How Long Will Drupal 7 Be Supported? The Answer Just Changed.

On Feb. 23, 2022, the Drupal Security Team announced Drupal 7’s end-of-life would be extended from Nov. 1, 2022, to Nov. 1, 2023. The Security Team also said they would revisit the end-of-life date for Drupal 7 once again in July 2023, meaning Drupal 7 community support could be extended as far as Nov. 1, 2024.

You’re a Drupal 7 Site Owner. What Do You Do Now?

First, if you’re a Drupal 7 site owner that was staring at that November 2022 end-of-life date in fear, breathe a sigh of relief. Your timeline is no longer crunched – at least not by the end-of-life date.

For the past three years, site owners have been preparing for Drupal 7’s end-of-life.

  1. Some site owners have opted to use the Drupal 7 end-of-life as a reason to complete a long-awaited website overhaul.
  2. Others – more satisfied with their sites – have sought to migrate their sites “as-is” from Drupal 7 to another platform.
  3. And then there’s a third group – site owners that may have felt rushed to complete a new website build.

When your timeline is crunched, you may look to cut corners. But now, if you’re a Drupal 7 site owner, you can slow down and turn your attention back to quality.

UX Research: Key to the Discovery Process

When faced with a hard deadline, site owners may choose to shorten the research and discovery phase. This is understandable – organizations need secure, functional websites first and foremost.

But UX research is a critical part of any website project. A complete discovery process informs…

  • The “who” – the expectations and needs of the users who visit the website.
  • The “what” – the content that needs to be included and the functionality that is essential.
  • The “where” – the locations in which the website will meet the user, from the type of device to where they are in their customer journey.
  • The “why” – the ways in which the website fits into an organization’s larger strategy.
  • The “how” – the tactics employed that will enable the website to drive business goals, whether that means sales, requests for information, or engagement.

Now that the Drupal 7 end-of-life date has been extended, site owners can complete a comprehensive research and discovery phase. You may be surprised by what your users really need from your organization’s web presence.

A Stretched Version of Minimally Viable

We always advocate for prioritizing new enhancements to a website to ensure the delivery of a minimum viable product at launch. But when faced with a hard deadline, the definition of “minimally viable” can be stretched to the point where the website cannot realistically meet user needs. You’ll end up with a lot of the “minimal” and little to none of the “viable.”

If you’re a Drupal 7 site owner, take a look at your research notes or post-launch backlog to pull out items that can now be completed. Then, compare those items against any reports or strategy documents you may have produced during the project’s lifecycle.

If a new website feature meets user expectations, drives business goals, and positions your organization to compete now and in the future, add it to your definition of a minimally viable product.

To Craft the Website You Want, First Get Rid of Everything You Don't

“Migrate all of it.”

This can be the gut reaction to the question of “what content should and should not come over to your new website?” It is the easiest answer when facing a tight timeline – instead of completing a content inventory and auditing all content on the site, site owners bring everything over. That way, nothing gets missed.

However, this can create a number of problems for the long-term maintenance of the website. An older site’s content could:

  • Not fit one-to-one within a new website’s design.
  • Be no longer relevant to users.
  • Be no longer on-brand.

Additionally, it’s always easier to create new content than to retire old content. A website’s sitemap can start to feel like the junk drawer of a dresser, filled with items long past their use from years or even decades ago.

A website redesign provides a great opportunity to audit existing content and delete non-essential items. A timeline extension can give your organization the time it needs to make the right content choices.

Time Is Back On Your Side. So Is Sandstorm.

Now that time is on your side once more, we encourage you to add more best-practice steps into your website overhaul project:

  • Talk to your users – and understand their needs.
  • Explore exciting new features – and add functionality that drives business goals.
  • Audit your content – and cut what’s no longer needed.
  • Schedule a new launch date – one that relieves the pressure on you and your team.

Since 1998, Sandstorm has helped clients across industries do just that. Whether you’re just starting to evaluate your website needs or want to ensure you’re adhering to required accessibility standards, we’re here to help. Connect with us today.

David Boocock a light skinned male with red hair and red facial hair wearing a black shirt on a white background
David Boocock

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