Client Spotlight: Drupal

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 0 comments

client-spotlight-drupalAbout the Company

Drupal is an open source Content Management System that’s built, used and supported by an active community of people around the world. Effectively, it’s a piece of software that people use to build websites. Because Drupal is open source, it’s available for free, meaning that there’s no license fee to the software. In addition, people anywhere can – and do – make changes to the software. This setup has evolved into a large community of active contributors who help improve the software from all over the world.

Drupal is used by roughly 1.7 % of all websites in the world, amounting to more than a million websites. Websites using Drupal include whitehouse.gov, the City of London site, and Amnesty International.

Objectives

Twice a year, the Drupal community meets at DrupalCon. This is an event that facilitates the gathering of the large number of people involved in Drupal. As Drupal developers usually work virtually from locations around the globe, DrupalCon gives them an opportunity to meet face-to-face instead of only engaging over the internet. It also allows end users to learn more about Drupal in general, and make informed decisions on how to use it.

The conference serves as a mechanism to help the Drupal community grow. Its aim is to encourage collaborating and education, allowing end users to learn more so they can find more applications for it, or even to start using Drupal in the first place.

Dries Buytaert, Founder of Drupal, was to deliver the keynote presentation at March’s DrupalCon Chicago. The intention of the keynote was to educate and excite audience members about Drupal. Some of this presentation would also be directed at contributors and developers, and this part of the message was to fill decision makers in on the road map for the direction of the platform. Dries had to address all of these audiences, keeping everyone up-to-date with the information involved, as well as getting the audience excited about future developments.

Challenges

Any conference presentation, particularly a keynote one, has to be extremely engaging. Presentations of this type typically go on much longer than your average business presentation, and so steps have to be taken to ensure that the audience remains engaged for the whole length.

The audience at DrupalCon Chicago included developers and web designers, as well as businesspeople whose corporate sites were built on Drupal.  Because of this, audience members had different knowledge of how Drupal or web design in general works, and so the presentation had to be able to deliver these varying levels of detail. This posed a significant messaging challenge.

Dries commented:

I had to address an extremely varied audience with my keynote, and knew that it would be difficult to get the balance right, and address each of the different groups of audience members on the right level. m62 stepped in and offered to help me with my slides, and I jumped at the opportunity.

Solution

m62 stepped in to rework the original storyboards and fine-tune the messaging. This was done by making the presentation crisper, and ensuring that messages were both simplified and emphasised. One of the ways m62 simplified the presentation and cut down on content was by using videos in the presentation to compress certain points, enabling Dries to spend more time on other important points in his slides.

m62 also designed the slides in a visual way to ensure that the presentation would be engaging for a full hour, even given the mix of different people in the room.

Results

Dries Buytaert had this to say about the presentation:

m62 definitely contributed towards the success of my presentation. With the mix of target audiences, I really wanted to make sure that I used the right language when talking to the right people, and that I really got the balance right. And that’s something that m62 certainly helped me with. We were working to an extremely tight timeframe, and the m62 guys went above and beyond. Your team put in weekends, worked long days to get it done – it was cramped and it was intense, but we pulled it off.

I felt good at the end of the presentation, because the audience felt good about it. I talked to people about my keynote afterwards, and feedback was overwhelming positive. People even approached me to talk about it. They really understood the points I wanted to make, and I was able to excite them about the things I wanted to get across to them.

(Watch from 10 minutes onwards for Dries’ keynote:)

You can also read Dries’ blogpost about the event at his blog, buytaert.net.

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