[development] Drupal Administration survey II -- looking volunteers to do interviews

Kieran Lal kieran at civicspacelabs.org
Mon Jul 31 18:53:04 UTC 2006

On Jul 31, 2006, at 10:54 AM, Gary Feldman wrote:

> Kieran Lal wrote:
>> Hello, I would like launch a second Drupal Administration Survey  
>> this week.  Here is the first one: http://www.surveymonkey.com/ 
>> DisplaySummary.asp?SID=1425065&U=142506581557 <http:// 
>> www.surveymonkey.com/DisplaySummary.asp?SID=1425065&U=142506581557>
>> I am looking for some volunteers to help re-design the survey and  
>> make sure the questions will lead to effective responses.   The  
>> survey should help the Drupal development community understand  
>> Drupal users and the goal and needs of Drupal administrators.
> By mentioning both users and administrators, you're suggesting that  
> there really should be two surveys, going to two different groups  
> of people.  Is that what you intended?

No, I should have said Drupal administrators in both cases.  This  
effort is targeted specifically at Drupal administrators.
> Can you state some more specific goals for the survey?

To understand Drupal administrators situation when they are  
administering, their goals, and the tasks they are trying to complete.

> The first survey looks like it was trying to identify the most  
> important activity and/or module for improvement.  Is that still  
> the goal?

The survey was part of a larger effort to improve Drupal  
administration. The survey specifically helped to identify tasks  
Drupal administrators were trying to accomplish so we could improve  
their ability to complete those tasks.

> Or are you interested in other dimensions (e.g. the most important  
> attributes from a list such as features, reliability, performance,  
> ease of learning, user perceptions,  etc.)?

Surveys serve a narrow purpose.  They allow broad participation from  
the community as a whole and they help provide feedback to the Drupal  
core development process.  I would use different user experience  
techniques to evaluate some of these measures.  For example, I use  
analysis of search terms on Drupal.org and comments in the Drupal  
handbook to track what people are interested in and what they are  
having trouble learning.

> Another way to phrase my question is what decisions do you hope to  
> make based on the results of the survey?

I can't make decisions for the larger community, but I would hope  
that developers, consulting firms, and Drupal site owners would  
choose to put their resources to improving the most difficult and  
important tasks identified in the survey.

I would use the results to direct where CivicSpace makes it's  
investments in improving the user experience of administering  
Drupal.  I would encourage and validate others efforts to do  
likewise.  For example, in the last survey we identified that making  
your theme work across all browsers was the most difficult Drupal  
administration task.  If that result was validated again in this  
survey I'd probably post emails and contact consulting firms and  
customers encouraging them to fund Drupal theming improvements.

In the survey I identified categorization as being the third most  
"Very Difficult task".  I didn't understand why. I conducted a small  
follow up survey for a dozen people to understand why categorization  
was important.  What I learned was the for non-profits and advocacy  
groups it was very important that they are able to communicate the  
structure of their organization and the goals of their organization  
through their website categorization.  I also learned that these  
users treated categorization as three distinct tasks: managing  
categories, navigating by categories, organizing by categories.     
That lead to a review of over 20 taxonomy modules and we built a  
taxonomy garden to make it easier for Drupal administrator to  
understand how to use categories and the available modules.  You can  
see the results of that work here:

http://drupal.org/node/47822  Managing categories
http://drupal.org/node/47623 Navigating by categories
http://drupal.org/node/47527 Organizing content by categories

I haven't had time to push for changes to categories in core yet, but  
I'll get around to eventually.

I hope that provides some context for how the survey results are useful.

> Gary

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