[drupal-devel] drupal.org front page should be for potential users, not developers

Kent Livingston klivingston at worldwebsystems.net
Thu May 19 14:47:26 UTC 2005

Thought: Important observations and ideas.  And: How can I help?  

Despite what it may look like ;-) I can actually write *fairly* well and
have a newbie's eye for misunderstanding or saying as Nedjo does "Pardon?"
when I see something that is an 'inside' joke or more clever than it is
useful. I fall into that latter category on many occasions.  I can install
and customize Drupal, but frankly I haven't quite figured out how to
contribute to documentation or the site itself.  I've been heartened by
recent documentation discussions here and plan to be less timid about
contributing - there's just some initial hurdle I haven't quite gotten over.
And, probably, like some other's I've been a bit intimidated by the fact
that it feels like a developer's world and I don't want to step on anyone's

The strength of Drupal, IMO, is the incredible dedication, skill, and vision
of the developers.  And there is *sometimes* a significant gap in perception
(and sometimes in practice) between the features, functions, code and the
*users* and administrators (administrators are a hybrid group who don't code
but have to configure, fix, maintain, customize, patch, update, etc). 

I see very useful improvements in 4.6 (just getting familiar with it) and
the theme system has taken a major step. From what I can see Drupal
developers are constantly looking to stabilize and look to the next set of

Yet, over the last week have been dealing with the taxonomy access control
module.  This module seems like a great attempt to bridge the gap until
ACL's are integrated into Drupal itself (critically important for
organizations). I haven't got it working correctly yet. I mention this
module because of the confusion regarding the documentation, module package,
etc. that would easily frustrate anyone but an administrator or developer
(actually it would frustrate them too ;-).  

Maybe there could be some 'buddy system' between users/administrators and
developers?   ~ Kent

-----Original Message-----
From: drupal-devel-bounces at drupal.org
[mailto:drupal-devel-bounces at drupal.org] On Behalf Of Nedjo Rogers
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 9:09 AM
To: drupal-devel at drupal.org
Subject: [drupal-devel] drupal.org front page should be for potential
users,not developers

I'm thinking we need to fundamentally rethink drupal.org.  As things stand,
the front page (indeed, the site as a whole) reads as if it were primarily
aimed at two groups: (a) drupal developers, and (b) drupal users.

What's missing is the obvious: potential drupal users.

The main reason people come to drupal.org for the first time is, I assume,
because they have heard of drupal and want to evaluate it for potential use.
It's true that there is a one-sentence summary and an "about drupal" link
near the top of the page.  But that's it.  The rest is drupal techies.

* "Drupal 4.6.0 released" and a bunch of specific technical info.
* The nodes promoted to the front page, which is a mish-mash of, mainly,
highly internal-interest posts.
* Side panel blocks that are at first glance almost incomprehensible.
 - "Navigation" that starts with "CVS messages", whatever that means.
 - Forum topics that are full of technical jargon and give the impression
   there's a ton of thorny problems in the software.
 - And "Drupal talk", culled from who knows where, which is full of random
   musings often not about Drupal at all.
 - By the time you get to "Support Drupal" at the bottom, the average
   user is probably asking, "Why?"

And then look at the page title.  "Community plumbing".  Pardon?

I'm not saying the info we present isn't useful (okay, except the "Drupal
talk", which I'd put in the "eccentric curiosity" category).  But it's not
what we should have as a public face.

I'm suggesting we need:

* a front page that provides people with the information to make a decision
"Why would I choose Drupal".
* sections, linked from the front page (e.g., through top-of-page links) for
(a) developers (module development, core development, etc.) and (b) users
(tips, questions, etc.).

In practice, have a look at plone.org.  They, I believe, are doing this

In the short term, I suggest:

* move the recent nodes listing to a side block of titles, ideally broken
down by subject (e.g., one block for "news", etc.)
* dedicate most of the content space to highlighting the features and
advantages of drupal
* change to the page title to something catchy and understandable



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