Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Comercializing a Community

A very interesting discussion is going on around Drupal's core development process.

As I read it, I realize the only voice of the companies that drive a lot of Drupal in that conversation is Dries. Sure, a bunch of people that are employees of the companies are contributing as individuals, but the companies themselves are not in the conversation.

Drupal is clearly being comercialized... folks noted that the Drupal homepage no longer has interesting stories, it's tipping toword site annoucements. The Drupalcons and various development sponsored by commercial interests is moving Drupal away from its roots.

I have two thoughts on this:
  1. The companies are paying attention closely and communicating only through back channels. One might ask why that communication can't happen in the open.
  2. The companies should be neck deep into the conversation. This is the future of their businesses.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Drupal 7 UE Redesign: Just Copy Already

So I've been observing the Drupal  7 UE redesign project and have made another tremendous discovery. There is little (probably nothing) new under the sun. So when you want to hit the 80% principle, just copy from others.

So you have some of the intial Mark Bolton concepts & Lullabot's Buzzr UI for Drupal. Then you look at other CMS's, specifically Concrete5 and CMS Box (one of 2008's best UIs according to Jakob Nielsen). And you come to the conclusion that a CMS requires, drum roll please, a header, overlay window and inline editing -- three things that are in each of these CMSs and CMS designs.

This begs the question just how much original usability testing, getting to know your user time is really required. Couldn't you  just copy what has gone before you? Or perhaps it is really good validation that the basic concepts are right on.

And a final thought. These concepts really aren't going to make Drupal unique... something else is required.Hopefully Bolton's concept of a "Tool for Site and Page Structuring" can be that unique element.