3 Tips for Client Friendly Paragraphs in Drupal 8
We, the website development team at Texas Creative, are big fans of the Paragraphs Module. For the last couple of years, it has become a larger and larger part of our Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 websites. In this post, I will give three tips we’ve discovered that make Paragraphs even easier for the end-user to use, in our case clients.
What is the Paragraphs Module?
To quote the Paragraph module description page: “Instead of putting all their content in one WYSIWYG body field including images and videos, end-users can now choose on-the-fly between predefined Paragraph Types independent from one another.”
In short, it helps Drupal do structured, repeatable content even better than before. The end-user doesn’t need any technical HTML skills. The web designer can design specific sections/layouts of content and give tremendous flexibility to the end-user to edit, create, or reorder without compromising the design integrity. If you aren’t using this module in your Drupal 8 builds, you are really missing out.
Tip 1: Add Publishing options to an Individual Paragraph
Who knew you could add the “Published” checkbox to each paragraph in the Manage Form Display for the Paragraph Type by just dragging the “published” field out of the Disabled section and then setting its widget to ‘Single On/Off Checkbox’? After this is set up, the paragraph is only displayed when the box is checked. This is useful for content like slides on a rotator block which may need to be taken out of rotation for a time and then reinstated. This feature has been in Paragraphs for a long time but isn’t completely obvious.
Tip 2: Rename Your Paragraphs Field Titles
Most of our clients aren’t familiar with Drupalisms, so the term “Paragraphs” can be a bit confusing on a content edit form. It doesn’t explain what exactly is being added. The Paragraphs module maintainers luckily anticipated this and provided a way to customize the user-facing language.
On the parent entity’s Manage Form Display tab, where you setup your Paragraphs reference field, you can customize the singular and plural for the Title of the field. This changes the interface wherever the word “Paragraphs” would normally appear and is customizable on each Paragraph field.
We often add Paragraph types that are interchangeable, full-width areas below the main page content. The word “Panel” just fits what they are so we change the title to “Panel”. To an experienced Drupal developer “Panels” is a very different thing, but to our clients “Panels” are those flexible, repeatable, full-width areas they can add to the bottoms of their pages. It makes much more sense to them than “Paragraphs”.
Tip 3: Add Contextual Links to Paragraphs
As more Paragraphs are added to a piece of content, it quickly becomes difficult to edit due to the size and complexity. A simple solution to this is to install the Paragraphs Edit module on your site. This module adds contextual links to individual paragraphs to edit, delete and clone. Now the end-user can hover the paragraph on the frontend of the site and see options to edit a single paragraph without needing to edit the entire page worth of paragraphs. Note: The 2.x-dev version has more compatibility with complex paragraphs and advanced features, but requires Drupal 8.3 or higher.
Importance of User Experience with Paragraphs
For us and our clients, any criticisms of Drupal’s out-of-the-box experience become irrelevant since we don’t leave it that way. The work has to be put into the client experience just like it is the site visitor experience. The accumulation of these kinds of small wins in user experience add up to a happy client. So, customize your customers’ Paragraphs experience.