Dear Ditto,

I’m the communications assistant at a non-profit. We’re in the middle of upgrading to Drupal 8 and I’m curious about what that means for me, the person who spends the most time adding and editing content. Anything different or new I should know about?

Advice from:
Stephanie Todd
Content Strategist & Experience Architect

Drupal 8 has dropped a ton of new features, including vast improvements to the experience for developers building new sites and system administrators maintaining existing ones. But what about the experience for the folks like us that are going to use Drupal 8 everyday? What about us content editors?

I have good news for you. Drupal 8 includes a handful of improvements that will make your regular day-to-day tasks a little easier and more efficient. But not all of them are immediately noticeable, so here’s how you can get the most out of Drupal 8’s new content tools:

Leave Quick Edit turned on

One of the highly marketed features in Drupal 8 is Quick Edit, a tool that allows you to edit content directly on the page, without having to switch to the administrator panel. It’s a pretty straightforward and handy tool when you use it, but it does need to be toggled on at first, and can be easy to miss. In the upper right corner of the administrator toolbar, there is an “Edit” button that once clicked, will show a small pencil icon next to any editable content area on the page.

Note, the pencil icons can be a little hard to see as they are a light gray color by default.

And once you’ve turned on Quick Edit, it remains active as you navigate the site (as long as you’re logged in). If you find the already subtle pencil icons distracting, then don’t forget you have the ability to turn this feature on and off from the administrator toolbar that appears at the top of every page.

Don’t be afraid to use it on your phone

Typos are just reality. We all know it still happens with annoying regularity no matter how many rounds of review you do. Now you don’t need to be tethered to your laptop to fix any silly mistakes thanks to two big improvements.

The first is the very noticeable responsive design. In addition to giving you an interface that adapts to the size of your screen, the menus have eschewed the drop down menus that appeared on hover and that made mobile editing painful (since there’s no mouse to “hover” on a mobile device). The new menu also features larger touch targets to make tapping with your fingers a whole lot easier.

The second is a big under the hood improvement that, long story short, improves caching for users that are logged in (i.e., all us administrators and content editors). This means improved performance and faster load times when using the site, an especially useful improvement when using the site on slower connections, like 3G cellular for example.

Embrace the Shortcuts

Shortcuts are not a new feature in Drupal 8, but with the simplified administrator toolbar these quick actions get more prominent placement. And if you’re used to hovering over top-level menu items to see the links contained therein, you may be a little disappointed that with these new mobile friendly menus, you’ll now need to do a few more clicks or taps before you get to writing that new blog post or press release. But with Shortcuts available from the top-level administrator toolbar, you can add quick links to create specific types of content, jump to the most used sections of your site, and much more. It takes just a moment to add a new Shortcut, but it will save you some repeated (and annoying) clicking in the long run.

Drupal has made significant updates in the content administrator area in their latest major release, which reflects how much thought and effort went into improving and smoothing out the content authoring experience. We are content authors too, so we know how much time and effort it takes publishing and managing content on your website. Based on our experience building and launching several Drupal 8 projects recently, we’re confident you’ll enjoy the efficiency and utility of these changes.

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