Back in the old days, when we didn't have the Group module to “save the say”, whenever we needed to set up a certain user group hierarchy and a more or less intricate structure of group roles, with different levels of permission and different types of content to be accessed by each one of these groups, we used to call the Organic Group module for “help”. It used to be the one and only solution to our “challenge” actually. Yet, no matter how familiarized we already are with it, we still cannot ignore its “flaws” and “aspects that could be improved” (that we'll be tackling in this post in a bit). And so, with an enhanced Drupal site builder's and developers' experience in mind and due to the context of a slightly flawed Organic Groups module, the Group module was built! A so much more than just an “alternative”: a soon to be the norm whenever developers deal with user groups on Drupal social sites. Now let's give you some key arguments for why you should consider using it for creating and managing user communities on your website and some guidance on how to harness its full power: First of all: Which Are The Contexts of Use for the Group Module? Which are those “scenarios” that call for the creation of user groups with shared content and shared permissions precisely to that specific content? Let us point out some of the most common ones: 1. a (high) education Drupal website, where a professor having an admin role, too, can group his own students into communities and share certain resources, certain information with them exclusively while keeping them hidden from the other visitors on the site 2. a library with multiple branches, where the staff from a physical location is given access to specific dedicated sections and, therefore, to specific content only on the library's website 3. a speaker's website where he/she also organized online conferences and needs to group the participant and grant them (paid or not) access to informative content and resources What Makes It a Better Alternative to The Organic Groups Module? You can't ignore the Organic Groups module's “sore points”, even if it might have turned into a “familiar” tool to use each time time you're in a “setting up granular permission” type of situation: it hasn't always leveraged Drupal's new functionalities in core it doesn't “spoil” us with API And now, let's “dig up” all those improvements brought to the Group module which easily turn it from “just” an alternative into a replacement module for Organic Groups: 1. Better Structured Data “Tempting flexibility”, that's how we could call this improvement. Remember how in the Organic Groups module everything was intertwined, interconnected? User groups had to be attached to a node or a taxonomy term or to a... Well, not anymore! In the Group module, each user community is an “independent” entity and this is where the “tempting flexibility” derives from. 2. A More Intuitive UI And this is, no doubt, one of the Group module's most heavy weighting improvements. We're talking about Drupal after all, with a “culture of empowerment”, so a clear and super intuitive UX was a must! Practically you'll be provided with everything you'll need to use, served to you right on a “silver plate”: once you've installed the module, simply look for the “Group” section “neighboring” the “People” section! Your admin toolbar will provide you with all the tabs/options that you need to navigate through and select from. Therefore, don't expect a whole “marathon” of tabs and pages and sub-tabs that you would need to swim through for configuring your Drupal 8 site's user groups! A simple UI grants you a “fewer clicks” experience! 3. It Provides Group Roles to Choose From and Assign To It's a “new” concept that this Drupal 8 module introduces. Well, almost new, for these roles are very similar to Drupal's user roles and their functionality is the same. Except that they're applied to group types instead (not to individual users)! They fall into 3 types: member: a member of the user group with a user account on the website, too outsider: not a member of that specific “community”, yet he/she has an account on the website anonymous: has no user account on the given website 4. Site builders Can Define Permission Sets for Each Type of User Group Basically, this functionality that the Group module provides site builders with eliminates the risk of group members “not playing fair”. The set of permissions can be configured and then assigned to each group instance. 5. An Improved Developer Experience The Group module in Drupal 8 “spoils” Drupal developers with a well-documented code.This way they get quickly familiarized with it and do the right tweaks for extending the module's functionality. And now speaking of its extensibility feature, we have some really good news /spoiler alerts for you: you get the Group Node module, too, out-of-the-box, once you install Group in Drupal 8; this enables you to quickly add your nodes and grant access to that specific private content exclusively to the members of the group that you will have created it “plays well” with other Drupal 8 modules, too thanks to its plugin system, it turns the writing of a module into a matter of just a few lines of code; developers get to easily enhance its functionality How to Use the Group Module in Drupal 8? The whole step-by-step process, from the very first step, where you enable the module itself (a 3-in-1 module, actually), to the very last one, where you add your groups, is very well detailed HERE. What tabs to click on, what drop-down menus to unfold and selections to make, it's all there. So, we won't go on rephrasing the whole tutorial in this post, since you'll find all the steps (screenshots there included) that you'll need to complete explained there: you install and enable your module you set up your group types (for instance: content editors, publishers, content creators, interns) you link group types to content types, too you pick groups from the group types that you will have created as step 1 and populate them with members There are a couple of key aspects of this Group module installation, enabling and properly configuring process that we'd like to draw your attention to: once you get started with the installation, you'll be “warned” that you need to rebuild your permissions you get to create custom fields for each one of your group types (it's you who'll decide what personalized content goes there: that specific user community's logo, its location, etc.) And that's it! You can now step into and enjoy a new era of user groups creating and granular permission granting made easy! Have you tried the Group module on your Drupal 8 site yet?
Adrian Ababei / Jun 08'2017
Adrian Ababei / Jun 06'2017
It's time you embraced the DATA! That's if you still want a leads-generating website and not just a “pretty painting on a wall”, in an art gallery, that, well, everyone's briefly looking at, but no one's buying! The days of aesthetics' “dictatorship” and of the instincts and personal preferences-based decisions are over. It's time you leveled up and took ONLY smart, data-driven web design decision within your organization! It's data, cold facts and numbers that will hep you get your website from “just pretty” to “both effective and pretty”. It's data, again, that will speed up the design decisions making within your organization and help you launch your Drupal site on time and on budget. It will filter all your options down to those that are numbers-backed-up. Those that you can then leverage for ensuring a hassle-free, enjoyable user experience on your website. And now, let us point out to you the main questions that you should be asking yourself and the key mindsets that you should adopt once you engage in a data-based website designing process. 1. Which Are The Specific Results That Your Website Should Target? Do you want to attract more subscribers via your website? Or maybe you want to convert your website visitors into customers? Or you aim, instead, for social media sharing or for the downloading of the materials that you're offering on your website? In other words: which is your specific conversion goal? The one that you're trying to achieve via your website? It's the answer to this basic question that will make the keystone of your whole web design strategy! 2. Move the Spotlight From Your Business Goals to The User's Tasks First of all, let's get one aspect straight: you are not your website's target user! Therefore, all the data-driven web design decisions that you will make should target the “real” user's needs, pain points and expectations and not yours, as a company! Now, speaking of expectations, in web design we prefer to call them “user tasks”. The tasks that your website visitors need to complete (to make a booking, to buy a product, to subscribe to a newsletter, to read blog posts etc.) Your “job”, as the “entity” behind the “front store”, which is your Drupal site, is to make carrying out these user tasks as effortlessly as possible: design with user experience in mind stick to the generally-accepted design conventions, thus creating a sense of familiarity And it's precisely on those pages on your site where their tasks and your business goals, as an organization, intersect, that your main sources of conversions will be (let's say subscriptions: they can be both something the users need to do, some filling-in forms tasks, and your objective as the website owner, as well) 3. Set Up Your Data-Collecting Tasks, a Key Step in a Data-Driven Web Design “OK, OK, I get it; I need to make data-based web decisions only, but how do I collect that usable, key data?” you might ask yourself. Glad you asked, actually! Here are some examples of tests you could run and to-do tasks you could set up and assign to different members of your Drupal team: identify your users' current pain points, determine the causes why you're losing conversions on your website, it's own weak points (run some surveys, rely on your customer service team's gathered feedback from your clients etc.) analyze your competitors' own sites, see what works and what doesn't in your own industry turn Facebook Audience Insights into a powerful tool for getting to know your users better try identifying the reasons why your users won't convert: find what the key differences are between your visitors and your customers 4. Make Empathy-Driven Design Decisions Welcome everyone on your website! Users with disabilities here included! Especially since Drupal makes it so simple for you to meet the web accessibility standards. Therefore, you have no excuse left for refusing to empathize with your users and, this way, for knowingly refusing to achieve your conversion goal. 5. Guarantee Your User a “Painless” Visit And by “painless” we actually refer to common-sense design “rules” that are constantly being broken by organizations, on their websites, for the sake of innovation. Remember: when aesthetics interferes with website usability, it quickly turns into a “trap”! Don't fall into it! Now here are those “common sense rules” that we were referring to: always choose context-sensitive icons with meaning (no need to demand your users to “solve mini-puzzles” for figuring out what action each icon triggers) resist the temptation of breaking the tried & true conventions ensuring usability on your website (place your shopping cart, your sing in button, your navigation bar and all the other key elements on your web pages precisely where your visitor's used to finding them) always “bid on” high contrast for your written content guide them through the steps of their tasks with the help of gestural interactions We're more than sure that these web design conventions are nothing new to you. Nevertheless, what we're trying to point out by enlisting them here is that: you should never compromise usability for the sake of innovation, of breaking the norms! Serve your users' needs of usability first and impress them later! 6. Keep Key Information Above the Fold Although some might argue and feel like going against this convention, keeping the top benefits, the key information above the fold still is a more than relevant “rule”. You might be thinking that not revealing your products'/services' “luring” benefits from the very beginning builds up suspense, yet you'd better handle your visitors' time with great caution. The more time you ask them to invest in the visit on your website, the fewer your chances to convince them to convert will get. To sum up: display all your main benefits, your CTA elements and all the other crucial information above the fold. The deeper you'll bury them, the better you'll hide them from your users, “bidding” on suspense, the more frustrated they'll get. 7. Go for an Ideal Number of Choices, A Key Rule in Data-Driven Web Design And by “ideal” we mean that too many options could get their decisions making process way too cumbersome and challenging. While too few will only confuse your users and make them feel not properly cared for and attended to. How do you achieve this ideal number of choices? Well, here are some simple tips you can easily put into practice: create filters that will help them “swim through” the whole set of options, but make sure you make them as specific as possible and that you add them to the most popular (and therefore the choices-packed ones, too) categories on your site opt for simple, straightforward categories structure them in a hierarchy by assigning priorities 8. Tailor A Personalized Experience for Each One of Your Users Is there any point in stressing out that we're living in a personalization-dominated digital world? Users already expect you to “orchestrate” some perfectly tailored experiences for them on your website, so... there's no hiding from this trend anymore. How do you comply with it while ensuring that all this effort will translate into conversions? Well, by studying your visitors and collecting a whole load of key data regarding their browsing histories on your website, regarding their geolocation, their purchasing histories etc. Next, you get to leverage all that data for crafting your personalized content (in the format of personalized recommendations) for each one of them. It's not going to be a quick and easy process, we won't hide this from you, yet a personalized content marketing strategy still remains THE most effective one. If Amazon keeps using personalized content for boosting their sales, then it must be (still) working, right? 9.Leverage The Power of Video Content on Your Website We won't be focusing on this aspect, since we've already dedicated it a two-parts blog post on this site. Using video content on your Drupal site is not even a matter of a “web design trend”, but a data-driven web design decision. It's plain, "cold" data that supports the usage of video content. 10.Use Social Proof For Building Credibility Testimonials, previous partnering companies' logos, an “impressive” number of sign ups, customer reviews, these all make the type of data that the user, too, collects before he makes his own decision while on your website. So, make sure you have them all there, displayed and visible enough for your users to easily spot them. This type of social proof is the type of credibility evidences that your users expect to see on your website! 11. Constantly Monitor Your Data and Make The Due Adjustments So you've launched your website, created based on data-driven web design decisions only. What now? Well, now you get back to work and you collect even more data! Site monitoring never ends and designing your website's a continuous process. Therefore, always be ready to make some small adjustments here and there if the data you'll collect via GoogleAnalytics, Hotjar or via any other business intelligence tool that you prefer indicates that you should: monitor your users' clicks and scroll behavior leverage all the information that the heat mapping process delivers you and make the right changes on your Drupal site How about you? Have you already incorporated and turned data into a key component of the web designing processes within your organization?
Adrian Ababei / Jun 01'2017
And we're back, as promised, with more types of highly effective types of video content that you should be using on your Drupal site and which work best at specific stages of your potential customer's journey. 3. “About Us” Videos Or “culture captures” or “”culture videos”, whichever term prefer, this type of video content's role is not exclusively that of recruiting new people. You'd be surprised of how many visitors, with no intention of getting themselves hired into your organization, are accessing your About page on you Drupal site right now! They want to know the team behind your website's front store, the team behind your products/services. If, in the previous stage of your customers' journey you've managed to stir their curiosity and to win their trust, at this point it's vital that you... make them LIKE you. And you can easily do this via an About Us video. It's, by far, one of the most effective types of video content. One that showcases your brand's values, the culture and personalities of your team. If they manage to make themselves “likeable”, you'll succeed to speeding up the whole process of turning a visitor into a future customer. Remember what we've talked about it the first part of this blog post: “People don't buy “just” products/services. People buy the shared values that come along with a particular brand's services/products!” In other words: make yourself LIKEABLE. And by “yourself”, we do mean both your brand and your team, as well! 4. Testimonial Videos (or “Case Studies”) So, by now you've checked “trust” and “likeability” off your list. At this point in your customer's journey it's time to focus on conveying a sense of AUTHENTICITY, too! You're at a one-step distance from turning your website visitor into a customer and this very last step should be tackled with great care! It's the step where your potential customer looks for recommendations, for testimonials coming from real people, other than members of your team. For “real stories” where your product/service plays a key part. And even though your visitors might not personally know the “testifier”, he/she still remains a “real person” for them. This “detail”, combined with the video's capability, as a medium, to easily transmit human emotions, the impact that your product had on the speaker's life, make the surest “recipe” for building an aura of authenticity around your brand. Here's a testimonial video example that we've hand picked for you: Types of Video Content for The Decision-Making Stage of The Customer's Journey This is the step of your website visitor's shopping experience where he/she has already identified what his problem/need is, has already selected the best solution for solving it and now's looking for the right “solutions provider”. 1. Personalized Videos (or One-to-One Messages) We are living in the age of hyper-personalization, no doubt about that! Of personalized content! Now if to this “huge wave” of creating perfectly tailored user experiences you add the one of video content, the result can't be but a highly effective tool for you to use on your Drupal website! Your potential customer will feel cared about and he/she'll experience pretty much the same feeling that we all experience (if we still have the chance) when we go to our favorite barber's shop or hair salon and the barber/hair stylist knows our names, our preferences and dislikes to the slightest details. We don't have to repeat them each and every time to go there. Not to mention that a personalized piece of content, once transposed into a video, will instantly get much more “impactful”, it will feel much more... real. 2. Demo/Instructional Videos It's time to “grow” those seeds of trust that you've (hopefully) started to plant, through multiple types of video content, from the very beginning of your customer's journey. How? By using an instructional video! It's the type of video content that not only that will emphasize your product's functionality, but will reassure them (your future customers) that you won't forget all about them once they've made their purchase. That, whatever difficulties they may face when using your product/service, this instructional video, which is part of your whole reliable customer service strategy, will be at their full disposal. In this respect, here's a demo video from IKEA “training” both the potential and the “already a” buyer how to assembly one of their products: 3. FAQ Videos Instead of filling in your FAQ page with a whole list of possible questions-answers pairs, how about trying “filmed answers”? There's no “mystery” around this type of video content's effectiveness, if you come to think about it. Your future customers will get that powerful feeling that the answers have been tailored especially for them. That the person showing up in those quick videos is addressing them and them only. And you can't underestimate the power of “personal touch” that FAQ videos get enriched with: Here's an example of one FAQ video taken from an entire “collection” of filmed answers to customers' anticipated questions: Types of Video Content For The Retention Stage of Your Customer's Journey In fact, it's just "one type" of video content that we've selected to talk to you about in this section: the "Thank You" video! Congratulations! You've just succeeded to turn your potential customer into a... customer! “Now what?” you might ask yourself! Well, now you focus on crafting another type of video content. One that will turn your (now a ) customer into... a customer loyal to you brand! Thank You Videos This is the true role of a “thank you” video content! It's your chance to convey positive energy. To express your gratitude to your customer for having trusted you, your products/services and to ensure that he/she will remain loyal to your brand. You could also see this type of video content as a “reminder”: it reminds your customers why they chose your brand in the first place. Why they LIKED you. Here's an example: THE END! This is our list including types of video content to use on your Drupal site (as well as in your emails, on social media etc.) suitable for each stage of your potential customer's journey. Does your current content marketing strategy include any video content? Are there types that we haven't included in our two blog posts on this topic and which you've found to be of a tremendous help speeding up the whole process of turning website visitors into customers?
Content is no longer king: video content is! And getting ourselves engaged in a long chat around the importance of video content, about how it completely reshaped the digital landscape and companies' content marketing strategies is as relevant as chatting about the sun's vital role in our lives.These days the need for creating video content has evolved into a need for crafting the most suitable types of video content to integrate in each stage of your potential buyer's journey. Effectively integrating this type of content into your digital marketing strategy and adapting it to each one of its key components, now this is the “puzzle” that you should strive to solve these days! “Just” video content, with no deep thought about the context of your customers' journey won't get you too far. And you should consider context-adaptability, if you give enough credit to all the digital marketing “gurus” talking about the future of content marketing. Judging by their content marketing predictions, it will get increasingly challenging “There’ll be fewer winners with much bigger jackpots” ( Larry Kim, Wordstream). Now let's get to the “core” of today's post and reveal to you the types of video content that you should consider using on your site: Types of Video Content for The Beginning of Your Customer's Journey It's that step of your website visitors' journey where they have already experienced a problem, where they do “sense” a certain need, but they can't quite identify it yet. And it's your “job” to help them put a name on it. 1. Video Documentaries This type of video content is a “newcomer” and you should consider being an early adopter since its potential in turning prospects into customers loyal to your brand is huge. Here's why: its enhances its educational/informational role with its emotion-targeting, storytelling side its highlights particular (otherwise banal) features of a product/service and with the help of storytelling (it's precisely the stories that these product/service features get “wrapped in” that make all the difference) and stunning imagery it succeeds to intrigue and captivate the watcher its makes a wonderful “tool” for you to portray your brand as a leader in your market (carefully craft the story behind it!) and to reinforce the values of your brand To exemplify this type of video content, here's a remarkably effective video documentary from Patagonia! They succeed to inform their audience about their products' top features through a highly compelling documentary-like story that sticks: 2. Brand Films Branding plays a key role in 2017's digital marketing context, too. Successful brand stories continue to be the decisive factors that turn visitors into fans/followers (and ultimately into customers). And what better medium to use for getting your engaging story across to your audience, for getting them familiarized with your brand's values and mission, than video, right? And so, brand stories and videos “gave birth” to this type of highly effective promotional videos: brand films. People don't buy “just” products/services. People buy the shared values that come along with a particular brand's services, products! And if you manage to master the video's toolbox of visuals, storytelling and sound for portraying your brand as one that they can easily resonate with (while, of course, you're discreetly showcasing your services/products' top features and benefits), you'll manage to banish most of their doubts. 3. How To's and Whiteboards (or ChalkBoards) Remember that we're still at the very first stage of your customers' journey! Therefore, it's only logical that from all the types of video content available you should go for one that helps you win their trust. Illustrating your brand as a trustworthy one and, moreover, as an authority in its industry, is crucial for speeding things up. For giving your potential customer the right impulse to get to the next stage of his/her journey. And what better way to win trust and to portray your company as an expert in its field than through an educational/how to video/whiteboard type of video content? It delivers value they can leverage, expert advice free of charge, and it's a tremendous means for you to build trust. Now here are 2 tips, coming from our team here, at our web development company in Toronto, to consider when making your chalkboard video: make it short and simple, easy to “digest” add an entertaining, personal touch (no need to go for a monotonous, academic tone in order to share your knowledge as an expert) Now if you want to learn from the very best, those from MOZ, with their famous “Friday Whiteboard” series, definitely make THE best source of inspiration. They already are an authority in the “art” of educational video crafting: 4. Explainers or Explainer Animations Explainer videos make such effective overviews of the key problems that your product/service comes to solve for your customers! Whether you opt for an animated explainer or for a video explainer, it enables you to focus on presenting your product's features (rather than on your brand, like the other types of video content aforementioned), on putting them in the context of your customers' already identified needs and in relation to the solution that it delivers them. Here are just a few reasons why explainers make such an effective and handy tool for ensuring that your potential customers move on to the next step of their journey: they're centered around your website visitors' needs/problems that they need to solve they're quick overviews, succinct presentations of your products'/service's features they briefly present your product “in action” they make a handy tool for you to present your solution to your customers' “problems” they discreetly familiarize them with your brand's tone and values Types of Video Content for The Middle of Your Customer's Journey Your potential online shoppers have, by now, manged to put a name on their needs/problems. It's now that they move on to the next stage of their journey where they engage in research. They now start to scan through the available solutions to their problem! 1. Videos in Email It's such a handy, yet effective means for you to reinforce your brand. A large, eye-catching image and a “play” button might be the simplest way to engage with your potential customers. If you: add the surprise factor, too (since the “dull”, conventional emails are still the norm) to the equation then the win-win nature of this type of video content (you'll be simultaneously ensuring your brand a “top place” in their minds and “luring” them to come visit your site and check out other products, too) … you'll instantly get one of the most effective types of if video content that shouldn't miss from your content marketing strategy. 2. Product Videos This is such a powerful type of video content! What it does (if it's masterfully created, if it manages to trigger the need for sensory feedback) is no just present your product/service while it's being used, but making the watchers imagine them using that particular product. It's a “tool” that will help you “plant the seed of desire” in your video's watchers: visualizing themselves trying on your products will automatically make them want to turn this “vision” into reality. To be continued, in our next post, with other types of video content you should use...
“Little things done right matter”. And there's no point denying that you, too, consider the 404 error page on your website a “little thing”. Something not worth investing too much thought and creativity into, right? But what if you did focused on its UX? What if instead you managed to reduce the “shock” your users might experience when finding themselves stranded on your 404 Page not Found page? What if you turned this “accident” or “incident” (that you can't 100% avoid, it happens to all of us) into an opportunity to show them that you care about little things being done right? Especially when these neglected “details” involve their own time and can affect their experience on your Drupal site? A cleverly designed 404 error page will turn into a: surprise for your visitors opportunity for you to “show off” the (other) high quality content on your website an opportunity to build trust (showing them that you pay attention to such usually underestimated details involving them will no doubt pave your way to their loyalty for your brand) And now, without further ado, here's “the anatomy” of a cleverly crafted 404 page that won't drive users off your website from the very first second: 1. But First: How Do Users Land on Your 404 Error Page? As online users we've “wandered” on 404 pages a few times (at least) ourselves. As Drupal site owners/developers/designers we had to face this frustrating reality: our site users landed on this “no man's land” page on our websites. Links do break, pages get removed from our website, so “cracks” like these, where users risk to fall, do appear. The most common causes are: the user mistyped an URL the user clicked on a broken link the page he/she wanted to navigate to has been moved (yet the visitor has not been redirected to the right page) or even removed 2. Instead of Leaving Your User Stranded, Give Him/Her Some Directions No need to “punish” your website visitors for having landing on your 404 error page! They must be feeling confused or frustrated already! So, instead of making them feel as if they've just landed landed on a “stranded island” and simply leave them find they way out of there, how about throwing them some “ life rings”? How about giving them some suggestions on where to go next and thus keeping them on your website? Here are the most common solutions you could rely on for turning this opportunity (that they've accessed your site) from a potentially lost one (since they're on your 404 No Found Page after all and they risk to leave your website) into a regained one: make it super easy for them to reach your homepage (they might have landed on your site from another website, for instance); a visible link to your front page can do wonders. “tempt” them with links to the content on your site that you're most proud of (they could be links to the most frequented category pages on your site or to your most popular blog posts etc.) suggest them a couple of related products (if it's an e-commerce website that you own) or bestsellers in your attempt to determine them to continue to enjoy their shopping spree on your website consider including a menu on your 404 error page, one that would include several possible paths they could follow for reaching other parts of your website consider including an “issue reporting form” on this page In other words: there are plenty of quite basic and obvious “remedies” for helping your visitors find their way out of your 404 page, but not out of your website. Just put a little effort in finding the “rescue” paths that are most suitable for your audience and your site's particularities, too. 3. Throw Them a Life Ring: Add a Search Box To Your 404 Error Page Not Found And speaking of “life rings” to throw to your users, as you imagine them as being on a stranded island once on your 404 page, adding a search box (or even a sitemap) is such an efficient little “trick”! Again: don't “punish” them for having had the bad luck to land there! It happens to the very best of us! If it's your Drupal website's an old one, for instance, chance are that you removed some of its pages of redirected them. So, why not making it super easy for your visitors to just search for the pages they wanted to access in the first place? Although opinions can vary, we here at OPTASY still prefer this solution to that of automatically redirecting your user on a different page. Let him/her be the one to decide where to go next! 4. Make It Context-Sensitive And since we've used the “stranded island” expression twice already, the following “tip” for cleverly crafting your 404 error page is: don't make it look like a “stranded island”! That's right! Aim for consistency and make sure that this particular page, too, sticks to your website's overall design guidelines! Keep the same colors, fonts and style, making it look like a component of your website and not like “the black sheep” of your site. And, speaking of making your 404 error page not found “context-sensitive”, you should consider adapting its content the given context, too. For instance, let's say you have a visitor landing on this 404 page from one of the category pages on your Drupal website, while trying to access a particular category page that no longer exists. In this case you could consider placing a (or several) link to another one of your popular category pages. Adjusting your 404 error page to your site's particularities in terms of design and branding and to your users' search experience (what page your user was searching for, what page did he/she visited last before landing on your error page etc.) is crucial if you want to keep your visitors on your website! 5. Use Humor Cautiously: It Can Get Annoying and Outshine Functionality We do know that throwing in a bit of humor and adding some proofs of creativity is a huge trend in 404 error page design these days. Yet we advise you to handle humor with great caution! Especially when it risks to affect your page's overall functionality! First of all that no user will find it funny to have his/her time wasted as he/she has to wander on an error page. Secondly, turning their frustration/confusion into a joke will only amplify it! And here's a more than suggestive example of a highly “risky” usage of humor on a 404 error page: In other words: think twice next time you decide to just throw in a video starring a cute pet or to just put a “funny” drawing on your 404 error page with no explanation of why your visitor has landed there and where he/she can go next. Instead of aiming to make them smile, you'd better adopt a more practical approach: help them leave your error page while still continuing their journey on your website! And these are our suggestions for you on how to cleverly design a 404 error page that should keep your users on your website. How does the “anatomy” of an effectively design error page look in your opinion?
Adrian Ababei / May 26'2017
More functionality, more possibilities, right? Yet it can also lead to more complexities and more challenges that you need to face as you start harnessing it (the enhanced functionality!). For instance: Drupal's entire ecosystem of user roles and, implicitly, of permissions! On one hand it streamlines your efforts to put together an organizational infrastructure and a solid security policy within your enterprise, on the other hand: what do you do when you need to create role-specific user registration forms? Well, then you start your research work and dig into Drupal's heavy load of modules! Or you aim for efficiency instead! You “reap” the benefits of our own experience as a digital agency in Toronto and simply run through our here below selection of 3 modules that are up for the job. And here are these Drupal modules which, once combined into a powerful trio, will help you solve your “how to build a custom user registration page” puzzle: 1. Build Your Role-Specific User Registration Forms with Multiple Registration It's not for no reason that we've put this Drupal module on top of our list of “tools” that will help you build your role-specific user registration forms. This is the module that will be playing the leading role in your little “orchestra” of 3 modules fit for this “job”. Now let's find out what it does precisely: it enables you to create your custom user registration forms, adapted to the particularities of each one of the user roles currently existing on your Drupal site it allows you to add specific fields, fields that you don't want to enable for the “standard” or “general” registration forms, as well moreover, its functionality extends beyond the registration form: it empowers you to add fields to your “target” users' (having “special” user roles) edit pages, too; fields that you don't want to get displayed on their registration pages, as well. You can do that, too, once you start running this module at its full potential. How to install it: you install it (obviously) and once the installation's compete, you access your Roles page (admin/people/permissions/roles) once on your Roles page, you'll see that you're enabled to add a custom user registration form to each one of the user roles listed there; in other words: to create your role-specific user registration pages for “assigning” your registration pages to your “target” user roles, simply enter the pages' paths there Note: needless to mention that before you rush in to add your custom registration forms to specific user roles... you should first of all put together the hierarchy of user roles on your Drupal site. You should have your roles created BEFORE you start “attaching” them custom registration pages! If everything went well, it's here that you should be able to see all your role-specific user registration forms: admin/config/people/multiple_registration! Last but definitely not least: access the needed field settings form and “assign” it to your recently created custom registration page. 2. Registration Role With Approval You most definitely need to trigger this module's functionality if you (and we're pretty sure you do) need a “tool” helping you to determine which user roles needs your approval, as your Drupal site's admin. How does it work precisely? It's pretty straightforward: the user gets all the available user roles listed on his own registration form and gets to select the role he/she'd like to “play” on your site. If the selected role is listed as “needs admin's approval”, his account gets blocked until you, the admin, has checked his request and assigned him that specific user role. Maybe, let's say, you don't want any user, having any type of user role on your website, to instantly gain access to all information stored on your website. Therefore, being able to approve, beforehand, the requests for some of the “critical” roles, is a huge “empowerment”. A much needed tool to help you organize your whole “infrastructure” of user roles on your Drupal site, don't you think? How to install it: Start by copying the module folder to your Sites/All/Modules directory Next, enable it at Admin/Build/Modules Then navigate to Site Configuration -> Registration Role With Approval There you get to determine which user roles will get displayed on the users' registration forms and also (most importantly) you get to specify which ones of them need admin's approval before users can use them Save Once you log out and navigate to user/register, if your module installation process has run smoothly you should be able to see your Role checkbox list So, it looks like you've just added one more useful Drupal module to your list of “3 tools” that will help you build your role-specific user registration forms. 3. Profile2 Registration Path Why would you need a third module, as well, for the job? Well, because you don't want the same user registration form to be presented to two different user profile types from, from two different audiences (let's say that you have the “doctors” and “the visitors/patients” audiences, if it's a Drupal-powered health portal that you own). The solution to this “problem” is the Profile2 Registration Path module itself, which enables you to set unique registration paths for each Profile2 profile type. And it's these unique paths that make sure that the users registering via them will get precisely the fields corresponding to their own profile types. How to install it: Enable your module Navigate to Admin/Structure/Profiles for editing a profile type Once there, check the “Enable unique registration path” option Type an URL path for this profile type Save and log out and next check your [your-path]/register Key Features: You get automatically generated registration blocks for each profile type on your Drupal site Custom confirmation message once the user registration has been successfully completed You're enabled to either: build a distinct registration environment for each profile, with forgot password pages and separate login simply add a new registration tab to the already existing user path And there you have it: your “emergency kit” of Drupal modules to use when you need to create some role-specific user registration forms! Not only that you'll get to build the needed custom forms, themselves, but to add all kinds of “refinements”, as well, such as admin approval functionality and unique paths. You have "problems", we have solutions!
Adrian Ababei / May 19'2017
Adrian Ababei / May 18'2017
Of course that we all know “the middle way” is the safest path to follow and yet... it's not that easy to find it or to stick to it, right? How do you know how many choices to tempt your website users with? How can you tell when content becomes “too much content” or when the delivered information is discouragingly scarce? Striking a balance, when it comes to information density is, undoubtedly, the work of a “chemist”: pouring precisely the ideal dose so that the final “potion” is, indeed, useful to your users! There's no such thing as one-size-fits all principles to follow here. Yet, there still are some more-then-useful guidelines to consider when it comes to achieving the proper dosage of content to greet your visitors with on your Drupal site. Ready? Here they are: 1. Information Density DOES Have a Huge Impact on the Overall UX So, before we go any deeper into the whys and hows of keeping information density under control on your Drupal site, you should first acknowledge its high influence on: usability navigability user experience How come? Well, it's pretty obvious: the amount of content that you deliver via your website, to your users (taking the form of written content, images, color, controls, textures) will determine whether he/she will keep navigating or leave your site in frustration. Moderation is key, lest you want your heavy load of information to bog him/her down or the lack of information to drive him off your site! Always have the USER in mind wen you create your wireframes! Web design trends and movements should come second. 2. Information Clutter and the Paradox of Choice A whole collection of visually-striking images... attention-grabbing videos... multiple calls to action... testimonials... rates... recommended products... super long copy... and, in this overcrowded web page (for yes, this content, in all its forms, is displayed on a one single web page) “sprinkle” some, let's say, celebrity endorsements, too! Can you visualize this heavy-content page? Can you easily “digest” all that “virtual” content and effortlessly make your way through it? So, you get our point: always put yourself into your Drupal site visitors' shoes and always anticipate whether you risk to deliver excessive information, to offer them way too many choices. Which will automatically “paralyze” them, instead of engaging them. You'll end up confusing them! “Bombarding” your users with way too many options and too much visually-distracting information for them to “digest” will only result in a bad user experience. One of the possibly winning formulas: Headline + An Image + A Description + The Price +A Call to Action + Some Reviews Per Product. 3. Balancing Information Density: Tips and Tricks Now, before we go on with our list of tips and tricks, let us share with you a couple of key questions that will indicate you the right path to take for achieving... perfectly balanced information density: "What Is The Goal I Want to Achieve With this Web Page (Landing Page)?" "What Tasks Should My Drupal Site Visitor Carry Out?" "What Information Does He/She Need in Order to Complete These Tasks?" There! Once you have the answers to these 3 key question, you'll step on the good path to properly adjusting the amount of the information that you'll present on your website. And now, the promised tips and tricks for pulling off a reasonable information density: attention-grabbing call to action button persuasive, clear and concise call to action text clean and neat design with a strategic use of white space fluid, intuitive user flow and path to reaching your web page's goal visual hierarchy (masterfully use texture, color, white space to direct the user's eye where you want to guide his/her attention to) And since text without exemplifying images is like cake without frosting, take a look at this example of clean design and information structuring leading to zero ambiguity or paradox of choice: A few elements, that clearly communicate to the user which are the company's available services = good UX! 4. When Minimalism in Web Design Becomes a Pitfall Just because it's “trendy”, it doesn't mean that it's going to serve your site's goals of usability and navigability! Do keep this in mind when you decide to “declutter” and to overly simplify your Drupal site's design! Less sure is more, no doubt about that! Just make sure you don't turn “less” into “scarcely enough”! When in doubt, go for a “moderate minimalism” formula: An eye-catching headline + The value proposition + The description + The tagline + A concise and attention-grabbing call to action! And, as a golden rule: always consider the nature of your Drupal site, its audience and their expectations before you “blindly” adhere to one web design ideology or another. Needless to add that if it's a magazine's website that you're working on, adding just a few “teasing” lines of text on each page will greatly affect the UX. 5. And Yet: High Information Density's Not Always a No-No Surprised that we're actually suggesting you to go “against the tide”? In fact, we're just asking you to take some time to consider these possible good aspects of an information-heavy web page: users don't need to keep scrolling down for reaching the information they're looking for. It's all there, on the very same page! since it's in the users' habit now to almost unconsciously use the “Control+F” combo of keys to find the information they're searching for really fast, you'll be actually streamlining their quick on-page searches you'll create the impression of abundance and especially if it's a e-commerce Drupal site that you own/design, greeting your users with an entire collection of striking images, articles and items on promotion will undoubtedly give the impression of abundance (again: always adjust the information density to the very nature of your own site) In conclusion: what you should avoid, at all cost, is not really high information density, but poorly organized, crammed on-page content! "Clutter” will always discourage users. High information density is necessary for certain websites (news sites, for instance), so you can't afford risking to fall into the “pitfall” of minimalist design. And not delivering the content that your visitors land on your site for in the first place. Now speaking of efficiently structuring information on a web page, take a look at the example here below: although it's a content-heavy page, you can still fluidly “navigate” trough the displayed content! 6. How to Design for High Information Density Now that we've see that high information density is something you shouldn't avoid at all cost, given the nature of your own Drupal site (if it's precisely information that your users visit it for) and that poor alignment and information “clutter” is what you should stay away from, let's discover together how you can pull if off right by using some web design “tips and tricks”: cluster similar content: this way you'll manage to efficiently structure large amounts of information, “asking” your users to invest a lower amount of effort for reading and assimilating it go for a basic, “familiar” layout: when your web pages is “heavy on content”, the last thing you want is to “exploit” your users' attention with an overly complex, innovative layout. Keep it simple and go for a common one instead, one that all users will instantly understand: the standard horizontal area on top standing for the main navigation, a column on the left playing the role of a secondary navigation... rely on graphics for breaking up text-packed copy: font variations, pictures, graphic elements strategically “sprinkled” in your text will make it easier for users to “digest” it effectively use the white space on the page: and since white space is “gold” on a content-heavy web page, use it wisely for breaking your long passages of text into smaller, “airy” chunks use color for enhancing navigability and readability: using the same color for the same type of content will instantly make the entire information load on your web pages look more structured, more organized and... easier to follow. The mental effort that you'll challenge your users to invest will be significantly lower. So we've tackled issues of good alignment, effectively grouping content and all kinds of web design tricks for making a content-packed web page as little mentally exhausting for the user as possible. Now let us continue with a “bad example” for supporting our “pledge” for perfectly structured, organized content. Here it goes: Wrapping Up Moderate minimalism is the right path to follow! High information density is not always a bad thing, yet crammed, cluttered and poorly organized content is! When the nature of your website requires for a considerably heavy “load” of information to be delivered, rely on web design tips and tricks for breaking your content into smaller chunks and for efficiently organizing it! There are cases when high information density is definitely a no-no: when accessibility is a critical issue to consider when your site addresses a senior audience when your site is marketing/branding-focused and thus aiming to visually delight the users rather than delivering them their daily “dose” of information
Adrian Ababei / May 16'2017