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UX improvements in Drupal 6: Administration

This is the seventh blog post in a series about user experience improvements in Drupal 6. In my research, several core developers suggested that improvements to Drupal's administration were significant enough to warrant its own category. Improvements to administration come from the application of UX heuristics and
from focused efforts on a particular administration work flow like installation.

Four important changes to administration usability were related to that of security administration. The addition of a password checker helps administrators who are constantly reminding their users to use secure passwords. The introduction of the PHP module as a separate module allows administrators to remove this module entirely and prevent site admins from running PHP code. The addition of update status allows site admins to quickly know whether their site is running an outdated and insecure module. The separation of edit and delete permissions helps prevent users from accidentally deleting content.

Other administration improvements include removing an administration specific search, providing the ability to clear caches which helps in verifying changes during site building, better navigation for new user accounts for both admins and new users, and more access to content administration for users with relevant permissions.

One area that needs more attention is basic content administration. Results from usability testing reveal that similar concepts like node, post, and content are a significant sources of confusion for new administrators. New administrators are confused by not being able to find content when it's first created. They are also confused about the difference between their website, and the administration section of the site. The introduction of a content administration dashboard, to complement the site building dashboard we currently have would allow new administrators to have a more gradual introduction into Drupal administration.

Contributors to Drupal 6 administration improvements include: Chris Kennedy, Steven Wittens, Peter Wolanin, Chad Phillips, Angela Byron, Thilo Wawrzik, Joon Park, Konstantin Käfer, Matt Corks, Károly Négyesi, Nathan Haug, "Catch", Anders "fajerstarter", Jiří Bernášek, Wim Mostrey, Jeff Eaton, Larry Garfield, "dmitrig01", Jody Hamilton, Paco Mateo

Here is a list of patches that improve the user experience of administration in Drupal 6.

  1. - Patch #143026 by ChrisKennedy and Steven: dynamically check password strength and confirmation.
  2. #153998 by pwolanin: separate edit a delete permissions, so people who can edit a node cannot delete it too automatically
  3. #136585 by hunmonk and pwolanin: fix too tight permissions on admin/content
  4. - Patch #130108 by webchick: link to newly created account in admin panel.
  5. - Patch #153594 by profix898: usability: remove word 'settings' in blocks administration.
  6. - Patch #159936 by dvessel: fixed block administration page.
  7. #174440 by kkaefer: properly translatable filter dropdown elements on user admin page
  8. #168261 by mvc: redirect registered users back to the front page if admin approval is required, so their user account page is not directly accessible after registration
  9. #177654 by chx: admin/content has items with comment, feed, etc management, so a node admin permission should not be required to visit it
  10. #157752 by quicksketch: extend AHAH functionality to most types of form elements, without writing JavaScript. Also AHAH enable the blocks admin page.
  11. #40934 by catch and fajerstarter: remove admin search page as it was broken and the same as the usual search page anyway
  12. #171117 by JirkaRybka: set access time for admin created or edited accounts so they are exempt from the spam protection we have for accounts never logged in
  13. - Patch #136970 by catch and wmostrey: added permission to administer contact forms (usability improvement).
  14. - Patch #195173 by Eaton et al: allow administrators to clear all caches.
  15. #192779 follow up by Lynn: only show enabled themes on block admin page *and* the admin theme (which might not be enabled)
  16. #202425 by keith.smith: standardize reference to block placement page as 'blocks administration page' to avoid any confusion
  17. #210211 by chx, theborg: removing the broken admin user search, which would provide the same as the public facing user search anyway
  18. #177654 by chx: admin/content has items with comment, feed, etc management, so a node admin permission should not be required to visit it
  19. - Patch #181066 by quicksketch et al: drag and drop of table rows on the block adminsitration page.


Posted on by pseudonym mapping (not verified).

"catch" is Nathaniel Catchpole. "dmitrig01" is Dmitri Gaskin.