DrupalCamp NJ 2017

Partnering with Non-Drupal Designers

Or: Why can’t we all just get along?

Drupal's theme layer can be daunting to the uninitiated. What can go wrong when pixel-perfect visual designers and platform-agnostic front end coders meet Drupal developers?

  • The Drupal developer picks a base theme that resembles the design comp -- but not exactly. The project owner is disappointed because the design they signed off on is not what was built.
  • The Drupal developer slices design agency-supplied code into templates, but takes shortcuts to meet the deadline. The site launches on time and preserves the original markup -- but bugs emerge later because Drupal coding best practices were not always followed.
  • The Drupal developer creates a highly custom theme to replicate the design exactly, this time following Drupal best practices -- but development takes much longer than expected and the deadline is missed. The custom code is difficult for junior developers to maintain going forward.

Most of these challenges can be averted by setting realistic priorities, involving Drupal developers early in the design process, and working interactively. Some of the topics we will dive into include:

  • The trade-off between customization and ease of long-term maintenance; how to establish realistic acceptance criteria for both
  • Managing customer expectations around pixel-perfect design comps
  • When is using a base theme a good idea? When should you not start with a base theme?
  • The best phase in the design process to start building the site in Drupal
  • The pitfalls of lorem ipsum placeholder text and how to avoid them

Whether you’re working with a design agency or are a developer collaborating with designers in-house, we'll discuss best practices for integrating visual comps and flat code into Drupal. We will also share tactics for how designers and developers can work together most effectively.

This session is intended for developers, project managers, and beginning themers. We will not be diving deeply into code, but will be talking about Drupal 7 and 8 concepts at a high level.

Audience Level: 
Beginner (just starting, know basic terminology, content creation)
Intermediate (install and configure modules/themes)
Front End & Design

Attendees should be familiar with front end development concepts as well as steps needed in the web design process.

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