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Less is more: adventures in text-only Drupal

Session Category Theming, Design, & Usability Room Room 325 Audience Intermediate Time Slot Fri 10:00am to 10:45am (9/15/23)

Drupal founder Dries Buytaert once claimed that Drupal is for ambitious digital experiences. But ambition doesn't always skew large. While availability and affordability of high-speed internet access is improving worldwide, many still access the web on sub-3G connections, or under the constraint of data caps. With the median page weight across the web now breaching two megabytes, the digital team at Human Rights Watch wanted to chart a course in the opposite direction: find a way to deliver the full weight of our reporting, in as few bytes as possible.

In this session, we'll peek under the hood of HRW Text Version, a full-featured alternative browsing experience for that's 1% of the size and 100% built in Drupal. We'll answer appropriately compact questions, including:

  1. Why?
  2. How?
  3. How long?
  4. Did it hurt?
  5. Can I?

Answers: (1) Reach & accessibility; (2) Theme negotiation; (3) Astonishingly quickly; (4) A little; (5) Yes!

About the Speaker

Les Lim

Web Developer at Human Rights Watch


Les is more than just a pithy aphorism! Once an organizer of Twin Cities Drupal Camp, Les has been a supporter and promoter of Drupal since version 4.7. After over a decade of developer experience for (seemingly) half of the Drupal agencies in Minneapolis, he now works on the Digital team at Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization that investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world.