Panelists for "Structured Content Authoring" session at Design for Drupal Boston?

LeeHunter's picture

One of the important challenges facing the effort to improve Drupal as tech comm tool is getting the right user experience for authors especially when we start adding things like conditional text, single-sourced content and DITA-style mapping.

Since the Design for Drupal event in Boston is the obvious place to connect with people who have either done this before or who have good insights into the problem, I've decided to propose a session on the subject. But since I'm not a UX expert, my clever plan is to make it a panel discussion. My contribution as chair would be talk about what we're planning for documentation and for the tech comm distro that's currently under discussion. Then I'm hoping to turn things over to my eminent co-panelists who can talk about the challenges that they faced and overcame (or perhaps failed to overcome, as the case may be).

But at this moment, I have no idea who these people might be. If you'd like to be on the panel yourself or you know someone else who should be there, please post here or drop me a line.

The submission deadline is May 15.


more info?

tomjohnson1492's picture

Lee, I'm interested to hear more about your efforts to provide more of these tech comm features in Drupal. Do you have any more info for me on this? I currently use Drupal as a help platform and am looking to take advantage of some of the things you mentioned.


Some first steps have been

LeeHunter's picture

Some first steps have been made towards getting a better tool set for the documentation on which you can read about in some detail here:

Some of those building blocks are in good shape, like the conditional text module, but a lot of work needs to be done to make them really usable. For example, we need to be able to apply conditions through in-line editing.

I think it's really important that we look beyond the needs of the Drupal documentation and explore the idea of extending and configuring Drupal to be a good general purpose technical communication tool. Not that Drupal will ever completely replace some of the dedicated tech comm CMS's and authoring tools, but I think it could be much more widely used than it is.

But right now, I don't know exactly how this is going to evolve. There might someday be a tech comm distribution or possibly just an integrated suite of modules.

The one thing I'm sure of is that the authoring experience is going to be absolutely critical to this effort. People who work eight hours a day wrangling thousands or millions of content components need to be able to work quickly creating content maps, applying conditions, tracking the use of components, managing releases, translations etc and they need a system that enforces rules around structure.

We'll be discussing all these questions in a sprint on the Saturday after Drupalcon which I'd welcome you to join.


tomjohnson1492's picture

Thanks, Lee. That was just the kind of information I was looking for. I wish I could attend Drupalcon, but unfortunately I cannot. I'll try to keep up with the project virtually, though.

As I understand it, the goal is to infuse Drupal with robust help authoring tools? I looked over the page you listed with more info. If you could make that a reality it would be incredible. Do you have a timeline for each of the phases?

We don't have a timeline

LeeHunter's picture

We don't have a timeline right now, that's one of the things we'll be talking about at the sprint.

examples of help on Drupal platform?

tomjohnson1492's picture

Lee, do you have any examples of help systems on Drupal (other than Drupal's own help)? I was trying to make an argument in favor of using web content management systems for help material in a post the other day, and in comments, many people see no barrier in creating structured content for web platforms. I'm wondering if you have any specific examples of Drupal help and if you have any thoughts on structured content authoring and web content management systems like Drupal.

I'd be happy to be on it

danigrrl's picture

Hey Lee,

Great session topic! You've got a bit of time if you have trouble finding panelists; but maybe you can just share what you've learned so far, and use the results of the sprint at Drupalcon to provide the meat of your session?

(Full disclosure: I'm helping run the event, and I'm the chair of the session selection committee)

I'd love to join you guys for the sprint, btw. One of my current focuses is on improving the experience for content administrators for the college I'm working with.

I'm not sure that I'm going

LeeHunter's picture

I'm not sure that I'm going to have any pearls of wisdom by June - I certainly don't have any major insights right now.

This might make a good BOF though.

Or if YOU did the session, I'd definitely go to see it! :)