Project Process (how we’re doing this)

As you may have noticed, this is not your typical design project… there are things about it that are pretty unusual, but there are also some pretty standard aspects as well. We thought it might be useful to give you a high level view of the approach we plan to take.

On a project like this, however, a highlevel view is really the only one we *can* give because, in all honesty, we’re not exactly sure what we’ll be doing in 2-3 weeks time let alone 2-3 months time. We have a mud-map though, and this is roughly what it looks like.

We are working with the team at Acquia on this project and they run an Agile shop, so we’re going to be trying to synch into their iterations as best we can.

One of the biggest challenges for User Experience and Design work in an Agile environment is getting the strategy and vision of the design worked through – to that end we are very thankful that our friends at Acquia have been flexible enough to give us a nice big chunk of time which we’re calling ‘Iteration Zero‘ and in this time we are doing a whole load of thinking, and strategising and talking with you to work out what our overall strategy is. This is why we’re asking about audience, and tone of voice and those more ‘abstract’ questions.

By the end of Iteration Zero, which for us is around 14 April, we hope to have an overarching strategy and ‘framework’ for the proposed interface for D7 in the form of some pencil sketches and a sitemap, an agreed experience strategy, audience matrix and tone of voice. We will have tested framework using some low fidelity (paper) prototypes with a range of participants across the spectrum of our audience matrix and we will feel confident that we know what we are doing and where we are headed.

During this time we will be working closely with the Drupal community to understand *how* our framework can best be implemented for release with D7.

The remainder of our time on the project, (which runs until around the end of July) will be spent working through exactly how the strategy is implemented, looking at the very many fine details and issues that will need to be resolved, whilst also testing and iterating the work we have done based on the results of our testing.

How and when can you get involved?

During iteration zero – it is VITAL that we get the foundations of our strategy correct so please engage and continue to engage with us as we work through the strategy, audience and tone issues. This will be mostly in the form of you reviewing what we’ve come up with and providing us with your feedback.

Get involved with the framework design – we’re going to be posting (very soon) some initial sketches that show the direction we’re heading in – we would love to have your feedback on that.

As we did with the d.o redesign project, we’ll be doing a CrowdSourced Wireframe activity that we would invite you to participate in where we’ll be asking you to take a part of the Drupal Admin you think needs work and drawing up a solution (or, if you’ve done it already, why not submit a screencast to ‘Pimp Your Admin’ on our YouTube channel!)

We are also going to re-launch the Crowdsourced Usability Testing for this project – this time with a little more warning and some more structure – so we would invite you to help us test our designs with people around you and contribute to our understanding of what is working and what is not, and help validate our approach. In the coming week I will be releasing a lot more information around this, including some timings, so it would be great to have you on board with this exercise (and it would also make a great exercise for interns, students, people new to usability/UX who want to get some experience doing usability testing).

As the Acquia team start to take designs from us, they will also start releasing a working prototype that you will be able to review and comment on – I’m not sure on timings for that but I’d expect probably mid-late May (I’ll update when I know more).

So as you can see – there will be LOTS of ways for you to contribute all the way through the project, and, don’t let us limit you! If you have ideas we need to see, or other ways you’d like to contribute – please let us know!

Any questions? Comments etc.?

12 thoughts on “Project Process (how we’re doing this)”

  1. I simply hope that the “admin menu” or something very similar is included by default, so that no matter where you are in a Drupal site, you always have those handy links up there to get wherever you need to go.

  2. Never mind the admin menu, whatever Leisa and Mark are gonna come up with, I have a feeling it’s gonna blow the admin menu module out of the sky!

  3. Leisa & Mark, I loved your work on, I’m looking forward to this redesign and I really want to get involved. I do have a suggestion on the process of publishing updates and requesting user participation.
    I’m finding it increasingly harder to follow this discussion spread on several places: this blog, Leisa’s disambiguity blog, Mark’s website’s news section, the Flickr group and the YouTube group (not to forget the twitter streams).
    I think we need to have all updates in a single place, and I was expecting that *this* site would be serving this purpose. Of course you should cross-post, but I think comments should be disabled on other sites and a link to the original post here should be provided, so that we can also have all user comments for one specific topic in one place.
    It’s already getting difficult for me to remember where something was mentioned and we’re only at the beginning. I can’t begin to think how difficult it will be for you to track down a single comment you’d seen somewhere and want to come back to at a later time.

  4. My wife has become more interested in Drupal as an end user. I would like to use her and a couple of our existing clients in usability testing.

    Will you be providing scripts and guidelines for this, or would you expect us to come up with our own usability tests? My understanding of usability testing comes almost solely from the 2nd edition of ‘Don’t make me think!’, but I’ve yet to do any deliberate testing since reading the book about 3-5 months ago.

    I’d definitely like to provide something concrete and helpful.

  5. Has anyone pointed out that you are working on concepts for D7. Which means that when your work is done, we will have awesome concepts for a version of Drupal that will take months (realistically) to finish off your suggestions. So the soonest could be turned into a Drupal site is what… 5 months after you finish the project? How about our goal be that be a drupal site?


  6. I’ve been working on CMS’ for some time now, including Drupal.

    One concept I ran into during the build of a bespoke corporate CMS I really liked where there were a number of editors…is the idea that each editor had a personal work space. They called it ‘page builder’. However, the interesting thing about it was that it had a ‘clipboard’ of work-in-progress and ‘libraries’ of re-usable site-wide pre-fab items (that may include content or be varied) that could be access quickly when you were creating pages. There was also permission and workflow, as you would expect.

    I find a lot of the time when I’m configuring Drupal I have to flip back and forth between key ‘design’ modules (e.g. views, blocks, panes…etc) and the relationship between these elements isn’t obvious. Finally, I need to create the specific content type that an editor can choose from a long list when they want to create something.

    It would be nice to be able to access all the things that I need to build a ‘page’ or ‘view’ from one palette, giving editors enough tools to be able to create, design and edit (what they are allowed to) in the same place.

Comments are closed.