Getting involved in any community on a professional or personal level can be intimidating at first. How do you add value and contribute to something that already has so much community involvement, innovation, and growth? It’s easy to feel like you're trying to catch a runaway train. I feel like this is especially true for designers who want to get involved or even just learn about what is already happening.
I am new to Drupal. In fact, I barely ever heard of Drupal before I was fortunate enough to join the Drupalize.Me team as an interactive designer. And I may never have appreciated this amazing community if it weren't for my incredible colleagues—each of whom promotes contribution and collaboration. The absence of a similar experience could hold back many talented designers who might bring great new insights to the Drupal community. Not every designer has the advantage of working for Drupalize.Me, but I believe every designer relishes the idea of making a positive impact with his/her knowledge and skills. So how do designers get involved and not feel like they're trying to catch that runaway train?
Recently I had the good fortune of talking with Bojhan Somers and Lisa Rex. Both Bojhan and Lisa have had a huge impact on usability and design initiatives in the Drupal community, and our conversation proved to me, once again, just how passionate this community really is. I connected with them to learn how I could personally get involved and contribute. Before our call, I performed a fair number of Google searches (e.g., “how to get involved as a designer in Drupal”) and I still felt lost. We discussed this issue during our conversation, and it has become the new focus of my initial contribution to the Drupal community.
Over the next several months, I will be working closely with Bojhan, lisa, and other talented people to produce a site that clearly outlines how designers can get involved. The site will also identify initiatives underway. It will hopefully eliminate the feeling of trying to catch that runaway train and give designers the head start they need.
In the meantime, I would love to hear how or where you (designer or not) learned to get involved in Drupal. What resources would have made this process easier? Leave your comments below!