Live from DrupalCon Chicago 2011
Well, not exactly live! DrupalCon 2011 has finally come to a close today—and I was too busy enjoying the keynotes, sessions and after-hours parties to update our blog about the happenings at this year’s event.
The conference was a great opportunity to see how the Drupal community has matured, how it continues to evolve as social media and mobile change and how we think about delivering content online. Dries Buytaert—the original creator and project lead for Drupal—kicked off the conference by discussing the future of Drupal and how the next version, Drupal 8, will be mark-up free so that it can serve data via XML or JSON as easily as it does HTML. This approach underscores the vision that content management systems must focus on delivering information to any device and any environment at any time.
Sessions were jam-packed with coders, themers, designers and others learning about the latest Drupal has to offer and ended with an all-day code sprint. The highlight for me, though, was the keynote delivered by Jarod Spool, a user experience visionary, who gives incredibly funny and insightful talks on UX.
Spool’s talk focused on how designers, developers and information architects can improve experience by aligning what a user knows about a task they need to perform and what they need to know about the tool (website, app, etc.) they are required to use to perform it. For example, a user who is booking a hotel room knows they need to provide some information about themselves, their checkin and checkout dates, as well as payment info. The tool they use to book their reservation shouldn’t present any obstacles to their understanding of the room booking process.
The gap between what a user knows and what they need to know to use a site, app or tool is where design happens. If we create a design that reduces—or eliminates—that gap, then we have made the design intuitive. The talk was very well delivered, and I highly recommend anyone considering creating a new website or app to take a look.