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The User Advocate Group
Drupal Productivity Solutions

Intentional Sitebuilding

In this 9 minute video I present my hypothesis that Drupal does not have a systematic mechanism for building an Information Architecture (IA) in a way that clients can understand. I list the various ways to build pages but point out they all treat IA as a byproduct.

Because clients are generally non-technical, they cannot understand the internal mechanisms for creating web pages and this can lead to disconnects with the site builders. It is also often the case that content is late to arrive as it takes significant time to produce. Thus one of the main obstacles with site building in Drupal is its insistence on defining content nodes first in order to build structures around them. I liken that to building a house around furniture.

I always stress taking an Outside-In UX strategy to problems such as this because it opens the door to a much more intuitive UX for website builders. I believe it can make them not only more productive but, equally importantly, more in tune with their clients needs and objectives. In this video I propose an 'Outside-In' UX Strategy for site building and present a hypothetical, highly schematic, site building user interface to illustrate how it could work. I call this UX Strategy the Inductive Pull Model.

Although this presentation was done in 2014, the concepts still apply today.

Since making this presentation I switched hats professionally and stopped doing UX related work to focus exclusively on development. During that time I got to work with the Paragraphs module (a game changer!) and saw it was a perfect mechanism to realize some of the Inductive Pull Model concepts. This year I began developing a Drupal 8 working prototype of this Outside-In website building strategy. I call this system D8-SBS and I've launched several sites with it (including this one). I'll be talking more about it in future posts.

I'd like to thank John P. Weiksnar, Thomas Svenson and my partner Cochita Flores who were all generous with their time and attention when giving me feedback as I fleshed out these concepts.

Note: This is a 9 minute, condensed version of a one hour presentation that I made at DrupalCamp Toronto 2014. If you'd like to see the full presentation in its 9 parts, click on the links below.

Part 1 - Clients vs Sitebuilders

Part 2 - A Quick Look at Drupal Web Page Building

Part 3 - Understanding Usage Context

Part 4 - Understanding Business Intent

Part 5 - Why We Can't 'Grow' a Website in Drupal

Part 6 - Redefining Web Pages

Part 7 - Understanding Spaces

Part 8 - Defining an Inductive Pull Model for Website Building

Part 9 - The UX of an Inductive Pull Model