The Prairie Initiative – A Social Architecture Project for Drupal.org

I’m excited to be making a start on my current contribution to Drupal which to help drive a project code named Prairie. This is a project with two big, ambitious goals:

1. to improve the collaboration tools on Drupal.org so that we can do more and better work together and make Drupal better, faster.

2. to make Drupal.org a better and easier place to become a contributor – to make it less intimidating to people who want to get started contributing to Drupal, coders and non-coders. To increase the number of Drupal.org members who are actively contributing and to recognise a wider range of contributions.

This started out as a ‘Redesign the Issue Queue’ core conversation at Drupalcon in Chicago, but rapidly increased in scope so that it’s now really more accurately described as a Social Architecture project.

For those amongst us who are actively contributing Drupallers, comfortable with the Drupal Groups infrastructure, there’s a group you can join and contribute to.

For those who find the Groups Infrastructure perplexing or just plain frustrating (and you can count me among that number – you’ll find Groups Usability as part of the scope for this project), I’m going to try to keep you up to speed here and I’m experimenting with sharing some screenshots that we can annotate together… we’ll see how well that works – at any rate, I do want to try to open the discussion up outside of the Groups infrastructure so that we’re not just a bunch of insiders talking amongst ourselves.

The issue page – Designing a tool to fit the task

So the first thing I’d love for you to give some attention to are some initial ideas on redesigning the Issue template.

The ideas in this rough wireframe draw heavily from Quora and Open Ideo and try to address opportunities for us to make our discussion more comprehensible and focussed, as well as to make sure that they move through the stages of problem solving (possibly with custom designed interfaces for the specific requirements of each phase) to make it easier to ‘call in the troops’ from the various disciplines when they’re required and also to create spaces that are more appropriate for each discipline in turn (rather than all trying to squash our requirements into the one UI). It also introduces the concept of collaboratively naming an issue and providing a summary for it.

You can take a look and provide your feedback on this wireframe and these ideas here (or in the group if you prefer).

For those who are wondering, no, I’m not being paid to do this work. I’m a freelancer, so I have to take time off consulting, playing with my kids or sleeping to do this work.

I’d happily take sponsorship to do so though, if you think the work is important enough for me to be able to dedicate more of my time to working on it. Let me know if you’re interested.

4 Responses to “The Prairie Initiative – A Social Architecture Project for Drupal.org”

  1. dalin March 29, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    THIS IS SO AWESOME!

    Working in the issue queue is really tough. These ideas would make things a lot better.

  2. Amitai March 29, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    > you’ll find Groups Usability as part of the scope for this project

    I think it would be interesting if some of the UX input you can share in the OG issue queue, and so we can make OG7 a more user friendly module.

    • Leisa Reichelt March 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      totally. In fact, I’m going to go find that issue queue right now. I have a list already :)

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