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Anne Lentino
Three female-presenting people and one male-presenting person in front of a large blue inflatable droplet, all smiling at the camera.

Sandstormers Anne Lentino, Emily Kodner, Amanda Heberg, and Nathan Haas at DrupalCon Portland.

Last week, Sandstormers attended DrupalCon 2022 in Portland, where the team enjoyed lots of amazing food (tacos, pizza, dumplings, and charcuterie boards), craft beers, and lovely wines from Willamette Valley. Most importantly, we enjoyed some much-needed face time with our team members – and even got to hang out with a llama. 

From this immersive experience, we wanted to share what’s next for the Drupal platform, as well as the Drupal web development community vision and roadmap. 

Audience members listen to the keynote speaker on the main stage at DrupalCon in Portland.
DrupalCon attendees listening to the vision for the future of Drupal. 

Here are the three key takeaways and what you need to know for the release of Drupal 10:

1. Release Date: December 2022

The update to Drupal 10 is expected to be even smoother than the update from D8 to D9. A few important things to note:

  • Drupal 10 will require an update to PHP 8.1, though with PHP 7 hitting end-of-life in November, most sites should be well-positioned to meet that requirement.
  • Drupal 9 end-of-life is planned for November 2023.
  • Included in the Drupal 10 release are improvements to the Drupal admin, both from a user interface and an accessibility standpoint. We’re excited to see how these changes will improve the experience for developers, administrators, and content managers alike.

2. What’s New: CKEditor 5

GET READY! - the sparkly new CKEditor 5 is coming with Drupal 10 core. We received a demo with the CKEditor 5 team, where we saw strong enhancements related to inline links, working with embedded media, and clearer iconography in the editor itself. 

The latest and greatest, however, is a paid extension for collaboration. In a nutshell: Google docs-level commenting and tracking changes, all within the editor – AND you can download a Word version that retains the track changes features, or a PDF version of the content. #MINDBLOWN

3. Coming Soon: Automated Updates

The Drupal community has been working tirelessly to enable automated updates for core and contributed modules. What we heard (and what we’re most excited about) is that huge steps are being taken to track upgrade readiness and compatibility. There are also two levels of automation: set-it-and-forget-it (via cron) and the push-a-button-and-walk-away version (safer, in most people’s opinion). 

NB: Automated updates will require the website to go into maintenance mode!

Sandstorm will be taking a deeper look at how automated updates fit into our standard maintenance process for our clients. 

A furry white llama takes the stage at DrupalCon.

We were delighted to meet Cesar, the Pantheon Llama, at DrupalCon. 


There’s plenty more to be excited about with this new release - check out the Driesnote from this year to learn more about where Drupal is headed!

This blog was posted by Anne Lentino on May 6.
Anne Lentino

About the Author

Anne Lentino

Anne, as a Product Owner, enjoys the opportunity to learn about her clients' diverse fields of expertise. She consistently advocates to make the best products to support each client's growing business, while keeping workflow efficiency and creativity top of mind.

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Anne Lentino
website content management workflow

Including content managers in these 5 stages of a website redesign is the key to success for any launch.

A top-line goal we hear consistently with every new website design project is: “Content management and workflow must be easier for our staff.” But often content admins are the forgotten user group.

It sounds simple right? A no-brainer? Any CMS (Content Management System) implemented properly should ease this burden for staff, making it easy for them to manage the content. We're often told, “this new CMS will be an improvement over what we have in place today...”

But it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of discovery, uncovering the key insights from user research and UX testing, the creation of UX wireframes and beautiful UI design -- resulting from our hyper-focus on the needs of our users. And before we know it, we’re in the midst of the development process, content migration, QA and accessibility validation, and getting the site to a launch state.

But how do we keep that primary content management goal for staff top of mind throughout the project and ensure we’re meeting staff’s expectations?

As a Product Owner, one of our primary responsibilities is to consider our clients as users too, and look at it from their perspective. The discovery phase of a project is the perfect opportunity to understand the team’s pain points when managing content on their current website.

  • Are content blocks too hard to find?
  • Do content admins have to update the same content in multiple locations?
  • Are there missed opportunities to showcase critical content because there’s no logical place for it?
  • Is it difficult to classify content with the proper tags/taxonomy to drive continued SEO improvements?

Every subsequent phase of the project gives a Product Owner a checkpoint for ensuring efficiency in content management, including:

  1. Content Audit and Information Architecture
    Allowing the client the opportunity to see a list of all of the active pages on their site gives them the chance to clean house. Much like the clean-out before physically moving to a new home, the content audit prompts clients to toss what they don’t need and what’s just taking up space, and optimize content for their end-users. This "housecleaning" (along with user research) drives the development of the new sitemap and a site structure that better reflects the priority of the content that users are trying to find on the site.
     
  2. UX and UI
    If a content audit is akin to housecleaning before a move, UX design equates to looking at a listing on Redfin and envisioning how your belongings will fit. And UI is painting the rooms to match your furniture. (Is this analogy incredibly reductive of these important processes? Admittedly so.)

    UX design helps prioritize the content and calls to action on each page and sketches out how that content might be presented to the end-user. At this stage, the Product Owner considers how that content will be entered onto that page and the workflow for publishing. For example, if we’re looking at an article or post, is there related content (i.e., articles, resources, products) also showcased on the page? Do those appear because we plan to include a list of articles from the same category? Or can they be curated for each new post and manually selected by the content manager? What is most effective for the client's content and workflow processes?

    The UI design phase will refine these priorities and give both teams the opportunity to think through the use of brand assets, the client’s image library, editing of headers and subheads...the list goes on.
     
  3. Sprint Planning & Development
    As the Product Owner or Scrum Master begins grooming the backlog and planning the first sprint and design handoff, the user stories and acceptance criteria need to take both the end-users and the content managers into account. To continue the metaphor, the development phase helps get ready for move-in: making sure that we know how the furniture will get to its final spot in the new house. (Insert Ross from FriendsPIVOT!” joke here.)
     
  4. Training & Content Entry
    Once we’re ready to train the client on how to enter, approve, and publish their content as part of our sprint delivery, we’re in the home stretch - the final walk-through, if you will. And then: it’s move-in day! We’ve set up the client with an intuitive content entry experience - one that improves their team’s efficiency and allows them to keep content fresh, targeted, and relevant on their new site.
     
  5. Refinement & Optimization
    Post-launch provides opportunities for optimizing the experience, both for our end-users and our staff. If we’ve done our job of considering the needs of our content admins throughout the design and build process, then the CMS configuration should have a sound foundation. As content admins are continuing to work within the system publishing content and using workflows to support the content lifecycle, we have opportunities to fine-tune the administrative experience. Rather than making significant changes after the fact, we consider optimization for both sides of the “house.” (See what I did there?)

Thoughtful content management design is one of the best ways to ensure that an organization’s website will continue to scale as the needs of the business evolve. Anticipating the future state of a business, continually revisiting a client’s long-term business goals, and building flexibility into the content management system all ensure that we’re satisfying the needs of the users visiting the site and optimizing the workflow of those maintaining it.

This blog was posted by Anne Lentino on June 24.
Anne Lentino

About the Author

Anne Lentino

Anne, as a Product Owner, enjoys the opportunity to learn about her clients' diverse fields of expertise. She consistently advocates to make the best products to support each client's growing business, while keeping workflow efficiency and creativity top of mind.

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