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Jul 29 2020
Jul 29
a laptop kept on a huge book and awomen sitting on the laptop


In this digital age, keeping the customers engaged with your brand is one of the most important parts of every business. Personalization has become so important that the companies that have been implementing it have been successful in the age of UX. It has now become a requirement.

Personalization refers to the process of using the information provided by the user to provide a personalized experience to them according to their needs and preferences. This helps you in making your customers feel heard and market the right product to the right person at the right time.

Why do we need to personalize?

Let’s not confuse personalization with customization. Personalization provides experience based on the information provided by the user whereas customization gives the users liberty to custom-make a product or service.

colorful graphs showing benefits of personalization Source: Semrush

When you go to a website, say for shopping or maybe just surfing and you realize that the app or the website is interacting with you. This makes you like the brand and go back to them every time you have a similar requirement. This will make you feel special and more connected to the brand.

Personalization is important because it creates a bond between the users and the brand and makes them loyal customers. If there is no personalized experience given to the users then the user might feel like he’s not being given much help from the brand even though it is.

While personalization can be a big hit for your brand, context factors also make a lot of difference. The device the customer is using, whether in the location the person is in or even the time of the day matters a lot in personalization.

Importance of personalized design

Personalization and design go hand in hand. If the UX of your brand is great and personalized for different kinds of users, you are good to go!

Let’s look at some of the best practices for Personalized UX Design

Show relevant recommendations

When providing personalized information, it is important to make sure that the information that you show the users is relevant and does not disturb the flow of the user experience. Many shopping applications show recommendations according to the search made by the users. This saves the user time and helps the user purchase more valuable.

Myntra shows trending products to let the users know what is trending currently. This is a different way of recommending products.

myntra shopping page


Understand the interests

When we talk about personalized experiences, Netflix is a well-known player in the market. Netflix provides a personalized experience to its customers by asking for customers’ preferences once they sign up. The first thing that you will observe on the home page is that the content is adjusted according to your interests.

netflix recommendations


Dynamic personalization

This practice uses algorithms to create an image of their potential customers, their buying habits, and their needs, depending upon factors like demographics, behavior, geolocation, and device.

Combining design with emotion

Combining design with emotion creates a magical personalized experience. To create trust between a brand and its customers, it is important to get the required information from the user and use it to create a design that develops a positive emotional reaction from the user.

It should be taken into consideration that the design should not invade the privacy of the users. This is a major turn off and is not liked by the customers. 

Navigation in personalisation

Navigational personalization means showing products that have been searched by the user but left without purchasing. You can show the products and similar products on the home page or somewhere it is visible to the user when they visit your page next time.

I searched for watches on Amazon and left without purchasing. Now when I visited Amazon again, it shows different kinds of watches under ‘items from popular brands’.

Amazon showing watch suggestions to buy


Technical design in personalization

Technical design is another practice that guides your technology decision towards a valuable personalized experience. There are two things that you need to consider: The kind of data that you collect from the users and the tactics that need to be implemented to this data.

Here’s a quick mapping of tactics with respect to customer volume and session time:

popular personalization tactics shown with red colored dots on a blue backgroundSource: A List Apart

To implement such a technical design, different customer data platforms and digital experience platforms can be used. Customer data platforms have become a popular technology that unveils the value of market segmentation and personalisation at scale. Digital experience platforms (DXP) are designed to engage users by building websites rapidly. If you are working on an advanced DXP you will have extended possibilities like machine learning and behavioural profiling that will help you become aware of different segments.

The four magical steps 

Segmentation is a great way to organize contacts by their traits, personas, behavior, or other defining details. This helps the brand to create hyper-personalization content for each user.  Segmentation makes personalization more manageable by grouping contacts. 

A chart showing demographics and psychographicsSource: Equisoft

Once you are done creating a segment worksheet, the next step is creating a campaign worksheet that includes the strategy that you will use for personalization. Talk about what the goals of your campaign would be, the description of the customers, the time frame of the campaign, the budget, etc.

The next step is wireframing personalization which is the first step in the design process. In this step, you decide the design that you will give to your campaign. Creating a simple wireframe makes sure that your designs will take into account the different page elements that are required to go into the design, and also that they’re placed in the best possible way.

The last and final thing to do now is to create a copy deck. A copy deck is a document that holds a series of related messages. It basically provides the infrastructure to plan your copy.

Writing a copy that relates to your campaign and design is the most important step. For example: 

example of copy deckSource: Autopilothq

Conclusion

Personalization is actually personal. It is the key for your brand to achieve new heights. It helps you gain the trust of the users and enhances the user experience by providing relevant content, and functions that match the user’s requirements. Personalization can be a great benefit if done in the right way. All you need to do is implement a successful personalization strategy with the help of the practices mentioned above! Contact us at [email protected] for your online business to boom!

Jul 07 2020
Jul 07

Low-code development replaces the traditional method of hard coding and allows us to create our own applications without any help from the IT developers. It requires minimal hand-coding and enables faster delivery of applications with the help of pre-packaged templates, drag and drop tools, and graphic design techniques.

From leading low-code development platforms like Mendix and Outsystems to Acquia Cohesion (suited for Drupal websites), the low-code approach has been making waves as a great option for easy application development.

A square divided in four with small dark blue circles

I am sure after reading the above lines you are left confused, that if low-code is an easy way out then why does the title talk about low code not being the right code. Well, if anything looks too good to be true, it’s not always that great. Let me tell you why!

Functionality-first and user needs later

Even though low code is a great help in making the lives of developers easier, it is unfortunate that it puts user experience at stake. A design-led approach or a progressive approach becomes harder to achieve with low code. Functionality over the need of the user never ends well.

Low code, as we know, saves time. And hence is said to be efficient. Whereas the truth is that it is efficient only with respect to time. The applications made on low code are hardly optimized for efficiency. If you want your web app to run smooth and fast, low code is not the go-to option for you.

No technical requirement: a myth

Low code is easy and can be done without including the technical team: True
Low code does not require any technical skill: false

For anyone of us to start working with the low code, the understanding of the development of low code is the first and the least requirement. It takes time to learn and understand the process. So, before one starts using the tools, it is important to ensure that they have the basic technical skills that are required.
Limited functions 

In a low code development tool, the number of functions that you can implement is limited. It is definitely a quick way to build applications but in case you want to try out something different, you do not have many options.

Also, once an app is created on low code, it is not very easy to add custom code or any other required functionality to it.

Does it help in cost-cutting?

When it comes to low code, the cost is both a draw and a drawback. 

Because of its flexibility, low code is easier to use and requires a small set of skills. So, you don’t have to specially hire someone and pay a hefty amount to do that.

Although it is easy to drag and drop building blocks that fulfil your requirements, once you need a special feature that is unavailable, you will need custom code. Merging the custom code can cost a lot more than a completely customized solution as a whole.

When a company starts, it starts small, and hence it is advised to have a provision in its low code contract for ramping up in the future. If not, the company has to face major downfall before they are even able to start properly.

Is it secure?

Low code has been giving rise to the question: Is it secure enough?

When you build an application using low code, it requires your complete trust. You don’t have control over data security and privacy and no access to source code which makes it difficult to identify the possibility of any sort of vulnerabilities.

Using low code to produce code that does not adhere to established best practices could violate an organization’s compliance measures. Doesn’t matter if the resulting application is secure.

Vendor Lock-In Risks

Vendor lock-in is one of the major limitations of low code development.

In the case of the teams that use low code, vendor lock-in can create poorly documented or even undocumented code that is difficult to maintain outside of the platform.

Hence, it is important to understand each vendor’s policies before licensing any tool and ensure that you know whether or not you are able to maintain applications outside of the platform.

Conclusion

Low code is indeed a useful tool but it comes with cons you can’t ignore. Platforms that have been using low code will only tell you that it’s faster and easier but lack of options and functions, security risks, and other major drawbacks make us rethink if it is actually the solution that we want for an enterprise application.

Jul 02 2020
Jul 02
Ecommerce icons around a Drupal icon


Evolving technologies and marketing strategies have changed the way shopping is experienced. With time, the charm and challenges of eCommerce have increased. How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

As an online brand, you have your challenges when eyeing expansion and opportunities. To achieve the right numbers it is important to engage with customers and sell quality products, all through the right platform.

Talking about the right platform, you can always trust Drupal. Drupal is a content management system with hundreds of modules and themes ready to drive your business online. Drupal adds the magic that your website needs.

The State Of Digital Commerce

Drupal provides amazing features for your eCommerce website, but before jumping to that, let’s take a glance at some stats and understand where the eCommerce industry is heading.

According to Statista, online sales reached $2.5 trillion for the global eCommerce market at the end of 2019 and represented 14% of its global market share. The same data says that by the end of 2020, global commerce sales are predicted to reach $4.2 trillion and the representation will increase to 16%.

Blue colored graphs on a white background showing retail ecommerce salesSource: Statista

The way that people have been shopping online has changed. Keeping up with trends is important for the growth in the retail landscape of 2020. The future looks bright for eCommerce in the coming time.

Personalization is the key if you want to earn the trust of your customers and give them an experience that makes them come back to your website again. Contactless payment has become the shopping trend and has been continuing for a long time. People prefer paying online instead of cash on delivery. So, providing diverse options for payments is important to keep your customers’ experience a happy one. Subscriptions are an ongoing trend that has helped brands get a lot of long term customers. Similarly, Chatbots have been a great help in enhancing the experience of the users. Experts have predicted that 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by the end of 2020. Voice search has become popular with time. 26.1% of consumers have made a purchase on a smart speaker in 2019. 

To leverage all these ongoing trends, and drive sales of your product online, you need a robust and future-ready eCommerce website and Drupal is ready to help!

Why Using Drupal Brings You A Lot Of Benefits

One of the most comprehensive open-source CMSes available, Drupal, is the perfect fit for eCommerce businesses. It gives you the perfect way of modeling your content, integrated marketing, payment, and fulfillment tools, which helps in bringing in a bigger audience. All the features of Drupal are accessible to merchants of every size.

There are so many brands out there using Drupal for their online business. Here are a few of them:

Honda Brazil

The website of Honda Brazil, built using Drupal, gives the users an engaging experience with easily accessible information.

Home page of Honda Brazil's Website


Timex

With the help of Drupal, Timex, a famous American Watchmaker, is able to provide its customers a seamless, engaging, and consistent online experience.

Home page of Timex's Website


Lush

Lush, with its website powered by Drupal, has seen dramatic spikes in both online and traffic sales.

Home page of Lush's Website


Puma

Puma, one of the leading sports brands, has its website built on top of Drupal.

Home page of Puma's Website


Why do such great brands choose Drupal for their online business? Let’s look at the reasons that show why Drupal is the best fit for your eCommerce website:

Commerce Kickstart

It’s a distribution for the quickest way to get up and running with Drupal for eCommerce features. If you are launching an online store, commerce kickstart is a great resource that will get you up and running with the production environment. 

Commerce Kickstart is made for modern PHP lovers and is available only for Drupal 7. The categories in this distribution include shipping and payment providers, data migration, search tools, product catalogs, etc.

Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce is a dedicated solution for your eCommerce needs. It is basically a set of modules for Drupal that enable the host of eCommerce features. Drupal Commerce being a framework itself, focuses on the solutions that can be built by using it. In simpler words, Drupal Commerce brings to your website the basic functions like order, product details, cart item, and payment options.

There are many features of Drupal Commerce that are further extended with the help of modules. Here are a few of them:

  • Modules like Commerce Stock and Commerce Inventory make inventory management easy. 
  • Commerce shipping is Drupal commerce contributed module that is used in cases where the shipping address and the billing address is different by making use of the customer profile.

Essential modules for an e-commerce site

There are plenty of Drupal modules that can be added to your eCommerce site and will help you in building intuitive and powerful websites. Here are some of the modules provided by Drupal for eCommerce:

  • Commerce Shipping takes care of the shipping rate calculation system for Drupal Commerce. It is used with the combination of other shipping method modules like Commerce Flat Rate, Commerce UPS, etc.
  • The Currency module helps your website with currency conversion and information and does the work of displaying the price of the product.
  • Commerce Stripe makes sure that the customers can pay securely without having to leave your website.

Essential themes for an e-commerce site

The first thing that attracts a user when they visit your website is the appearance of your website. Drupal provides amazing themes for your eCommerce websites which come in handy.

  • eStore is Bootstrap based and easy to install and is designed in a way that it solves any eCommerce website’s needs.
  • Flexi Cart is a global theme that makes sure that your products sell fast and easily online.
  • Belgrade is a Drupal Commerce template specially designed to create business websites.
  • SShop is among those Drupal 8 themes which are responsible for providing the users with inbuilt support for Drupal Commerce.

Content-Driven Commerce

Content marketing is the most popular way and for sure gets you the best SEO results. A good story behind your brand will definitely drive sales for you. If the content on your website is engaging, the users will keep coming back to your website.

The stories can be anything that relates to your product. For example, if you are selling lipsticks, you can write an article that says which shade is the perfect one for your different colored outfits.

It is really important to decide the kind of content you want to post on your website. Your content can include blog posts, ebooks, guides, tips, hacks, etc.

Drupal covers the need for content-driven experience. No matter what the case may be, content types are at the core of Drupal that include, mobile editing, in-place authoring, easy content authoring, content revisioning and workflows, and modules for multimedia content.

Headless Commerce

Headless Commerce, which acts as a great catalyst to upscale content-driven commerce, gives immense flexibility to create a great shopping experience for the users. It is future-focused and stays relevant. JavaScript interface communicates with backend Drupal via REST API. Also, in Decoupled Drupal, there is a separation between the presentation layer and eCommerce backend.

Headless Drupal commerce comes with a lot of benefits including high speed, interactive features, and freedom in front-end changes. These features provide a great shopping experience to the customers online by providing a content-rich experience.

Read our article on the implementation of Decoupled Drupal Commerce and React Native to learn more about the benefits of a headless commerce approach.

Performance

It is important to take into account the speed of your website. It is seen that a site that loads in five seconds has 70% longer average conversions. A slow website will deter your efforts and investments. 79% of the shoppers who faced the slow- loading issue say that they don’t return to the websites. These bounces bring a direct effect on revenue generation.

To maintain a top-notch web performance, Drupal comes packed with plenty of offerings. Some of them include:

  • Blazy module helps the pages load faster and saves data usage if the user is not using the whole page.
  • CDN module helps with the integration of Content Delivery Network for the websites and mitigate the page load time and rapidly deliver the web page components
  • In case, your server hardware is reaching its limits, Drupal gives you the option to upgrade the server hardware for a faster way of scaling.

Mobile Ready

If your website runs smoothly on mobile devices, it will be able to run better on other devices too! Creating user scenarios will help you understand what kind of content the user will appreciate on their mobile. This approach will help you design the important elements required for your website.

Mobile compatibility has become an irreplaceable feature for any eCommerce site. In today’s world, everything needs to be mobile-ready. Drupal’s websites not only wow the clients by their looks but also by their mobile responsive design. Drupal websites are easily accessible on mobile and tablets.

Multilingual

The world is on the internet, and with so many people using similar platforms and so many brands expanding globally, multilingual websites are the sine qua non! 

China has the highest number of internet users which is a massive 772 million. Although the maximum number of people on the internet prefer English as their language, 10 other languages that account for 90% of the top 10 million websites.

World stats on a white backgroundSource: Internet World Stats

Drupal is the best choice for your multilingual website. It provides numerous languages to choose from and 4 core modules specially designed for language and translation support. This feature by Drupal has shown great results that include higher conversions, rise in SEO, unrivaled translation workflows and has also been a great help in widening the audience. It also allows the detection of the user’s preferred language by identifying users’ IP address, sessions, browser settings, etc.

Personalization

Every eCommerce brand wants to make sure that the content created by them leaves a mark on the users’ minds. And it has become a necessity today because there is a lot of competition out there. Hence, personalized content makes the user experience better and helps create trust between you and the customer.

According to an Adobe report on personalization, 92% of the B2B marketers say that personalization is important.

This is the marketing opportunity that no eCommerce business should miss out on. Tapping the different demographics and varied audiences not only improves your market reach but your bottom line as well. 

Following are examples of modules that can aid your web personalization efforts:

  • The Smart Content module gives real-time anonymous personalization for the users. It also allows the site administrators to display different content for anonymous users based on browser conditions
  • Acquia Lift Connector module helps organizations in delivering personalized content and experience across all platforms and devices by merging content and customer data into one tool. 

SEO

E-commerce websites are buried with huge data. While for a consumer, it might be a desirable situation, for a marketeer it increases the burden of implementing SEO on every page and indexing every product. 

Drupal has various modules that help in improving the SEO of your eCommerce website. Some of them are:

  • Pathauto is an SEO module that ensures that the URL of your website is search engine friendly. It converts complex URLs to simpler ones.
  • Metatag module is a multilingual module and controls all the metatags on all the web pages.
  • XML Sitemap module provides you the resilience to exclude or include a few pages on your Sitemap.

Security

With the increase in cases of hacking and security breaches, basic security do-it-yourselves are not sufficient. The security breaches affect your brand image and your market shares and stock price. According to a report, more than $3.5 Billion was lost to Cyber Crime in 2019. 

Drupal has a dedicated team that regularly works on the security side of it. It is frequently tested for issues and bugs. Drupal also provides various security modules for your eCommerce website. Some of them are:

  • The Password policy module provides the password policies that help users to create a strong password. The password entered by the user is not accepted until it meets the constraints set by this module. 
  • Security Kit module provides various security- hardening options. This helps in reducing different risks coming from different web applications.
  • Two-factor authentication module is a second step for your security check, where a set of codes is defined for a user to be able to sign in. 

If you open a webpage from your mobile device and at the same time open it on your PC/laptop, you will be forced to close one of the pages. The session limit module does the same work of limiting the number of sessions by a user at the same time.

To Sum Up

The substantial development in the concept of ‘eCommerce’ has kept the online brands on their toes. And this is where Drupal provides its unmatched services for your eCommerce platform. 

Be it building your eCommerce website or migrating to Drupal, we at OpenSense Labs will help you do your job smoothly until you get a desirable finish.

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to drive sales on your website!

Jun 12 2020
Jun 12
An arrow moving upwards with SEO and 2020 written on it's side


Your website is the centre of the marketing world. No doubt SEO is very important for any business that operates online. Ensuring that a search engine is easily able to understand your content is the first step towards ensuring your visibility in search engine results.

Drupal is perfect for SEO. A Drupal website will help you launch your website and drive customers in as soon as you launch. Drupal provides many built-in SEO friendly features. One of the greatest features of Drupal is that it is super easy to customize.

The SEO essentials
 

module word cloud


Following are the most important pointers to tick-off when considering to boost search engine rankings of your Drupal website:

Checklist essentials

SEO Checklist

The SEO checklist module does not add any sort of functionality to your website but it helps as a reminder to all your SEO related tasks. This module will make sure that you are maximizing SEO for your site. It is updated frequently with the latest SEO techniques. If you work on a lot of websites, this module is for you!

Real-Time SEO For Drupal

This module does your work of optimizing content for your website by including keywords in a fast and non-spamming way. Also, this module works best with the Metatag module. Real time SEO for Drupal modules will check if your posts are long enough, if you have written the meta description and whether or not it contains keywords or if you have used any sub-heading for your post.

Require On Publish

This module is required only when your content has to be published or is already published. Require on Publish can be used when there are options like tags or SEO information on your content that don’t generally need to be filled until the content is published.

URL Essentials

Redirect

If you want to handle duplicate content, the Redirect module will do it for you. It helps in integration with Drupal’s page cache to optimize redirects and performance. 

Pathauto

This module makes sure that the URLs are search engine friendly. Search engines like Google and Bing encourage the use of cleaner and URL friendly websites. Pathauto converts complicated URLs to cleaner and clear URLs.

Easy Breadcrumb

Easy Breadcrumb is a plug and play module that uses the current URL and the current page title to automatically extract the breadcrumbs segments and its respective link. 

Menu Breadcrumbs

This module provides substantial benefits for both users and the search engine. Menu breadcrumbs will let you know where you are in the navigation hierarchy and also there is an anchor text in the breadcrumb which links it to the appropriate URL. 

Footnotes

The Footnote module will automatically create tallied footnote references into an article or post. It provides an optional feature that identical footnotes are collapsed into one as if they had the same value.

Link Checker

A broken link will put a bad impression on the search engines. The Link checker module keeps checking for broken links periodically by checking the remote sites and evaluating the HTTP response code. It will also extract links from your content when saved.

Menu Attributes

This module is helpful in your SEO strategy if you want to non follow any menu item to mould the flow of page rank. Menu attributes module is also helpful when you want to give your menu item an ID so that you can easily select it using jQuery. 

Tag Essentials

Metatags

This module provides a global setting which controls the meta tags on all pages. Metatags module is also multilingual which is great for your website!

Hreflang

Hreflang is a simple module that adds tags that are used by search engines to serve the correct regional URLs in the search results.

Schema.org Metatag

This module is an extension of Drupal’s Metatag module to display structured data in the form of JSON LD in the head of web pages. Schema.org Metatag module helps you define default structured data value for all content types. 

Power Tagging

This module helps you customize your content from Drupal nodes easily and provides multilingual tagging. It helps you tag your content in bulk at once with the help of Bulk-tagging. Power tagging module suggests tags which the users can curate or index collections of Drupal content.

Similar By Terms

If you want to enable the keyword tags on content then Similar by terms module is the right one! It also allows you to create your own views and it will also interpret content automatically through thesaurus even if synonyms are used.

OG Tags

OG tags are designed to make sure there is good communication between your site and Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Once, you are able to connect your site correctly, it will become easier for you to control the tag lines and images that will appear on social media platforms. These tags make content more catchy on social media feed and will also tell you what your content is about in seconds.

Validate The Information

Make sure all the information that is displayed on Facebook and Twitter is correct and displayed in a nice manner before people start sharing it. 

OpenSense Lab's facebook page


Communicating With The Search Engines

Sitemap

The Sitemap module gives you an overview of your site and displays the RSS feeds for all the categories on your website.

XML Sitemap

This module is a directory of your website which your website definitely needs! XML Sitemap module makes it easy for Google to crawl and index the website. This module provides you the flexibility to include or exclude some pages from the sitemap of your website.

Simple XML Sitemap

This module is a replacement of XML sitemap for Drupal 8 but it has a different function from XML Sitemap. Simple XML Sitemap is a simple module with almost no bugs. You can use this for a newer sitemap standard and more powerful standard.

Cron

This is a task scheduler that helps in automatically executing tasks and does not use any manual involvement. Cron always keeps running in the background unless all the jobs are set to off.  

If you want your XML Sitemap to stay updated and clean, Cron will do it for you by checking for updates and rebuilding XML sitemap.

Google Analytics

The Google analytics module tracks what type of links are tracked and what files are downloaded from your pages. It provides Site search and Adsense support. Changing the URL fragments can be tracked as page views. 

Editing Essentials

Linkit

This module provides an easy interface of internal and external linking by using an autocomplete field. The Linkit module is your solution to internal linking and has a user friendly UI.

Editor Advance Links

This module checks that all the webpages have a unique title, class, ID, logo and primary image.

Speed And Security

Speed and security are the two main factors that affect the SEO ranking of your webpage. Sites that are quick and secure get rewarded by Google. A faster site will always rank higher than the others! 

Headline, Logo and Primary Image

The first thing that a visitor notices on your website is the home page. So, it is important to keep the home page clean with three essential elements. First up is the logo. It is important to have the logo on the homepage to make sure that the user identifies your brand the next time he notices your logo somewhere. The second one would be the Headline. A creative headline that defines your brand. And the third would be the Primary image along with the headline. 

OpenSense Lab's website homepage


Enable Search 404 module

This module helps in improving your website's overall experience. When you search for something on the web, this Drupal module gives you search results related to your query instead of showing ‘page not found’. 

SEO Trends 2020

Domain Authority

Domain authority is a website ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on website results. This score is used when you want to track the strength of your website. 

Google estimates expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness which is also called E-A-T. E-A-T is a predominant ranking factor. Google wants to feature content that is written by experts in their field.

Google focuses on the off site signal to figure out your site’s E-A-T. After creating an amazing website, you need to make sure that it is cited and mentioned by other trusted websites and reliable sources. The mentions don’t just mean link mentions, they can be anything like a simple tweet talking about your blog. Expert mentions matter a lot and help you gain a better reputation in Google’s eyes.

Voice Search

OK Google, how do you think voice search will affect my website’s SEO?

As per the OC&C Strategy Consultants, 13% of all the houses in 2018 had a smart speaker and this number is expected to rise to 55% in 2022. 

Voice search statistics on a white backgroundSource: Wordstream

Google tends to give you the voice search answer from the top 3 results. After searching, Google chooses the page that usually has both the question and the answer. This is one of the reasons that make FAQ pages important for your websites’ search engine rankings. Google tends to use the featured snippets. 

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are the results that are featured on the top of Google’s search results. These snippets aim to answer the query of the user right away. If your content is featured as a snippet in search results by Google, it means that you are getting additional brand exposure. 

There are three types of featured snippets: Paragraph, List and Table. According to GetStat the most featured snippet out of the three is the ‘paragraph’ type’.

A table showing types and number of total snippets

According to Ahrefs reports on 2 million featured snippets, 12.29% of their search results had featured snippets.

A pie chart showing amount of search queries with featured snippets Source: Ahref

Visual Search

Visual search aims to impact the future of SEO, let’s have a look how. 

Like voice search, visual search begins with taking a picture. Google Lens has been used 1 billion times till now. Apps like pinterest get almost 6000 million visual searches per month.

A pintrest search result page with flowers


Visual search has been useful for shopping, translation, recipes, identification of plants, product and a lot more.

With so many apps using this feature, it would not be very surprising to see it rise as an essential part of search. So if you want your product to show up as a visual search result, Image SEO is the right answer! 

Video SEO

According to Cisco, around 80% of online traffic will be made by online video. Even though there are uncountable videos on the internet, Hubspot says that 43% of people want more video content.
 

6 Blue semi circles on a white background Source: Techcrunch

Search Intent

If you want to rank your website, you need to understand to create content with search intent in mind. Search intent is why a search was made, what was the intent behind the search. Were they looking for a purchase? Or any information?

So your first intent should be choosing the right keyword. If you want to rank the highest in the search results, you need to be the most apropos result for the query. 

Click-Through Rate

It is an important concept in Search engine marketing. Getting more people to see your ad or snippet and getting them to click your ad will improve the success rate for your website.

It is important that your meta tag descriptions are 100% original and will make users click on your website. 

Backlinks

Building backlinks is still the most effective way to enhance SEO rankings and traffic. Which will require amazing content. If you want other websites to mention your link on their websites, you must have some quality content to deliver! 

According to a study by Ahref, top ranking pages tend to get followed backlinks.
 

A gra[hical representation of top ranking pages by backlinksSource: Ahref

Research Content

Bloggers, journalists and writers love data. It is important to show some stats, survey or industry study so that the users stick to your website for future references.

This is a lot of work and requires a lot of time but it’s always worth it! 

Comments And Community

Google wants to make sure that you have an active website with an active community and that’s what makes comments important for you. Comment can play a great role in the overall quality and ranking of the webpage. Although Google doesn’t have any kind of negative effect on your websites if you don’t have community involvement. 

Zombie Pages

Zombie pages, as the name suggests are the pages that are more or less like the zombies that we see in the movies. These pages are neither live nor dead. They don’t give any purpose to the website.

A few Zombie pages are never a problem until they turn into hundreds of them and pull down your entire site’s SEO. These pages can demean all your efforts on taking your page rank higher.

The first step to get rid of these pages is to identify. You need to delete the HTML files and get rid of them from XML Sitemap. 

Conclusion

The foundation of any SEO is quality content and links. You just need to have the right modules and the right guidance. Drupal is the best choice when it comes to content management systems.

Every year new trends keep coming and change the way information appears on the internet ensuring that the users get the required information in a matter of minutes! And if you follow these ongoing trends, your site will definitely see a boost in its search engine rankings.

OpenSense Labs has always been keen to provide the best solutions for its clients and prospects. To improve your presence online reach us out at [email protected]

Jun 05 2020
Jun 05
A man walking on a word cloud


Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.
- E. L. Doctorow

When you think of a writer, the first thing that would come to your mind is someone who writes novels, blogs, or poems, or maybe scripts. That’s where we go wrong. Today, content is required in every part of the web. Not only does it help your audience create a relationship with your brand but it covers every single aspect of the business. Upkeeping your content will help you upkeep your brand.

Most of the designers don’t see writing as a skill that is required for them. UX designs are not complete without writing. It is important for them to communicate in order to influence. 

Writing Can Be Hard

Writing is hard even for writers. There are times that you have to write about things that you don’t believe in or things that you don’t know about. The more you accept that it is a tough task, the more it becomes easy for you. 

Even though writing is hard, it doesn’t have to be painful. In school, we were asked to write essays which had a specific word count which made most of us assume that writing is a painful and unpleasant experience. 

A writer's job is to help in selling a product, but a designer who writes does more than that. He is responsible for the writing along with the design.

Essential Tips For A Designer To Improve Writing 

With the apps and websites becoming more complex, the need for clear guidance within them has grown. Words convey meaning, and writing in a concise manner helps the users to understand the message your design and content is trying to send. 

Writing will help you become a better designer and a better thinker. In a way, writing is similar to designing. In writing you have to decide which ideas you need in the content and which ones to remove. Similarly in designing, you look for features that your design needs or features that need to be removed from it. 

Writing in a clear and concise language helps the users to understand your content easily and get the desired information. Here are some ways that will help:

A half visible typewriter on a brown colored background with essential tips for a designer to improve writing written on it


When a user searches for something on the web, they usually search for keywords. So, it is important to use clear and front-loaded heading to make it easier for users to reach your webpage. 

Use short sentences that give a clear message. Long and complicated sentences make the readers work harder to understand what they are reading. They would want you to get straight to the point instead of confusing them with complex words and sentences that are not needed. If you do this, it shows that you respect the readers time and attention.

Too many lines can confuse the users so it’s always better to use bullet lists wherever possible. Try to keep it short and clearly emphasize the points that you are trying to make. 

It is crucial to prioritize your content. When a user visits your webpage, he should be able to get the important information in the beginning and continue to read if they want to understand more of the content.

An inverted triangle showing the priority of the structured contentSource: The Ready | Medium

Reasons why writing makes you a better designer

Now that we know of a few tricks to make our writing clear and concise, let’s quickly look at how consistent writing makes you a better designer:

Thoughts

A man sitting on a chair and thinking


When you make a mistake or repeat a thought in your writing you will remove or change it and run your thoughts around it to get better ideas. Writing is great exercise for your mind and it helps you to stay organised and logical in your thinking. 

Growth

A man walking on a graph

Another benefit of writing is that it makes you a better listener which is a crucial skill for designers. The more you read and explore the world of writing, the more you become involved with creativity.

Creativeness

A man with books, bulb, pencil floating around him


Writing makes you creative! A designer with great writing skills brings out more creativity in his designs. Keeping a small notepad to make notes when you read, talk or observe something helps you gather ideas for designing. 

You can try the pen and paper magic. Writing things down using a pen and a paper benefits your brain. Writing everything down, whether it’s during a user interview, or you’re conducting research or testing, helps you remember and understand better.

Clarity

A woman standing on a ladder and cleaning the mind with a broom


Having clarity in your writing improves your understanding with the users. It not only helps you in supporting your reasoning but also to answer any sort of objections made on your content. 

It is important that the readers understand what you write. Your writing should be so clear that even a reader who is new to the subject is easily able to understand it. After you are done writing, you can ask a non-designer to give it a read so that you are able to get an idea if the audience will be able to understand your content. 

Leadership

A man talking giving a presentation in front of the audience


Writing makes you a better leader. When you start writing, you research the particular subject.  More and more writing will help you get clearer thoughts and explain your concepts better to your readers and listeners and support your reasoning. 

Conclusion

It is important to write friendly content so that when a user engages with your website he feels like he is engaging with a human rather than computers.

You can always keep trying and find resources to improve your writing skills. Read as much as you can. It is important to explore to keep your thoughts moving and enhance your creativity both as a designer and writer. 

May 28 2020
May 28

Vardoc, a Drupal distribution, is a knowledge base system, a wiki system, and a document management system designed to host a massive amount of content in a structured and easy-to-find format. With Vardoc, your content can be easily structured, and scheduled. It allows you to personalize your content easily and contribute your expertise in the knowledge base.

You can build a connected organization, product, or knowledge area to allow everyone involved to find the answers they seek and contribute their expertise in the knowledge base with the help of Vardoc. Think of it as a wiki site of your product, user manuals, or organizational processes with an easy structure, collaborative tools, and a friendly design.

Vardoc page open on the screenAn insight into Vardoc's elements 

Who can benefit from Vardoc? 

Let’s get to the part where we understand who this system is for. The agencies who want to document their software, product documentation sites and website based interactive user manuals can benefit from Vardoc. It also works a great deal for documentation of Open Source projects and inter-organisational processes. Vardoc is cost friendly and saves the usual development time.

What makes Vardoc wonderful?

Search

A by default powerful search which searches through the vast repository of the documents and provides the relevant results. The search mechanism is already set and tailored for the knowledge base system by prioritizing headings and titles more than the content's body.

Editorial features

The distribution supports editorial features which help keep the documents up to date. The editing mode is also tailored for quick review and vetting of information. Vardoc’s media library is full of interesting features that provide an appealing way to display media libraries. Vardoc also allows one image to have many previews with the help of image cropping and settings present within the CMS. And, it provides simple and easy ways to create and manage new and existing pages respectively.

Taxonomy

Being a knowledge base, the website at its core provides powerful features to structure the framework in which the documents are to be stored. This gives the user the power to tailor the structure and present the data in a hierarchy which best suits the organization.

User Management

To control and regulate the engagement of the website the admin will have full control of their roles and permission. You don’t need to worry about losing the important experience that is needed when a team member retires or leaves. Vardoc helps you to engage users from various departments to use the information that is needed in one space.

Customisable themes

It is essential to have proper theming on your website. You can brand your website by modifying the starter theme with some easy-to-make and quick CSS changes.

SEO

When potential users are searching the web, make sure your website is there to be found. On Vardoc you are immediately optimized for search engines when you update your sitemap.xml, create and set customized URL paths and custom page titles, and include specific keywords.

Accessibility compliance

The Vardoc based website already complies with the accessibility requirements (WCAG 2.0) for various user groups.

Social media Integration

Out-of-the-box social media integration which enables governments to link their social handles to the website.

Compatible

Vardoc provides a front-end design to work with all the latest versions of all the commonly used web browsers. Vardoc makes sure that you are able to reach your audience across all devices and web browsers. It is completely optimized for mobile and other devices to access whenever and wherever you want to.

Multilingual options

Vardoc provides access to several languages with localized and translated content, date formats, country flags, modern fonts etc.

Analytics

Vardoc’s real-time analytics feature allows users to measure and monitor the site activity in real-time through google analytics professional integration. 

Summing Up

It is much cost friendly and saves the industry-standard development time. It has everything under one roof. Organisations may find it easy to decide but depending on their current website’s dynamics, our resource involvement depends. 

Vardoc is currently available for download for Drupal 8 and has stable releases that are covered by security advisory policy. For more information on its Drupal 9 readiness, check here.

OpenSense Labs has always been keen towards finding the appropriate solution for clients and prospects in general. Feel free to reach us out at [email protected] for help.​
 

May 27 2020
May 27
Four people holding a rainbow like flag with clouds and sky in the background


Usually, the restrooms are marked as ‘men/male’ or ‘ladies/female/women at offices, restaurants and other public places. Have you ever imagined yourself being in a state of utter confusion while deciding which restroom to use? No? Well, this is an everyday issue in the life of trans genders and gender-nonconforming people. The sad truth is that they fear harassment and keep running into such unnecessary barriers which makes their life harder. No wonder a report on gender and sexuality by J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group had some staggering revelations to make.

Graph showing the views of Gen Z on trans and diversity


With the world gone digital, web designs are one of the barriers in the life of these people. While filling a form or signing up for something, the options for genders are most likely to be male and female. Rarely, we find websites with either no gender options (when not required) or other preferable options to choose from.

In order to provide the best user experience, you need to understand how the facet of their lives intersects with your website. For that, it becomes important to educate ourselves about the LGBTQ terminologies and issues so that you develop a sense of when and what is appropriate to say or ask. If you want to increase the lifetime value of your customers, you need to make your website more trans-inclusive which will enhance the user experience for everyone.

Getting things right

Using gender inclusive language and designs means writing or speaking in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex or gender role. Moreover, it promotes gender equality and stands against gender bias.

Designers should not limit the gender options to male and female, and definitely not make it mandatory! In fact, gender should not be asked where it is not needed. And wherever required, the gender options should not be limited.

Key Considerations for gender-inclusive design

Key considerations for gender-inclusive design


Before asking for the gender of a person, make sure you have a good reason behind why you need that information. And when you are sure that it is needed, make sure you give more diverse options to choose from. ‘Prefer to self identify’ or ‘add your own’ are great additional options. 

When people are not identified as male or female, they do not like being referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she’. Hence, you can ask for pronouns, so they can be referred to correctly during their experience with your website or app.

Images representing different body sizes, genders on the websites and ads allow room for representation. You can hire models for photoshoots. If you cannot have your own photoshoot, you can use the trans-inclusive stock photo collection launched by Broadly which is free for wide use.

If you ask needless questions or limit the options for the users to select, you lose value in the eyes of the users. Designers should make sure that they put in options that do not perpetuate gender stereotypes. 

There should also not be any sort of restrictions to make changes. Once, someone creates a web address, username or complete profile, they should be allowed to make changes if required. The users should be made aware that their information will not be shared with anyone. And if there is some kind of information that needs to be shared, let the users know. This will make them feel safe and build trust.

It is important to have a name change process. It is likely that you have one for marriage related name changes already. Create a process that allows anyone to change their names without any legal documents.

Many websites and applications incorporate gender in their designs and products even though the product is gender neutral. Like, clothing, wine or toys etc. Brands should evaluate an alternative and see what else can be done. Several OTT platforms ask for gender while signing up which is not really needed.

 A purple background with Two gender options written on it: Male and Female
Zee 5, an Indian OTT app, while signing up had male and female as the only two options while asking for gender. Snapchat settings pageSnapchat profile setting menu does not ask for gender.

There are a lot of gender options and so it is not possible to use all of them. And even if you want to, you will have to change the control you use. For example, consider this screenshot.

A personal details page of a form with multiple gender optionsSource: keepitusable

Conclusion

We all want to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of our gender, religion, or where we come from. So, make sure that these diverse groups feel at home when they visit your website. Eliminating gender inequality is the future of design. 

So tell us, are you ready to ‘trans-form’ your website?

May 10 2020
May 10

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 
- Winston Churchill

On the left side: On a blue background, a man sitting with his laptop and working in the day time. On the right side: Black background, a man playing his DJ equipment at night time.


In a world where everyone is running after success, only a few take the advantage and grab the opportunity that life gives them, to achieve it. The ones who are ready for every kind of challenge, are the ones who achieve success. Capitalizing that opportunity is where the key lies! 

At OpenSense Labs, we have someone who believes that when opportunity knocks, grab it, and success will find its way. Deepak Sagar, known as Sagar, who is currently a Drupal developer with us, has a very interesting story. He went on from being a DJ in his initial college days to a developer later on. His story will definitely inspire you to have a keen eye for every opportunity that knocks your door.

"Partying is like work for me"

Tuba: So, the first thing that I'd like to know is, how was your life as a DJ and why did you choose DJ-ing?

Sagar: My Life as a DJ is not over, I'm still a DJ. There is a story behind why I chose to become a DJ. During my graduation, a DJ came to my college to play in the college fest. And I went up to him and asked him general questions about his DJ-ing equipment and his response triggered me to learn about the equipment. He said, ‘you won’t understand, let it be.’ It’s a short story, but I felt really bad at that moment and started learning DJ-ing from my cousin who is also a DJ. There were a lot of ups and downs as a DJ in the beginning. I got some work for 2 months and then there was a long gap until I got another job. Now, partying is like work for me.

A person working on his DJ equipment.


Tuba: You are still a DJ, how do you manage both your office life and DJ life?

Sagar: I leave for the office in the morning and after I'm done with the office, I go to the club I work for. I leave for office at around 9:30 AM in the morning and leave the office around 7:00 PM and directly go to the club and leave the club around 1:30 AM and sleep around 3:00 AM and then again the same routine from the next day.

Tuba: Now the big question, why the transition from a DJ to a developer? What triggered your interests towards Drupal?

Sagar: I had nothing to do during the day. I worked as a part-time DJ at a club at night. Vid (CEO at OpenSense Labs) and Devanshu used to visit that club very often. One day, I was just having a casual conversation with them where I told them that I had nothing to do during the day and was looking for something. They asked me to come to their office the next day. I went there, and since that day I tried my best to learn everything about Drupal. I started with them in September as an intern and joined full time as a Frontend Developer in January. I was completely new to Drupal and I had no idea about it or CSS or HTML before. It took time to understand but slowly things came inflow. 

Tuba: And what would you say about your post-Drupal experience?

Sagar: Drupal is a life-changing experience for me. A new opportunity that came in my life and I gained an interest in it. There is something about Drupal that I can't explain. It's the same as your first love, it's almost the same feeling. I guess this is the right example. [Laughter]

Tuba: So what are your plans for the future now? I mean, is it always going to be both the things together?

Sagar: Although both things are going in the flow right now, there is going to be a time where I'll have to choose between the two. So when it comes to choosing, it's going to be hard. But I guess I'm going to choose to be a DJ because it is my first love. [Laughter] Also, there is no scope of a DJ in India. People here think of a DJ as someone who would play music at weddings and nothing more. Not a lot of people value this profession here. So if someday, I get an opportunity from a different country where people value it, I’ll go for it. And about development, that can be done remotely also. But for DJing, I'll have to be present in that place to play. 

Tuba: Great! So let's talk about the two moments - one was when you decided that ok, let's learn Drupal and the second when you became a professional developer.

Sagar: As a DJ, it's all about working at night mostly. So I decided that let's do something in the day time, and this opportunity knocked my door and that's when I thought of giving it a try. I have not lived my life in a planned way ever. It has always been sudden decisions that have led me to where I am. I had no plans of being a DJ. It was a sudden decision and it was the same with development also. I had no plan and no idea about it. But it was a great opportunity and I did my best to learn and I'm happy being a developer now. My life-changing moment was when Vid and Devanshu and also Vinit offered me to come to the office. They welcomed me to the office very nicely. Vid used to discuss and solve all my problems for me. 

Tuba: Thank you so much for your time, Sagar. I was really excited to know the story behind your journey. And I believe, that after reading your story, many would be inspired to do more to reach their life goals.  

Think, Believe, Dare, and Dream! Say yes to all the opportunities that come your way and figure out the required plans later. You need to be visionary enough to recognize the opportunity that comes your way. This is the message that Sagar's story has conveyed and we hope that it proves to be the turning point in the lives of our readers! 

May 03 2020
May 03

This is part two of a two-part series on different ways and benefits of contributing to an open-source project. In the first part, we looked at the perks of contributing to an open-source project. In this article, we will explore Drupal project, one of the largest open-source projects with a thriving community, and the ways to get involved with it.

Don’t we all want to leave our mark on this world and to know that our life matters? I’m sure all of us want to leave a legacy that means something to people. By legacy, I mean putting a stamp on the future, and making a contribution to coming generations. 
In one of the scenes of Dead poets society, John Keating, who is an English teacher, discusses with his students about the meaning of life. During his lesson, he quoted from Walt Whitman’s poem, Oh Me Oh Life, as follows:

“Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer: That you are here — that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Illustration, symbolising Drupal contribution. consisting of a blue coloured Drupal logo, shaped like a droplet, being carried on a palm


The poem explains that life is like a play, in which anyone who has ever lived gets to contribute one verse. Later, Keating questions the students: “What will your verse be?” 

Your legacy will be that you contribute to the verse! 

Similarly, when you contribute to an open source project, you not only contribute to its growth but also to yours. You leave your mark in the project that you contribute to, inspiring hundreds of other contributors. Drupal allows its users to freely modify and integrate the work into their projects. It gives you ways to freely plan and exchange ideas with like-minded people in their community. It also offers immense opportunities to contribute and leave your mark. Drupal.org is home to thousands of contributors and it's where users find the projects and succor they need to make Drupal better everyday.

Why Drupal?

Now that we know how much value a contribution holds, let’s talk about why we should specifically choose Drupal over any other CMS.

Have you wondered about the one similarity between the websites of The Economist, NY Government, Arizona University and Mint? 

Well, these websites are a product of Drupal open source content management system (CMS) framework. 

PHP is an open source script code, which is freed from any licensing costs and a choice of developers from a few years. Drupal is written in PHP code, and, therefore, it saves money when it involves developing a web site using it.

A blue coloured droplet shaped icon with Drupal features being written inside it


Drupal is very flexible due to its modularity. Which means, you can easily extend it. It is capable of managing and creating a wide variety of content and this has proved to be one of its greatest selling points. Hence, Drupal enables a flexible design platform to create content rich websites for different markets like commerce or media. 

Another major reason to choose Drupal is its scalability. It’s used by NASA and Oxford University because it’s highly scalable and great at accommodating content growth. Even if you plan to deliver the best digital experience to your customers, it will all go in vain if your site is hit with a lot of traffic and goes down. No matter how much traffic you receive, Drupal can handle it.

In addition to being one of the best tools for creating websites, the greatest strength of Drupal is that it is one of the largest open source communities. The open source community proffers voluminous public documentation, chat and mailing lists, well-developed discussion board parallel to an air of affable online culture.

Drupal ensures that its users get rapid responses from a dedicated security team along with a large professional service provider ecosystem and Drupal's community, which is one of the largest developer communities in the world. The goals of the Drupal security team include resolving reported security issues, helping the infrastructure team to keep the Drupal.org infrastructure secure and providing documentation on securing your site. 

According to the Imperva’s report on The State Of Web Application Vulnerabilities in 2018, Drupal reported less number of security vulnerabilities in comparison to Wordpress. While Wordpress reported 542 security attacks in 2018, Drupal reported 107. 

A bar graph with yellow, blue, violet and red coloured vertical graphsSource: Imperva

Drupal also makes content authoring easy. The tools that Drupal provides makes it easier for the content creators to do their jobs. Drupal allows the creators to edit and write the content in place. Even if you are away from your laptops/PC’s, mobile editing comes to the rescue! You can very easily edit and approve content from any mobile device. Content revision is another tool that comes in handy to keep a track of all the changes made in the content and by whom.  

Drupal has made building multilingual websites faster and easier. Full translation of every part of the site is provided by four core modules in Drupal. Every part of the interface can be customised according to your language and needs. 

Drupal 8 comes with 94 different languages and they can be installed without any additional components. Also, the diversity in languages makes it hassle-free for the site administrators!

Doesn’t matter what device you’re using, Drupal helps in building responsive websites and provide a seamless content experience anytime, anywhere. 

In order to make Drupal content ready for delivery to site apps and free from presentation, Drupal lets you decouple the back and front-end where needed.

Frank Nagle, in his research at Harvard on the hidden benefits of giving back to open source, found that those who contributed to open source projects gain more productivity and knowledge of the software they use everyday. So, the more you contribute to Drupal, the more you learn about it.

Your contribution is visible to anyone around the world and can learn your name and admire your skills and also might be the one to help you land your dream job! 

Statistical outlook on the development of Drupal

Drupal, being an open-source project, does not have employees to deliver improvements and support. It depends on its varied community of individuals who work diligently to push the project forward by working on not just web development and user support but also many other contributions and interests that comprise, marketing, helping to review issues, organizing user groups and camps, maintaining documentation and speaking at events.

To start doing your bit, you can start by making an account on Drupal.org. Follow the steps and you will be ready to start contributing in no time! Now, let’s look at some of the key stats related to the contributions made to the Drupal project.

The project pipeline

According to Drupal Business Survey 2019,  the Drupal project pipeline has shown significant growth or stayed the same in 2019 as compared to last 2018. 

The win rates of Drupal projects have also remained the same. The future of Drupal looks moored in the coming years, based on the response of 2019. 

The survey also stated that out of the total 118 businesses that, 111 contribute to Drupal and 7 don’t. 

Pie chart with blue coloured regions to show who's contributing to Drupal and the overall percentage of Drupal contributionSource: Drupal.org

In total, the Drupal community worked on 3,474 different Drupal.org projects in 2019 compared to 3,229 projects within the period of 2017-2018 which is an 8% year over year shoot up!

Credits

Every contribution made to Drupal is valued, whether they're code contributions, or non-product and community-oriented contributions such as organizing events, giving talks etc.

The credit system has proven to be more accurate in conceding types of Open Source contribution and is both pragmatic and important.

The initial ideas for giving credits were proposed in 2014 by Dries Buytaert, the project lead and founder of Drupal. He wanted to start a page on Drupal.org that would show which organization contributed to Drupal and the number of times the contributions were being made. Credit is a very powerful motivator for individuals and organizations. 

Later, in the spring of 2015, Drupal added the credit feature for people to credit their work. The credit feature has played a very important role in increasing the scalability and development of Drupal. 

According to Dries Buytaert's report on Drupal.org’s contribution data  for 2018-19, Drupal.org's credit system received contributions from 8,513 different individuals and 1,137 different organizations which shows a significant growth in comparison to the report of 2017-18.

Bar graph with orange and yellow bars to representing who's contributing to Drupal


The majority of work is done by a relatively small number of contributors. These contributors put a large amount of time and effort into developing Drupal and its projects. One of these contributors includes Gaurav Kapoor who is a Drupal Architect at OpenSense Labs.

Volunteer contributions proved to be very important to Drupal, even though there are almost four times as many purely sponsored credits as compared to Purely Volunteer credits. 

The community captured more number of non-product contributions because of the large jump in volunteer credits. Even though the ‘sponsored credits’ grew more in number in comparison to ‘volunteer credits’, the relative number of ‘volunteer credits’ seemed to make a jump!

Bar graphs with blue and green horizontal bars to show Drupal contribution dataSource: Dries Buytaert's blog

Diversity and inclusion

Supporting diversity and inclusion within Drupal is supremely important for the health and success of the project. Drupal welcomes all kinds of contributors ranging from programmers to designers and writers to mentors.

The Drupal diversity and inclusion team tries to recruit teams from places where the people from diverse backgrounds collaborate. Drupal contributors have become more diverse but need more efforts to be put in for widespread reach of D&I principles among its members. And when a team has diverse members, it makes better products for more people! 

According to the data contributions that were recorded in Drupal.org’s contribution data for 2018-2019, only 8% were made by contributors who do not identify as males which is a 1% increase in comparison to last year. 

Bar graph with yellow and orange bars to show who's contributing to Drupal


One of the reasons that Drupal suffers from a lack of diversity is that not everyone has an equal amount of free time to make contributions. Research shows that women still do more unpaid work in comparison to men, for example, household chores, child care etc. This makes it difficult for women to contribute on an unpaid basis. 

When geographic diversity was measured, it was observed that individual contributors were from six continents and 114 countries:

Bar graph with yellow and orange bars to show who's contributing to Drupal


Contributions from Europe and North America have increased. Asia, South America and Africa together account for 6.3 billion out of 7.5 billion people in the world and hence, pose great opportunities for Drupal. 

Different ways to contribute to Drupal

Coding Is The New Literacy

If you are the one who likes to fix issues, developing is for you! So many coders believe that coding should be open. Developers’ contributions can be in the form of both contributed modules/themes and patches to core. When you find a bug in the project, you'd want to have a look on the source and patch it yourself. 

When you contribute to an open source project like Drupal as a developer, you ensure that Drupal can do what the contributor needs to do in his next project.

The Drupal core issue queue contains a substantial amount of unresolved issues, and demands the assistance of more volunteers to address these issues deftly. 

Mentoring: Effective Way To Contribute

Every contribution holds value and mentoring is the most effective way to contribute. When you mentor as a contributor, you not only help the individual but also the entire Drupal community. 

Drupal core mentors inspire, enable, and encourage new core contributors by working on the core tools, process, and community for a hassle-free experience for the new contributors. 

And not just that, the gratitude you earn by mentoring someone is beyond everything! 

Interacting With The Community

When you join Drupal as a new contributor, you would like to interact with someone who shares the same interest as yours, someone who has experience in contribution. Drupal has a community of thousands of passionate individuals around the world. It also offers some tools that are used to keep in touch with them. There are support forums on Drupal.org where you can put your queries and get your doubts cleared by other members of the forum. Find like-minded individuals who are working on the same tasks as yours on Drupal Groups. It is an online space where hundreds of groups come together to plan projects and work on them and also to organise local meetups or discuss anything for that matter. The Drupal community is also very active on IRC and Slack.

Running Drupal Tests

There is so much more in open source than just coding. Testing is one of the ways to contribute and there are so many things to test for and so many ways to help in Drupal (like reviewing patches).. For helping Drupal with testing, you need to have a keen eye for detail or just a knack for breaking things. Good testing directly contributes to the stability of the platform and is a preeminent way for individuals of all backgrounds to make a valuable contribution to the project.

Translating Drupal to Your Language

People get involved in Drupal from around the world. Drupal supports many languages, and there is always a need for contributions in translation. If you are the one who knows multiple languages, you can contribute by helping to maintain Drupal core or contribute to module translations. All the translations are managed on the Drupal.org translation server. You can start contributing by logging in with your Drupal account and join the relevant language team. 

Designing and Usability

If you are into design and graphics, you can help with a lot of projects who need work in their logo designs, icons and other graphics that are visually appealing. Being a designer, you first need to find yourself a project whose goals you understand and relate to. A designer needs to focus and make sure that they understand users' needs. There is Drupal’s usability group where you can create, discuss and plan great Drupal UX designs

Making A Donation

There are so many people who want to contribute but don't have the time. So, if you want to say "thank you" to the folks who have put hard work into making Drupal what it is and ensure that Drupal's infrastructure stays healthy and strong, you can consider a monetary donation! Donations are also a part of the contributions that take Drupal forward in many ways. During the uncertain times, like the current Covid-19 pandemic, Dries Buytaert has pledged $100,000 in individual contributions to the Drupal Association. After a week of taking this pledge, 29 organizations of the Drupal community pledged another $100,000. Now, for every $1 you donate, Drupal gets $3. To donate to #DrupalCares visit the donation page of Drupal association.

Marketing Drupal

Marketers love the various marketing tools as they help them get better analytics and also effectively streamline their work benefits. Drupal provides easy integration with marketing automation tools which is a plus for marketers! Marketers can freely produce convincing and more powerful campaigns in their native languages. Drupal marketing group for the branding and marketing committee is open for all the marketers out there!

Organizing An Event

You can do your bit for Drupal by organizing events in your area. There are many types of Drupal events, starting from the colossal and comprehensive DrupalCons that are organized by the Drupal Association, to smaller local DrupalCamps and local Drupal Group meetings. DrupalCon unifies experts from around the world who create progressive digital experiences that include keynotes & sessions for leaders, developers, and end-users, summits & training industry-focused to elevate your skills. Drupical displays all the Drupal events and you can also check out local Drupal groups and stay updated on what events are taking place.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to contribution: from individuals gaining knowledge and expertise, to organisations building stronger more productive teams, to the broader open source community as a full. Drupal is continuously growing in government, higher education and the enterprise state.

Even the smallest of contributions count on Drupal. The feeling when you see your name appear on a project is beyond words. 
So, are you ready to leave your legacy? Ping us at [email protected] to be a part of the growing number of Drupal contributors.

Apr 24 2020
Apr 24

This is part one of a two-part series on different ways and benefits of contributing to an open-source project. In the first part, we will look at the perks of contributing to an open-source project. In the second part of this article, we will explore the Drupal project, one of the largest open-source projects with a thriving community, and the ways to get involved with it.

We are all looking for online learning platforms to enhance our skills. We are also sometimes confused if it is ok to be investing online. Well, that’s where open source projects come in. 

Open source enables us to innovate and grow with the digital pace. 

Multiple words like Open source, Drupal, Contribution, contributor etc are stacked togethe


Companies don't just seem to be using it but also contributing to open source projects to steer growth and revenue. Contributing to an open source can be a rewarding way to build your experience and skills.

According to Red Hat's the State of Enterprise Open Source survey, which was published in April 2019, 99 percent of IT leaders believe that open source software is important to their enterprise IT strategy.

As outlined in his influential essay on the subject, Why Open Source (which itself draws from David Wheeler's seminal paper, Why Open Source Software), Ben Balter states: "Open source isn’t a fad, or a bunch of hippies get in California passing around tie-dye laptops like they'd illicit substances. Open source is how modern organisations and increasingly more traditional organisations build software."

Contributing to an open-source project

To see what it means to contribute to an open-source project, let’s take a look at the Firefox project. There are many fun and impactful ways to get involved with Firefox.

You can make both technical and non-technical contributions to Firefox. Technical contribution includes coding, documentation and designing whereas the non-technical contributions include helping in the user forums, replying to queries and also reviewing contributions. 

The Firefox browser has thousands and thousands of lines of source code and information on how to use those codes, for example into a web browser. Anyone who wants to contribute to Firefox can make changes to the source code and then build a customised version of it. They can then send the customised version back to the main project maintainers. 

There is so much more in an open-source project than coding, which includes the user interface, user experience (UX), usability.

The open source community needs you

The open-source community needs contributions from diverse set of people.

Developers

There are a lot of developers who believe that coding should be open. The code will be exposed to everyone naturally and makes them focus on making it readable. 

Lots of open source contributors start by being users of software they contribute to. After you find a bug in an open source software you use, you'll want to have a look at the source to work out if you'll patch it yourself. If that’s the case, then contributing the patch back is the best way to make sure that your friends (and yourself after you update to the subsequent release) are going to be ready to enjoy it.

Designing

A Designer’s perspective to look at a project is completely different from others.

They make sure that everybody performing on the project understands users’ needs and stays focused on them because the community makes decisions. Open source projects need designers as much as any other contributor. 

If your niche lies under designing, you can always contribute to user experience and help a lot of projects who need help. 
It is very important for a designer to find a project whose goals they really support and understand. 

Writing

Writers are very valuable to the open-source community. Because, the members have to contribute and communicate remotely and more often than not, in a non-native language. 

Documentation, especially on open source projects, is never up-to-date.

Although, it is one of the easy ways to contribute to any open source project. 

It is a part of the open-source projects which is often overlooked. The topics should be very easy for the writers. Text assets and translations also present an easy entry.

For instance, Drupal provides all sorts of writing and editing of documentation including community documentation, help pages within the core Drupal software, blog posts and more.

Contributing to Drupal as a writer will help you gain experience in technical writing and editing. 

It’s ok to not code

Whatever your reason is to avoid coding, there are always plenty of other contributions you can make! 

There’s a lot of administrative work too. So, coding is optional. For the coders, who don’t want to code, they can help users on forums, reply to issues, translate tutorials, review contributions and much more which is as important in the open source community as coding. You can always write a blog post or publish your designs which is as important as any other contribution if you find the right project. You can also get involved in marketing, which is often lacking in open source projects. If you are able to contribute to it, you benefit the complete project and the community behind it.  

Then there is the legal part which majorly concerns the large projects. There are many lawyers who have volunteered their time for open source projects, primarily. 

You do not have to be worried or scared if you’re not capable of doing the above-mentioned things, the least you can do is report errors that you find in a project. And remember, every contribution is valuable. 

Now that we know that contributing to an open source can be a great way to augment your skills, let’s talk about the benefits of being an open source contributor.

Benefits 

A puzzle-like illustration with words like open source, gratitude, learn, opportunity and reputation written on them


Contributing is fun

It will be a project that you have chosen, so you can enjoy it a bit more. When you contribute to an open source project, you get to know new people who are working on the same project. You can learn from them, and exchange ideas with them. You might also get to use stuff that you probably can’t in your day job.

You increase your proficiency

It might be challenging at first, but you will slowly be able to identify and contribute to creating working solutions.

Contributing to an open source project can be a great exercise for someone looking for a career change. In an open source project, it doesn’t matter if you are a senior developer or a doctor or even a gardener. All that matters is the quality of your contribution. You will gain some valuable experience, once you prove yourself in an open source project.  And once you prove yourself in an Open Source project, you will have gained some valuable experience. You will be an established member of a community with a track record that anyone can check.

Contributing builds reputation

Behind every great open source software, there is a community that aims to make it even more popular. The advantage here is that you can improve your skills and get inspiration and support from like-minded people. If you are a freelancer, you can also increase your chance of being hired by professionals. Contributing to an open source project also increases the visibility of your other channels. 

The visitors on the project that you contribute to can learn about your youtube channel or find your LinkedIn profile and offer you a job.

By contributing to an open source project, you are actually creating a real-life resume that anyone can verify. You don’t have to contact your former employer or client. 

You might also get a paid offer if you’re really good at what you do.

You find new employees

If you do something creative, publish it as an open-source project and there might also be a chance that someone would want to work for you.

Helping them is helping yourself

Another advantage is that you gain gratitude when you contribute to a project. 

The thank-you notes and the reviews you receive are always worth your time and efforts. And it feels great when you see your name appearing in a project. And let’s not forget, the experience is the best CV.

Conclusion

Contributing to open source projects is free, it can be distributed and it can be modified. 

You can always get out of your comfort zone and experiment with your skills. If you are a doctor and want to code, do it. If you’re a coder and you want to design, the open source world is your canvas!

And if you value the idea of contributing to open source, you are worthy of earning recognition, and being a respected member of the community.

Ping us at [email protected] to know how you can be a part of a growing open source community.

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