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String Theory: Are we Building Usable Interfaces or a Tower of Babble?

1:15pm-2:15pm Birds of a Feather
Epic Room
Theming, Design, Usability

Ever wonder why Drupal administrative interfaces can be hard to understand? Have you ever spent time staring blankly at the descriptive text on an admin page and wondered “What the heck is it trying to tell me?”

Perhaps you're a module developer who gets stage fright when using the t() function? Or perhaps you're a module developer who should get stage fright when using the t() function.

If any of those scenarios resonate with you, check out this session.

In a guided tour of some typical Drupal administrative User Interfaces and their back end code, usability specialist Michael Keara will examine the effectiveness of the 'User Narrative' and explain how it is compromised by current practices in Drupal development. He will also look at alternative solutions including practices that are commonly used in the commercial software industry.

This presentation, aimed at improving understanding between developers and end users, will touch on some technical elements in order to explain them to non-technical people.

Michael Keara, CEO of The User Advocate Group (, @useradvocate), is a usability specialist and also a software developer. He has over 15 years experience designing and building commercial desktop software and 3 years developing Drupal applications.