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LightSky: 14 Modules for Improving the Administrative Usability of your Drupal Site

Planet Drupal - Thu, 10/07/2014 - 21:57

Often times, Drupal gets a bad rap for usability. That’s because out of the box Drupal isn’t very user friendly. As with everything Drupal, it requires a few contributed modules in order to really make it shine. Below are a list of fourteen modules that you can add to your Drupal site to increase its usability. Let’s begin!

Views Bulk Operations - VBO is a module that allows you to execute bulk actions on views rows. The actions it comes with are pretty standard, but you can extend it using the Rules module or even roll your own if that’s your thing. This module allows for your site admins to be able to do things like mass delete nodes, mass publish/unpublish nodes, or even mass change the nodes author.

Admin Views - Admin Views is a module that replaces the stock administration screens with views. Why is this neat? You can add additional exposed filters to your users administration screens, or change which columns appear in order to help your site admins easily find the information they are looking for.

Draggable Views - Draggable Views is a module that allows your rows in a view to be reordered using the same javascript implementation that you find scattered about the Drupal admin (blocks, menu, etc).

Module Filter - Module Filter is a module that seeks to garner control over the unwieldy module listing page. It does this by adding a tab on the left hand side for each package, as well as one for showing the modules alphabetically. It also adds a textbox that you can search to quickly filter the module listing.

Autocomplete Deluxe - The Autocomplete Deluxe module replaces the default autocomplete element with the jQuery UI version making it much more user friendly than the default implementation.

Pathologic - The Pathologic module is an input filter which fixes image and link paths that would otherwise cause them to break. This is useful in situations where your site admins have content on both staging and live sites. Gone are the days of the live site pointing to the test site by accident or vice versa.

Custom Contextual Links - Contextual links was one of the features that our D6 -> D7 clients really seemed to love. One great usability improvement that you can make is to add a contextual link to a view (for example) that would allow them to quickly add the piece of content that corresponds to that view. Normally you’d add these custom contextual links through a set of hooks, but this module provides a nice UI to make it simple. 

Conditional Fields - The Conditional Fields module allows you to create fields that are dependent upon one another in order to be shown. One example of this would be to show a textarea of an admin (or user) selected “Other”. I added this module because it can be go a long way towards cleaning up administration screens when adding content types with lots of information.

Linkit - The Linkit module replaces the default CKEditor link icon with an autocomplete field that allows admins to easily drill down to the content they are looking to link to. We have a great write up on this module that you can find here.

Edit - Drupal 8 will ship with inline editing, and if you are too excited to wait, check out the Edit module. Edit module allows you to do just that, edit content in place. Note that you’ll need to use the CKEditor WYSIWYG if you want this to work on WYSIWYG fields.

Select2 - Like the autocomplete deluxe module above, the Select2 module replaces the standard select box with one that supports searching, remote data sets and infinite scrolling of results.

References Dialog - The References Dialog replaces all the standard reference fields with a dialog that allows them to add, edit and search for references. This can go a long way towards simplifying the administration workflow.

Content Menu - The Content Menu module adds the ability for administrators to be able to create pieces of content straight from the menu administration pages. When creating a piece of content, you have the ability to add a menu item, so it only makes sense that you can add a piece a content when adding a menu item.

Navbar - The Navbar module adds a mobile friendly navigation bar to the administration section of your website replacing the default toolbar which is non-responsive.

There you go. Fourteen modules to improve the authoring experience of your Drupal site. What do you think of the list? Are there any modules you would like to see added? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.

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