Simplifying Drupal's Admin UI and Teaching Drupal

Joeri Poesen //

Screenshot of a Trello task board

Cristina started an interesting discussion on What could Drupal implement from other CMS or content editors to improve its Admin Interface?

Current Drupal's admin UI (the Seven theme) was a great improvement but hasn’t evolved much over the last years and it starts to feel outdated and needs a visual update.

Several people have jumped in with ideas and sketches, including Roy, who contributed a braindump on categorising Drupal admin tasks.

Wanting to add my voice to his, but not sure how, I converted his list into a public Trello board, slightly rephrased some tasks, and attempted to reorder and logically group some of the tasks together.

Ordering and grouping things is highly subjective, and sometimes doesn't make much sense without the context of a face-to-face discussion, but it's a start.

Not sure Trello is the right platform, since contributors need to be explicitly invited, which isn't very scaleable for our purposes. Does anyone know something equally visual and more suitable?

Roy's attempt at categorising Drupal admin tasks resonates with me on a deep level: I've been providing Drupal training since Drupal 5, and I never quite found the right way to approach the subject.

On top of that, Perl's evergreen motto TIMTOWTDI certainly applies to Drupal: There's More Than One Way To Do It.

Breaking down and explaining Drupal

So, a while back I started restructuring all the Drupal courses we deliver at Code Enigma.

This time I started from a different set of questions for each course:

  • what should my learners be able to do at the end of the day?
  • how far can I go to declutter and cut the non-essential information out of my materials?
  • how can I help my learners achieve their goals?
  • how can I make my learners kick ass?

These questions were inspired by the work of several formidable ladies:

In hindsight it's obvious:

Simplifying Drupal's admin UI and teaching people to understand Drupal intuitively are one and the same thing.