Making Module Installation Easy for Acquia Search
by Jacob Singh
Jeff Noyes (our Simplicity Guru), Linea Rowe, Peter Wolanin and myself sat down to discuss how the install process for our Hosted Search Service would look (yes, we’re getting close – Private Beta is out in two weeks)! Typically, when you have a faceted search engine, there is a set of filters on the left and search results on the right, with the sorting links generally horizontally aligned somewhere near the search box.
Here are a few examples from around the web:
And here is our current implementation:
Here is the same shot, but broken down in “drupalish”
I think it works okay, but we’re concerned that when people enable the module, they will have a hard time getting this together. Here is a series of screen shots of a user, enabling and setting up the module:
This part is simple (if you use Acquia’s hosted search), you just enable one module and you are done configuring the connection to Solr.
However, you standard search ends up looking like this:
To get all the nice sorting and facet filters, you need to know (somehow) to go to admin/build/blocks and drag the ApacheSolr: blocks into regions like this:
So what do people think? Should we just enable a few blocks “out of the box” and hope you are using garland and have a region named “left” or “left-sidebar”? If so, which blocks? Alternately, how can we provide a good workflow for people to know they need to do that extra step to setup their search. The other option Jeff suggested (which is most usable) is to have one block, where you can select what filters you want in it. The downside is that the user loses flexibility about where to but filters (maybe they want sorting on the right, etc).
I’d like to get some feedback on:
A). How to make this process so simple that it really is just checking that one box on the modules page and letting cron run and it looks great for 90% of users.
B). What the default blocks to enable are, and where they should be on the screen
C). How do we address this problem of multi-step installs which want to setup blocks in a more usable way for newbies?