The redesign of

January 1, 2009 / Like the WordPress team, Mark Boulton’s group is demonstrating the effectiveness of community design.

[Drupal Redesign on Twitter]
@drupalredesign’s latest prototype update on Twitter

Mark Boulton and co are redesigning using a “community design” process similar to the one that Automattic is using with WordPress these days. I was skeptical about this at first, though the interface redesign in WordPress 2.7 came out pretty well, more horse than camel. Both groups seem to be making this approach work.

For the Drupal redesign Boulton’s team is being really systematic about it: they released a new design prototype every Thursday through October and November so that people could comment over the weekend through various feedback channels (mainly Drupal Groups, but also Flickr and Twitter). Boulton comments that:

Through the flaming, disagreements, and arguments are clear, actionable points, which we take forward to the next round. At first, I thought design by community would be as bad as design by committee. Lots of people, all wanted their say, mixing black with white and ending with grey. Not so.

The results are clear and observable in the prototypes. It’s good to see how much the most recent iteration emphasises utility over exposition of the product. Earlier versions read more like an advertisement which encourages evaluation of the various claims (thinking), while later versions look more like something you can get down and use, which encourages interaction and exploration (doing).

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