Traditionally, discussions about user experience tend to center around end-users who are accessing and interacting with public-facing web content.
But what about the administrator’s experience? Shouldn’t s/he be able to publish content with the same ease that target audiences find or view that content?
Each subsequent release of Drupal reveals improvements in the user interface presented to back-end administrators. Here are three tips you can use to create even more intuitive interfaces for admins using Drupal.
Enable in-line creation of related content
It's cumbersome to leave a page whenever you realize that some other crucial piece of content needs to be created and associated... for instance, when you have to add a new author to the database in order to assign a story to him or her. By enabling in-line creation of content, the user doesn’t have to leave the page to add new items like an author; s/he can enter the information required to create this supporting content in a popup that is presented on the edit form. [NOTE: This is typically done using the Node Relationships module. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet compatible with the latest release of Drupal 7.]
Add a 2-column node edit function
In doing so, you’ll be displaying two sets of “Save” and “Cancel” buttons -- one set in the right sidebar, and one set at the bottom. Also, authoring information and publishing options are elevated to the top of the right rail where they can be quickly edited. This becomes especially valuable on extra-long forms.
Move tabs to the top
An interrupted publishing experience typically isn’t ideal, so prevent interruptions to the flow of the page by moving tabs up to the top into an overlay. Not only does this relocation help to keep the continuity of the page in-tact, but it helps publishers avoid a different view from the public end-users, too.