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Drupal Camp London: Improving the CMS Admin User Experience

  • Drupal 7 Improving the CMS Admin User Experience
It’s often the forgotten journey, one in which little time and budget is afforded. As someone who has plenty of experience programming in other Content Management Systems (CMS), it’s an area I felt where the  Drupal admin screens out of the box fall a little short.

It was for this Reason that Paul Rowell’s seminar on ‘Improving CMS User Experience’ at the recent Drupal Camp in London stood out as being of interest.  What are the admin modules of choice that you need to add in to Drupal?  

Getting the CMS user experience right can often be a vital element in a successful website.  If staff aren’t happy using the website then content and updates will become slow and irregular.

Often, technology ends up being blamed rather than the user’s reluctance to go the extra yard to learn the CMS tools themselves.  With a relatively small amount of time investment for a task that might seem like ‘moving the mountain to Mohammed’, it should really be seen more as a case of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.  

Every website has different requirements, and the following list doesn’t need to be installed on everyone sites but let’s take a look at some of tools that can be added and find out why they might be useful to you. Here are the top ten:

Modules to help improve the admin experience

  1. Navbar
  2. Adminimal
  3. Admin views
  4. Workbench
  5. Media
  6. Administration help


Drupal Navbar Admin Module - flowmoco

Personally I love the look of this menu as the one it looks like a Wordpress administration layout. Their CMS user experience always comes back as positive even for those users that have had very little website administration experience in the past.

Drupal Project Navbar


Recommended by Paul was Adminimal, a Drupal theme which makes inroads into making the existing menu system clearer.

Drupal Adminimal Module - flowmoco

Drupal Project Admin Views


Drupal Workbench Admin Module - flowmoco

This is a template change to make the administration area more modular. There’s also some great extensions too. I haven’t used this module yet but from the image it looks like a good addition especially if your admin might be working from tablets and mobile devices. 

Drupal Project Workbench


We’re currently using this on a couple of projects and for me it’s an absolute must, ‘…an extensible framework for managing files and multimedia assets…‘  Users will be familiar with this type of control over their media files from using other websites, blogs and CMS tools out there.

Drupal Project Media

Administration help

This one wasn’t a suggestion from Drupal Camp but something I’ve discovered in the meantime.  I’ve worked on sites previously where the Administration help has been expanded and it’s vastly helped admins, especially if video clips are created also.

Drupal Project Administrative Help

Other related Drupal gems for your next project

Phew, done! As with any online too, there are always other projects, modules and add-ons that we have noticed as we go about our Drupal projects. Here are some of the best we have seen recently that you might want to give a spin on your sites in the future:

  • Webform Default Fields
    With this module you can easily create much of the nodes with same webformfields you want to.
    Drupal Project Webform Default Fields
  • Option Element
    The Options Element is a module that provides a better mechanism to specify select list, checkbox, and radio button options.
    Drupal Project Options Element 
  • Honey Pot
    Honeypot uses both the honeypot and timestamp methods of deterring spam bots from completing forms on your Drupal site.
    Drupal Project Honeypot 
  • Multiselect
    The Multiselect module defines a widget to be used with CCK fields.  It allows the user to select multiple items in an easy way.
    Drupal Project Multiselect
  • Conditional Fields
    Define dependencies between fields based on their states and values.
    Drupal Project Conditional Fields
  • Gmap 
    The GMap module provides an interface to the Google Maps API within Drupal. It integrates with the Location module to provide users a clickable map for entering latitude and longitude, as well as to display maps of Drupal nodes and users.
    Drupal Project GMAP
  • linkit
    Linkit provides an easy interface for internal and external linking with editors and fields by using an autocomplete field.
    Drupal Project Linkit
  • Taxonomy Term Reference Tree Widget
    This module provides an expandable tree widget for the Taxonomy Term Reference field in Drupal 7.
    Drupal Project Term Reference Tree
  • Label Help
    In normal rendering of Drupal form fields, the field’s “description” (i.e. its help text) gets placed below the form’s input element, which is not necessarily the most useful place to place it. On textarea form fields that enable multiple input formats, for example, the field’s help text gets placed below the text format selector and tips. This means that website users are unlikely to notice and read the help text. 
    Label Help
  • Vertical tabs Responsive
    This module responsifies vertical tabs in admin pages.
    Drupal Project Vertical Tabs Responsive
  • Beauty tips
    The Beautytips module provides ballon-help style tooltips for any page element using JQuery.
    Drupal Project Beautytips 

If you also want to check out Paul’s slides from his talk, do grab them here on Slideshare - http://www.slideshare.net/PaulRowell/drupalcamp-london-2015 - or visit his site here - http://www.paulrowell.com.

Let us know what you think of the post @flowmoco and what you want us to cover next from the world of Drupal, web and mobile. Thanks!


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