Drupal Camp London 2019 on 1-3rd March was a great event - here's my take away notes from the sessions I went to.
Keynote with Rowan Merewood - Google
Rowan is a Developer Advocate for Google Chrome and the web.
Accessibility in UX Desing: How we redesigned The University of West London's website for everyone. - With James Genchi CTI Digital in Manchester.
- CTI Digital in Manchester work with a variety of non profits such as the Arts Council, Warchild etc.
- Recommended watching Inclusive: The Film
- Also quoted Margaret Mead; "Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." - a great thing to hold in mind whilst designing inclusively.
- Emphasised that inclusive design starts from the very start if the design process.
- 11 people in the UK are experiencing some form of disability, whether that be permanent, temporary or situational
To get to work with the redesign of the UWL website, a lot of research was carried out with users, including:
- Tree testing - this is also known as reverse card sorting. This is where a website is stripped of its visual layer and just the mapped navigation is presented to the test subjects. It provides a way to measure how well users can find items in the navigation.
- Card sorting - asking users where they would place info them selves.
- Speaking to a potential university student with visual impairment
Some key discoveries from this research were that if a user found that the website had not taken accessibility in to account during the design of it's website, the rest of the university would be the same, i.e. it was assumed that no thought about accessibility would have been put in to the design of the accommodation and facilities. Users were also more likely to just give up on the site if they could not find information quickly enough.
3 months of quantitative and qualitative research were then worked into the design process.
Wireframes were then built based on the research - these were interactive. Usability tests were carried out to validate the wireframes.
It was found that if a video element was displayed on the left hand side of the browser it was often ignored due to the way eyes scan a page. It was also discovered that being very clear about the price of studying was a good strategy as it communicated transparency/trustworthy-ness to potential students.
Use alt tags - this is so that screen readers can be used
Pay attention to font sizes - there are no hard and fast rules for this but using 14 - 16px for body text is good practice.
Pay attention to contrast - use programmes like ‘Stark’ and the WCAG guidelines to make sure users are not hindered by the branding colours. Use colourblindness simulator tools to help assess this.
Use tools that slow the mouse down to test for mobility impairment
Use Lighthouse for accessibility audits
Talk to your users!! This is the only real way to fully understand their struggles rather than what the client assumes is the problem. Validate these with user interaction. I.e ask ‘What is the biggest problem?’
Pop up user testing is a good idea as you’re able to witness the user as they’re using the product, rather than relying on them to accurately communicate to you based on their memory of the experience.
James had not been to uni, so had to draw on with regards to the project but in a way this could also be a plus because it meant more research was warranted and he was designing from an unbiased standpoint.
Unis are complex and everyone wants to be on the front homepage. Sliders/carousels are really bad because they result in banner blindness, so it’s not good to appease all your clients by ‘solving’ the issue of everyone being featured on the front with one. People skip it because it looks like an advert.
MVP was in Drupal 8 - had to not be a jarring transition to the rest of the site in Drupal 7.
Question of multilanguage site came up - it was found that most students either spoke english or used the browser to translate the site, so this wasn’t too much of a show stopper. International students also had the same needs as UK based students for what they needed to see on the site.
The site was designed mobile first, but actually research suggested that the split between mobile and laptop browser use was 50/50 in this case - possibly because students were comparing different unis along side each other other and it is a big decision to make via your phone!
This was a really useful talk because it was great to hear about the findings from all the user research and the challenges the project brought up. There were some problems with having the site split between drupal 7 and MVP in drupal 8 which I can sympathise with as we had the same problem at the PA for a while!
This has also made me think more about doing a pop up style qualitative research area at the Convergence this year to get some real time user experience and feedback regarding the PA websites and membership area.
Workflow in distributed Drupal agency grzegorz.bartman
State of Layout Management in Drupal - digitony
CSS battle - Flexbox vs Grid - surbhig
Keynote with Preston So - Decoupling drupal
Preston So is an innovation lead, researcher, speaker and author of Decoupled Drupal in Practice (Apress, 2018).
Droopler distribution - How can you save even 100 man-days during development of a new website with Drupal
To be honest this one was a bit over my head! But started to explain the concept of components to me, which is useful.