Drupal.org re-design business kick-off meeting

Last week we had a business kick-off meeting for the Drupal.org re-design. The purpose of this meeting was to start two important efforts: establishing business objectives for the re-design, and begin the re-design request for qualifications and request for proposals process.

Drupal.org is many things to many people, and there are a lot of ideas about how to improve the site. The Drupal association has limited cash resources, and limited volunteer resources to implement a re-design so it's important that the association has clear business objectives to help prioritize the scope of this effort. We will focus on hiring firms to deliver design work products such as information architecture, branding, graphic design, visual design, wire frames, and interaction design deliverables. The scope of the re-design will be extensive, covering all *.drupal.org properties, and yet at the same time remain consistent with the Drupal community's method of making small iterative improvements and having open discussions about those changes.

To establish the business goals, we've asked two permanent members of the Drupal association to lead the definition of business objectives. Michael Myers is the founder and CTO of NowPublic, a grassroots journalism Drupal site which raised 13 Million in venture funding. Michael has lead several re-design efforts in his career. Michael routinely works with technologists, designers, and his investors to balance the various needs and accomplish business objectives.

Laura Scott is the president of pingVision, a Drupal consultancy with 19 employees, and she has been deploying websites for customers since 1994. Laura's company recently deployed popsci.com , which won best showcase at Drupalcon Boston. Her company also won 5 Horizon Interactive awards for Popular Science, RedBlueAmerica, and Spectrum magazine. Laura has the experience and expertise to help the association and the community have a successful re-design.

Michael and Laura will be holding a public meeting and soliciting feedback from the community. People who are interested in the business objectives of the redesign should participate in the public re-design group.

Tiffany Farris is the president of Palantir, a Drupal consultancy in Chicago. Tiffany's work has lead her to work with many design firms and has resulted in projects which have won awards including the Software & Information Industry Association Codie award, International Academy of Visual Arts 2006 W³ silver award in cultural institutions category, and a Webby official honoree award. Tiffany will help the association in preparing a request for qualifications, to identify design firms capable of delivering design work products that the Drupal community can implement. She will also lead a request for proposals process so that the Drupal association board of directors can vote to accept a contract with one or more design firms to create the design deliverables that the community will help to implement.

Our discussion focused on deliverables for these new responsibilities. We plan to have an initial draft report on business objectives and RFQ proposal in the next two weeks with a public deliverable in approximately one month.

Our meeting raised many important questions like:
What is Drupal?
How do we make Drupal transparent to site visitors?
How do we avoid failures so common in massive re-design efforts?
How do we use iterative implementation techniques while keeping constraints on design costs?
How do we provide the project management resources necessary to make a re-design effort successful?
What are important activities visitors need to do and how do we make it easy?
How do we create a specific enough re-design proposal to solicit a higher quality response?

We aim to address these questions over the next month, and look forward to working with the community to get this re-design under way.

If you are not an expert site in re-design but would like to help move Drupal.org to Drupal 6 as a first step of the re-design implmentation, you can help by working on these two desired features: Add possibility to retrieve a list of projects, and Make usage statistics visible.

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