A zoom in JUX team and their work with a new Joomla admin UI with Cliff Pfeifer
Are you a JUX team member wannabe? Yes or Not yet, read these heartfelt sharing from Cliff Pfeifer. High dose of inspiration inside, I guarantee it.
Joomla User eXperience has been a big part of Joomla improvements. Since when Joomla acknowledged the importance of user experience, it has put UX on the frontier and that’s also the reason for the birth of JUX team back then in late 2011.
Today, I’m eager to share with you the story behind JUX team, what they are working on (Ptsssss! It’s a NEW JOOMLA ADMIN DASHBOARD and many cool things for community) and why you really (x10) should join this awesome team.
Let’s sit down and have a chat with the JUX team leader – Cliff Pfeifer.
A little bit about Cliff:
How does it feel working in JUX team?
Being part of the JUX team is inspiring. For me, it’s an incredible honor to lead the JUX team and have a say in the future of the Joomla community. It’s also challenging and a little scary as our community is counting on us to take Joomla into the future.
We face some difﬁcult challenges and there is a lot of pressure, but when I imagine the possibilities of success and think of all the people we can help it is well worth the effort.
What do you guys do?
Our job is to address the concerns of our users and make improvements in every area of the Joomla platform, so we do a little bit of everything. In my opinion, UX is where development, design, marketing and support all meet up. It’s up to us to bring it together in the easiest and most helpful way possible for all of our users.
In many ways, what we are doing is something that has never been done before in our community. Creating a UX process for a major CMS platform is not an easy task, and we never believed it would be easy, but it’s almost impossible to describe how complex it actually is.
There are countless details to consider and each of them presents a unique challenge to our team. Finding out how Joomla users all over the world use Joomla, and how we can improve it for everyone, is not a quick or easy process. We’re starting by building a foundation and creating a sustainable UX process we can use now and in the future.
What is JUX team currently working on?
Most of our work this year has been internal, such as building our process and our team. We are working on strategies, gathering resources and discovering what will work best for our community. Our team is relatively new and the scope of our work is massive, and it’s taken a considerable amount of effort to get it started.
Our public efforts this year have revolved around basic user research and ﬁnding ways to get users involved in the process. While our initial research is very basic, it is the ﬁrst time we as a community have reached out to users in this way, and they have responded well. We’re learning new things about our users, who they are and how they use Joomla. We’ve registered more than 500 new volunteers for future research efforts over the past few months, and we will be getting them more involved. User research, testing and analysis inside and outside our community is an ongoing focus for the JUX team.
Our largest and most important project is redesigning the Joomla administrator interface, which is an incredibly complex and challenging task. It’s not just about designing a new UI, it’s about improving overall workﬂow, accessibility and functionality through a new UI. A new Joomla 3 administrator template is in the early stages of research and planning, and this work will provide the foundation for the Joomla 4 interface. We feel it’s important to lay the groundwork for the Joomla 4 interface as soon as possible so the switch from J3 to J4 is as easy as possible for our users.
A new project I’m excited about is the concept of a new Joomla administrator dashboard. The dashboard screen is the ﬁrst screen new users see after installing Joomla, and it forms their ﬁrst impression of our platform.
I feel the current dashboard is not particularly useful, it’s confusing and it hurts us in more ways than it helps us. We’re missing a big opportunity to welcome new users to our community. Most of us don’t think of the Joomla dashboard as being important, and that’s how we got here, but there is a lot of psychology in this concept.
I believe a more useful and appealing dashboard will do wonders for onboarding. We want to keep new users coming back after the ﬁrst installation, as opposed to scaring them away. It also offers new opportunities to communicate with all of our users and provide tools to for our community and information our users will appreciate. This idea really got off the ground at JAB in Barcelona and we’ll be starting on it very soon.
These are just a few of the projects we’re working on, we’ll be sharing more details of our entire vision with the community over the next few months. We haven’t had much to show the community yet but that will change in the near future.
Is the main purpose of all work aimed at acquiring the new users for Joomla in the long term?
It is our goal to bring in new Joomla users and build our community, but we always have to consider how our changes will affect our current users and contributors.
Our current user base and contributors are the heart of our platform, we want to keep them involved and solve the challenges they face ﬁrst and foremost. I believe there is no downside to improving the UX in Joomla and we are starting with improving UX for our current users. If Joomla is easier for our current users, it is also easier for new users.
The more passionate our current users become about Joomla, the easier it becomes to improve the perceptions of Joomla within the larger CMS community. When people outside our community see what we can do with Joomla and how it can help them, they’ll want to use it and become involved.
Bringing in new users and building our community starts with us improving our platform. If we create solutions to our own problems, we’re also creating solutions for many other people around the world.
Could you please talk a little about the upcoming changes for Joomla user experience?
Joomla is already very powerful and ﬂexible, that is we why we love it, and we don’t want to change that. We want to bring the most useful features into the spotlight and remove some of the workﬂow complications.
We don’t necessarily need to change what Joomla does, it’s more about improving on what we already have. Many of Joomla’s core features are overlooked because they are complicated and difﬁcult to work with. I believe improving the interface is the key. If we can present Joomla in a more appealing way and simplify the workﬂow, our users will see what Joomla can really do and they will be able to do more with Joomla as a result.
Could you please picture your typical day working with JUX team and JUX related matters?
Our team is designed to be diverse and our work covers every aspect of our platform and community. From research, testing and analysis, to design, development, accessibility, security, onboarding, marketing and everything else. Since our team is relatively new, we’re still establishing ourselves within the larger Joomla community and ﬁnding how we can best work with everyone. We’re building a foundation for the future so much of what we’re doing right now is organization, planning and strategy.
We want to make improvements soon than later but we have many factors to consider in everything we do. Even the smallest change comes with a long list of considerations. Such as: languages, translations, documentation, backwards compatibility, code maintenance, 3rd party compatibility - just to name a few, there are many, many more aspects that we have to take into account with everything we do.
For me personally, I spend the majority of my time as a project manager dealing with all these details. My primary role is to manage the team, interact with other working groups and Joomla community leaders, as well as report progress to the community.
The administration alone is a full time job and I’m constantly searching for solutions to complicated logistical and communication challenges to help us work more effectively and efﬁciently. I believe once we build our foundation we’ll be able to make signiﬁcant and continual UX improvements to Joomla on a long term basis.
What is the reason for Joomla developers to join JUX team, in your opinion?
The JUX presents unique opportunities for contributors, it’s a chance to have a say in what Joomla is and what it will be. Our job is to take the Joomla platform to the next level and the work we do is shaping the future of Joomla.
It’s also an opportunity to help grow our community and have an impact on larger CMS and internet communities. There are countless Joomla users around the world and this is a chance make a difference on a global scale. We have an opportunity to change the way people use the internet and make the world a better place. Personally, I can’t think of anything better I could do with my time.
Joomla 4 is on the horizon and this is a great time to get involved. Our team will make an impact on the future of the Joomla platform sooner than later. We encourage anyone who wants to contribute to get involved, there are many different ways to help and we welcome everyone who wants to contribute to our team.
“Be the change you want to see”
Let’s get closer up inside our Joomla community! What story behind Joomla and other working groups do you want us to write about? Leave me your comments below.