Do your clients send you presents? If not, maybe we can figure it out together, lets talk about D7UX.

Do your clients love you with such a furious passion that it borders on problematic? Do you find new customers calling you and saying things like, “I must have your services! My friend has been bugging me all week to call you. Seriously, I just want him to stop camping out on my lawn. It’s scaring the children.”

I found this on my desk the other day and I found myself filled with a sense of joy and satisfaction. I have to admit though, it wasn’t from a customer; but what if it were? What if my relationship with our clients was so good that they found themselves thinking about me when they were at the science museum? Can anyone argue that this would be a bad thing?

Dinosaur drawing present

No, of course your clients don’t do that yet. But we can have dreams can’t we? This post marks the beginning of a long journey to figure out what we need to do, as programmers, managers, and as a community, to make Drupal so filled with rainbows that the concept of using anything other than Drupal is just the domain of masochists.

D7UX, the U stands for Unicorns.

D7UX is one of, I believe, the largest group attempts to improve the user experience of content creators to date. Certainly there are bigger movements in the Drupal community, hell, D7 itself is just absolutely amazing, but I’m not sure that there are other communities that have a centralized structure that’s strong enough to facilitate movements like D7UX, D7AX, D7CX, and the myriad other groups.

But the most wonderful thing about D7UX is that I know, in my artichoke of hearts, that it’s going to bring Drupal out of the dark ages and drag every other CMS with it. UX is singlehandedly the biggest complaint I hear about Drupal, nobody is seeing the absolute beauty of Rubik/Cube or the new D7 default theme!

CMSs are entering a new era, we know how to manage content on the web, we know roughly how to make it scale at the small to medium end, some might say we even understand i18n a little bit, now we get to focus on things like making users deliriously happy all the time. Drupal is one of the first post-modern web application frameworks; it is not a stretch to say that the Drupal community is pushing the boundaries of what people thought was a good user experience.

So while D7UX is working on making core a positive experience how do we apply their principles in our own work? We cannot just idly rely on others to do this for us, we must also keep these things in mind when we program.

Print these principles and laminate them. Then put stickers of ponies on the card to remind of the feelings you got when you saw your first pony: that’s what we want our clients to feel when they work on their site.

D7UX’s Main Principles:

  1. Make the most frequent tasks easy and less frequent tasks achievable
  2. Design for the 80%
  3. Privilege the Content Creator
  4. Make the default settings smart


On monday I will elaborate on point one and talk about using Drupal’s excellent menuing system to make the most frequent tasks easy and fast. We’re also going to talk about some default roles and modules that make user management worlds easier. There is no reason for D6 people to wait to improve user experience.

For now I want you to have my Main Principles:

  1. My clients will be so in love with the site that they will personally purchase sausages and send them to me to placate my terrible hunger
  2. My clients' users will be so overjoyed that they will recommend the site to everyone they know which will allow me to have fun with big problems like scaling and high performance backends
  3. I will do more for my clients than I knew was possible, I will push the boundaries of UX and I will always keep the main principles in mind when I build software

Print that and laminate it too. But put more stickers on my version, because we’re awesome and stickers make the whole affair more serious. Only serious projects get the good stickers.

My principles and their unicorn sponsors