min read
October 26, 2023
October 26, 2023

DrupalCon Lille 2023: What's New and Next!

DrupalCon Lille 2023: What's New and Next!
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Even though DrupalCon Lille is now over, the excitement and warm vibes still linger! It was an amazing experience being among numerous passionate Drupal enthusiasts from around the globe. The community's energy was infectious, and the learning opportunities were boundless.

With approx 1,300 attendees at the conference, we were fully immersed in captivating keynotes, engaging workshops, and informative sessions designed for everyone. Whether it was reuniting with old friends, making new connections, or just having a blast with enjoyable activities, DrupalCon Lille left us truly inspired.

Let's dive into some of the key highlights from our perspective!

BoF session on accelerated Drupal deliveries

A BoF session at DrupalCon Lille 2023

One of the main highlights at Lille was our BoF on Drupal Deliveries Acceleration — A Chat among Practitioners. We hosted a lively discussion within the Drupal community, diving into valuable recipes, processes, and best practices for speeding up Drupal projects. Our focus was on practical insights and knowledge-sharing, making it an enriching experience for everyone involved.

At the heart of our conversation was SPACE DXP, our open-source digital experience platform that can be customized to fit business needs. We delved into how SPACE DXP provides the right tools and community backing to expand Drupal projects swiftly. The BoF session was genuinely eye-opening, and the ideas and suggestions from our enthusiastic community have the potential to add more meaning and speed to projects.

Drupal's vision for the future

Drupal's open web manifesto

During his keynote at DrupalCon Lille 2023, Dries Buytaert talked about Drupal's history and the challenges it's facing. He shared a vision for Drupal's future, likening it to a charming village named Drupal, where anyone, regardless of their skills, could easily create their websites or web applications. In Drupal, inclusivity and having a voice for all was at the heart of the vision.

But when concerns arose about the closed-off nature of the web, the Drupal community united to craft the 'Open Web Manifesto.' It's a declaration of an unwavering dedication to an open and accessible web for everyone. This document embodies Drupal's commitment to principles like Freedom, Inclusion, Decentralization, Participation, and Empowerment.

Dries then talked about people who could help clear these challenges and brought in three members of the marketing committee. They discussed the importance of having a marketing committee to promote Drupal and shared their strategy's timeline. Dries emphasized Drupal's dedication to an open web and its efforts to enhance the builder experience. He also touched upon Drupal's investments in marketing to increase its visibility worldwide.

Privacy in digital product design

Design that safeguards privacy

Tarkesh Deva, a Senior UI/UX Designer at QED42, hosted a session titled 'Designing for Privacy: Balancing User Needs & Data Security.' In his talk, Tarkesh delved into the challenges of finding the right balance between user needs and data security in the design of digital products. He started by highlighting the importance of data privacy as a basic human right and how users anticipate digital products to respect their privacy.

He explained that users expect digital products to be user-friendly, reliable, fast, efficient, accessible, personal, and context-aware. However, achieving these features often involves collecting and using personal data. Tarkesh then shared practical tips on designing experiences that meet both user needs and data privacy concerns. This involves gathering only necessary data, granting users control over their information, and using data in a transparent and responsible manner.

He shared a project undertaken by QED42, involving the design of a user form for Laaha, a UNICEF initiative aimed at combating gender-based violence in emergencies. Laaha provides a virtual safe space for girls and women to access information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. It does so in a manner that's safe, culturally sensitive, and easily accessible.

The primary challenge revolved around ensuring the platform's ability to provide essential support while safeguarding the data privacy of vulnerable individuals. This success story testifies to the fact that it's indeed possible to create digital products that prioritize data privacy.

A commitment to accessibility and inclusion

Drupal's dedication to being accessible and inclusive was clear throughout the event. Dries reaffirmed this commitment in his keynote speech, and numerous sessions during the conference focused on these crucial subjects. For instance, Daniel Angelov tackled prevalent misconceptions about accessibility and emphasized its significance as a fundamental ethical duty.

AmyJune Hineline provided valuable insights into crafting presentations that are accessible, with a focus on making content understandable, easy to perceive, and robust. Jason Greenspan stressed the importance of digital inclusion, and Mathieu De Meue, a Drupal developer with Tourettes, shared his unique perspective and experiences, encouraging open communication and understanding in the workplace.

AI revolutionizing user experiences

Artificial intelligence (AI) took center stage in discussions at Lille, with attendees exploring how it could transform content creation, user experience, and search results. One of the most exciting AI applications in Drupal is its role in content creation. AI-powered tools have the potential to help produce high-quality content more quickly and efficiently. We can harness AI to generate blog posts, product descriptions, and social media content.

AI can enhance the user experience of Drupal websites in various ways. For example, AI-driven chatbots can offer personalized assistance to users, making it simpler and faster for them to find the information they're looking for. AI can also contribute to delivering more relevant and engaging search results, a feature we previously discussed in our blog series on Semantic Search.

Overall, the potential for AI in Drupal is vast. As AI technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more exciting applications of AI in Drupal in the years to come.

New and next

Drupal's commitment to improving the builder experience and investing in marketing for greater visibility are the new and next chapters in Drupal's journey. An enhanced experience opens new doors for a broader audience, making Drupal more accessible than ever.

Drupal's marketing efforts are set to increase its visibility on a global scale. By investing in marketing, Drupal aims to become more visible, attracting fresh faces as users and contributors. This move is exciting and will contribute to building a larger, more vibrant community.

DrupalCon Lille highlighted how meetups and camps are essential for users and developers of all levels to come together, learn, connect, and contribute to the Drupal community. Local groups are making efforts to make Drupal more accessible to people around the world, resulting in broader global participation and better use of resources, which was truly heartwarming.

As we conclude our Lille experience, we are left with renewed enthusiasm and a stronger connection with the principles that make Drupal so remarkable. We cherish the insights, discussions, and connections we've made.

Looking ahead, we can't wait to see Drupal’s progress and continue this wonderful journey at future DrupalCons. The community's warmth and dedication inspire us to keep exploring, learning, and sharing. Together, we have the power to shape the digital world for the better, and we're excited about the adventures that lie ahead in the world of Drupal.

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