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Acquia is sponsoring Drupalcon Szeged. How about you?

Acquia has signed up as a platinum sponsor for Drupal Szeged 2008 coming up August 27-30. We're sending a large contingent of Acquians as attendees, presenters, and general community participants. We'll be recruiting and enabling partners, looking for new employees, and sharing the latest Acquia news. We really look forward to seeing everyone there.

Bastille Day at San Francisco Drupal User Group meeting

Last night the San Francisco user group celebrated Bastille Day at the Paris SoMa (South of Market) co-working office, and San Francisco office of AF83.com.

Introducing the Acquia Podcast Series

Today is an exciting day, as we launched the Acquia Podcast series this afternoon. You can listen to podcasts in a flash player on our site, subscribe via RSS feed, or find in iTunes.

Our first episode is an interview Robert Douglass and I did with David Mercer, author of the new book Building powerful and robust websites with Drupal 6.

Dries Buytaert Speaking at Gilbane San Francisco

Acquia's global conference tour continues on next week. Yesterday, Jeff participated yesterday in what was described by Kathleen Reidy at The 451 Group as a star-studded open source panel at Enterprise 2.0.

Who am I? Why am I here?

I'm finishing up my fourth day at Acquia, and in thinking about how to introduce myself, one phrase immediately jumped to mind: "Who am I? Why am I here?"

Now for something completely different...

This is my first week at Acquia, and I have to admit that I'm surprised to be here. Despite my commitments of time and code to Drupal over the last couple years, I was also working full time as a scientist at a start-up that is a spin-off from the lab where I did my post-doc.

Growing Drupal through local groups

##Acquia and growing Drupal
Part of my responsibilities at Acquia are to help grow the number of Drupal users. The Drupal community is growing quickly and the credit for that growth belongs to thousands of contributors and hundreds of Drupal evangelists. I've been personally working on growing Drupal for years, but recently I've begun working closely with my fellow Drupal association members Jacob Redding and Moshe Weitzman to explore how we can work with local groups to grow Drupal. In the rest of this blog post I cover information that I've gathered working with various members of the Drupal community and have shared with the Druapl infrastructure team, groups.drupal.org managers, and the Drupal marketing group. On Monday, June 9th, 5PM PDT Jacob and I will be hosting a web seminar to share our research and solicit feedback from local group organizers.

##Groups.drupal.org is growing
Currently, http://groups.drupal.org , GDO, acts as a rallying point for community events and helps reduce friction in Drupal event organizing. There are 8300 GDO users who are members of local groups, and events appear to be on track to grow from almost 400 in 2007 to 800 in 2008. GDO user growth is accelerating at a rate of 34 additional users per month, with almost 1,200 new users in March 2008 alone. This site now has over 1 million page views per month.

GDO has slow growth in the number of unique visitors climbing from 64,000 unique visitors to 84,000 unique visitors per month over 9 months ending March 2008. We believe that some improvements in user workflow and interaction design could dramatically increase the rate of participation on GDO.
Currently, 73% of visitors stay less than 30 seconds, with an average visit of 466 seconds. An upgrade of Drupal properties to Drupal 6 would enable the use of OpenID to further increase the total amount of users who could become members of local Drupal groups and ultimately attend local events. The authenticated user re-use rate for GDO is approximately 20% based on analysis over the last 24 months. This assures the Drupal community that GDO is a growing web property and worth putting further effort into.

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.

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Interaction Design

According to Wikipedia, "Interaction design defines the behavior (the "interaction") of an artifact or system in response to its users." In previous versions, Drupal has mostly used static interfaces that update when the user submits a form, or navigates to a new page. Beginning with Drupal 5, Jquery was added to the core and Drupal core developers began using this javascript library to improve the user experience of Drupal through improved user interactions.

UX improvements in Drupal 6: Theme system

This is the fifth blog post in a series about user experience improvements in Drupal 6. Drupal is very popular with developers who want to leverage the contributed modules to meet their feature requirements. Previous versions of the theme system have favored powerful theming through programming rather than simplicity for designers. Three significant changes to the theme system have reduced the need for designers to learn how to program to use some of the theme engines most powerful features.