    The following are four links that give you more information than you know what to do with.

    There are some GUI ideas floating around the media module already:


    Videos of the prototype have been created here


    Drupal 7 core file iniative


    Media Module FAQ

  20. 20 Stevo said at 3:03 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    Love to help from a Design standpoint on the UX. Look forward to hearing from you.

  21. 21 Gilles Demarty said at 4:11 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    Count me in as an UX guy.

  22. 22 Mike Atherton said at 11:33 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    I’d love to help out. UX is my trade, and OS CMS’s my hobby. Really want to get Drupal to a state where I’d be happy to show a client the administrator :)

  23. 23 Dmitri "dmitrig01" Gaskin said at 11:57 pm on May 27th, 2009:

    What about working on core modules? I’d love to work with a UX expert on improving a module for core (for which I could submit a patch).

  24. 24 JohnAlbin said at 3:58 am on May 28th, 2009:

    Holy crap! Look at all the UX people volunteering! Awesome!

    This is actually nearly identical to idea of been thinking up about Graphic Designer/Themer pairings to make beautiful Drupal Themes. Nice job implementing this, Leisa! I’m very impressed.

    Now, onto my suggested micro-project:

    D6’s block administration page is… uh… all wrong. It doesn’t scale. And its hard to tell which blocks are available on which pages. We have an open issue about it in the queue and a proposed rough-draft UX solution by Jeff Noyes. I haven’t been active in those discussions, but it seems we could use all the UX help we could get. http://drupal.org/node/257032 http://groups.drupal.org/node/17590

  25. 25 kate said at 6:21 am on May 28th, 2009:

    Hi. A friend of mine, Neil drumm, gave me this link. I don’t know much about drupal but I am a visual designer with a growing passion for disruptive technologies and user-interaction design. Please let me know if you would be interested in having me volunteer on your projects: kate.art@gmail.com

    Thanks and have a swell afternoon!

  26. 26 Oscar Diaz said at 7:14 am on May 28th, 2009:

    Hi. I´d love to be in, from the UX perspective. Thanks!

  27. 27 Yura Filimonov said at 8:10 am on May 28th, 2009:

    I’d like to participate as a usability guy.

  28. 28 Jorg said at 11:44 am on May 28th, 2009:

    “will wireframe and model for … free!”
    As an professional UX designer since several years now, I’m currently working an intranet and branding stuff.
    If you still need some UX people. I would really love to get on board.
    Cast me, I’ll be glad to answer your questions.

  29. 29 Tedar Teraise said at 1:58 pm on May 28th, 2009:

    Hi. I´d love to be in, from the UX perspective. Thanks!

  30. 30 Danillo Nunes said at 2:14 pm on May 28th, 2009:

    I would like to participate as UX person.

  31. 31 Chris Pallé said at 2:36 pm on May 28th, 2009:

    Would love to see how TheUXWorkshop could participate. We’re presently built in WordPress but with the demand of more a Community Site our needs have outgrown WP.

    Drupal experience is limited, but we’re willing and able. :-)

  32. 32 Jan Krummrey said at 2:43 pm on May 28th, 2009:

    I’m a graphic designer and would love to tackle one of the microprojects.

    Have Drupal experience and was part of the UX-Bofs in Szeged.

  33. 33 sign said at 3:48 pm on May 28th, 2009:

    This is an awessome idea!
    Count me in!

  34. 34 Fred said at 8:39 am on May 29th, 2009:

    Count me in as a UX Person.
    Good css, xhtml & wireframing skills.

  35. 35 Gilberto Medrano said at 12:31 am on May 30th, 2009:

    I have done a few sites in Drupal 5 and 6. I love Drupal.

    I am an UX designer whose core discipline is Interaction Design, but I can provide visual design and standard-compliant html/css as part of the whole design deal (please don’t ask me to do just coding) :)

    I have an idea for business-domain-focused themes that can be integrated with the installation process (ready-to-use themes based on business needs or site nature)

    I am interested on helping out with core modules and admin screens. Please let me know if I can be of any help.


  36. 36 James Lane said at 2:40 am on May 30th, 2009:

    I have built a couple of Drupal sites and would like to help on the development side of the house. I know some php and some SQL… so I might be helpful… or not. But I am in!

  37. 37 Leisa Reichelt said at 9:33 am on June 1st, 2009:

    Dmitri – yes, working on a core module would be great. Did you have any in mind that you can suggest? We’re definitely looking for developers to help out with all these amazing UX people who have volunteered to help out!

  38. 38 Leisa Reichelt said at 10:20 am on June 1st, 2009:

    Oscar, your email is bouncing – if you see this can you let me know what it is so I can send you details?

  39. 39 BG said at 3:21 pm on June 1st, 2009:

    Please count me in as a UX volunteer. Not that I have a lot of experience but I will do my best. :-) Using Drupal for about a year.

  40. 40 Asaph said at 7:51 pm on June 1st, 2009:

    Yes, I would like to be a UX volunteer!

    Building Drupal websites for almost 2 years. I have a designer (CSS wizard!) on my team, and 2 lower-level Drupal users (the boses ;) who’d help test stuff in-house and look at things more from an end-user point of view.

    Seems volunteers for UX are plenty – but if you still need some more we’d love to adopt a module for UX fun & brainstorms.

  41. 41 Murat Karpat said at 12:41 pm on June 2nd, 2009:


    I would like to contribute to this project as UX.


  42. 42 Joshua Bullock said at 2:32 pm on June 2nd, 2009:

    Would love to throw down with some wireframes, design, and UX where applicable. Currently working on our first Drupal roll-out and migration of our static content so very new to the back-end but can see a ton of opportunity there.

    Looking forward to helping out!

  43. 43 Amha said at 6:57 pm on June 2nd, 2009:


    I would really like to participate! I have some web development experience and I study HCI.


  44. 44 Craig Melbourne said at 9:31 pm on June 2nd, 2009:

    Have I missed this? Think I might have. Shame. If you do another round I’d love to get involved.

    I have no Drupal experience or exposure (which may or may not be useful) but I have several years (UX design and prototyping) experience working on large media sites built on bespoke CMSs (BBC Sport, NME.com to name a couple)

  45. 45 jeff noyes said at 6:31 pm on June 3rd, 2009:

    You can sign me up as a UX mentor

  46. 46 Grace Lau said at 10:09 pm on June 4th, 2009:

    If you still need UX volunteers, let me know. I’ve been following @drupal_redesign developments on twitter. Have some experience with Drupal

  47. 47 Ted Stein said at 3:04 am on June 6th, 2009:

    I built an easy to use version of Drupal (install profile, administrative theme), viewable here:


    I’d be glad to help out.

  48. 48 Kristjan Jansen said at 7:51 pm on June 7th, 2009:

    I am in, concentrating on core UX — let’s split up some d7ux ideas such as site builder

  49. 49 Budda said at 3:09 pm on June 12th, 2009:

    the Drupal PrivateMessage module needs some UX love i think.

  50. 50 Linea Rowe said at 5:21 pm on June 12th, 2009:

    I can help do some usability testing

  51. 51 Lisa Rex said at 11:10 pm on June 15th, 2009:

    I’d happy to help, both as a user test participant and evaluator. I’ve only got exposure to D5 so I’m completely fresh to D7. My recent experience is with frontent Quality Assurance with an emphasis on usability and accessibility.

  52. 52 Janice Tam said at 5:27 pm on June 16th, 2009:

    I’d love to help out with this project, but it came on my radar a little too late. When is the next round of microprojects?

  53. 53 Pat Sheridan said at 12:42 am on June 22nd, 2009:

    I wish I found out about this effort earlier!

    I’d love to help if you’re still looking for volunteers.


  54. 54 David Latapie said at 12:59 pm on July 12th, 2009:

    Hello, I would like to get involved. I’m not a coder, but I’m good at usability, accessibility and ergonomics.

    I wrote a thourough examination on how I suggest improving installation from a usability point of view. You can read it here – “My vision of usability for Drupal” – http://drupal.org/node/516878.

    Thank you for contacting me back.

  55. 55 Calvin Nguyen said at 4:26 pm on July 17th, 2009:


    Please add me for the next round of microprojects!

    I’m an avid drupal user and user experience designer. In fact, I liked it so much I set it up for use at work for our UX group. After demonstrating its benefits with collaborative design and development we are implementing it for use department wide.


  56. 56 Arun Martin said at 8:37 pm on July 28th, 2009:


    I’d be interested in helping out on the miniprojects from a UX side.


  57. 57 Ryan said at 12:22 am on September 12th, 2009:

    I’m a UX/Usability specialist with 15 years experience and becoming a drupalist of late as well too. I can offer my services.

  58. 58 Tevi Hirschhorn said at 11:48 pm on November 3rd, 2009:

    I’m a Drupal designer who would love to help out with UX mini projects!

  59. 59 Greg Simkins said at 10:19 pm on December 26th, 2009:

    It is not clear from this page whether you are still recruiting volunteers, but I will bite. I have done basic html (ugly) sites for about a decade. I am now trying to make up for lost time by learning Drupal in a serious way.

    I recently converted a client site to Drupal (cocojams.com). The client loves it. I used a theme from ThemeGarden.

    I am always looking for ways to learn more about Drupal development. I would be happy to help on a little project, if needed.

    I recently installed Drupal 7 successfully on my local host. I tried to install it on a public site to replace a Drupal 6 site and I got a blank page (http://communitystreetjams.com). Obviously, I need to learn a bit more.

    Thanks in advance for any opportunity to participate.

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