Author UX - Known problems

By Bojhan on 12 Jun, 2012

A few people have asked me to share the UX-team list of issues around the content author experience. This list has been accumulated over the years, by testing the content creation screen in almost every usability study since 2008.

In general people expect a much richer user experience around content creation than Drupal offers, much of the functionality that people consider standard for a CMS is simply missing.

Most of these issues have relatively clear UX solutions, but lack the technical resources to actually happen. We found that this is one of those areas in core that although important, is not something that a lot of core contributors are excited to work on. This might change however if we are able to make a few large steps in this experience.

  • Previewing is a big part of creating content, and people are currently very confused by preview being shown in the back-end instead of front-end.
  • The meta tools we present users; menu, revisioning, authoring information are cumbersome and often result to conflicting mental models.
  • Text formats are still somewhat of a mystery to most of our users, they miss a WYSIWYG editor.
  • The lack of a common workflows like save as draft is a disappointment.
  • Tools for moderating content are almost non existent, our filters are hard to use and search is non existent.

All the issues below are ranked by priority.

Major issues

Normal issues

Unfiled issues

  • Add third way of grouping fields (title)
  • Preview per device/view mode separately.
  • Drag & drop files in upload field
  • Using hierarchical select for term selection
  • Add menu link to content preview
  • Revamp revision diff in core.


There are a couple more things we would really like to do for core, these are not issues but larger initiatives that might happen for Drupal 8. As it looks both Spark and the unofficial media initiative, might move a couple of these.

Content moderation becomes a true focus, in the authoring experience - by vastly improving the content listings. Adding smart filters and search capabilities.

Mobile publishing is still way too hard, we need to form a vision what this should be like and how we can make this happen.

WYSIWYG, an expectation by almost all our participants in usability tests. Adding this would probably be one of the single biggest gains for content creators.

Content staging, full support in core for both very simple workflows and more complex ones.
Media handling, adding an actual “media library” to core and able to handle a large variety of media files (video, docs, pdf’s, images, links).

Inline editing. Creating and editing not only on the content item level but also on the whole page level. Create content, Lay out pages.

Collaborative editing, being able to edit pages simultaneously with others.

This list is an inventory of what issues we follow and ideas we want to progress on for Drupal 8. If you feel we have missed out an important one, please let us know by updating the wiki or commenting here.


Is there no official issue for Autosave in the UX team? Or why is it not linked in the list of majors above?

Great thing to have this list around. Will help knowing what kind of things we need our JS to be ready for.

Thanks again Bojhan!

@Achton Surprisingly its mentioned in loads of issues, but we have no focused issue on it yet.

@nod_ In general I'd consider drag & drop one that influences many of these issues, other than that filtering of the page through facets - is a consistent usecase one for content moderation.

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