Get with the Pattern: A better path to content architecture


Note: The Drupalcon video blacks out halfway through but we have the slides posted on Google Slides for reference!

We are here to save you from bad content architecture!

Drupal is an amazing content modeling tool but there are are no guardrails keeping you from creating a terrible content architecture. Bad architecture means a tax on everything you do for the life of your application.

You might have a bad content architecture if...

  • You have dozens of content types or vocabularies
  • You have dozens of fields on any given content type
  • You have a bunch of different entity types (Block, Paragraphs, ECK)
  • You have poorly named fields and content types that confuse your users

So what does a good content architecture even look like?

In recent years “Atomic design” principles and related methodologies have spread and been adopted by many organizations. Pattern Lab is one example of a popular tool that leverages this type of design thinking which really emphasizes breaking things into components. React.js, similarly, is known for breaking up the page into reusable modular components.

What we haven’t seen in the Drupal community is much of an emphasis on content patterns. Why not? Is every website implementation a special snowflake? We do see that many distributions attempt to establish a base content architecture. Let’s go a step further and say that there are content patterns that apply across *many* organizations and verticals that we could be taking advantage of right now.

In our session, Mediacurrent’s senior design Justin will cover some common design patterns he and his fellow designers use every day. Jay and Justin will then cover how we can apply these same patterns to content architecture so we aren’t reinventing the wheel on every project. We aren’t necessarily prescribing an exact solution but rather principles and ideas that will get your mind wrapped around the idea of using content patterns.


  • Common architecture problems

  • What is Atomic design?

  • Common design patterns

  • Get everybody using the same language

  • Applying patterns to our component library

  • Implementing content patterns with Paragraphs


About Our Presenters

Jay Callicott is currently the VP of Technical Operations for Mediacurrent and has 9 years of experience delivering enterprise solutions for Mediacurrent.

Jay is also an avid supporter and contributor to Drupal open source projects. Jay writes blogs on Drupal and given several Drupalcon talks in recent years including: “Top Drupal 8 Modules” at Drupalcon, Nasville, “Multilingual in Drupal 8” at Drupalcon, Baltimore and “Meeting Marketing Challenges with Automation and Drupal” at Drupalcon, Austin.

Justin Rent is a UI/UX Designer at Mediacurrent. With a diverse background in design, marketing, and front-end development Justin’s work allows him to thoughtfully connect the dots between user experience, Drupal as a CMS, and an organization’s business objectives. Justin writes blogs on various design-centric topics and teaches undergraduate web design courses at Keene State College as a adjunct professor.

Program tags

architecture, content strategy, design

Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019 - 11:45 to 12:15
606 | Level 6