Dropkiq Before and After

A before and after look at the end user experience of writing Liquid expressions with and without Dropkiq.

Adam Darrah
Feb 24, 2020 1:10 PM
Dropkiq Before and After

This blog post is a follow up to the post Adding Dropkiq to a RoR Application in 15 Minutes. Let’s examine a real-world example of how an end-user would write a Liquid expression before and then after adding Dropkiq to your website.

Since most of my readers are likely programmers, you must take a moment to pretend that you’re the end-user of your application (either an internal configuration employee or maybe even a customer). You write code every day, so things like reading technical documentation and writing dot notation syntax probably come second-hand to you. However, think about the person writing Liquid. They have probably never written a line of code in their life, and expect things to just work.

Before: A Blank Slate

PartnerHQ is a startup with a small team. Not unlike any other Ruby on Rails team, there is never enough time to accomplish everything the team wants to do, including enhancing the Liquid editing experience. With that said, there is no existing Liquid editing experience in PartnerHQ. Most likely, customers simply don’t even know this functionality exists in the application, except for a few cases where the team has written Liquid on their behalf for them. PartnerHQ has the same dream as many startups, which is for customers to understand the software and write their own Liquid.

Since Liquid ships out of the box without anything to help users, and the PartnerHQ team does not have time to help users either, the current Liquid experience is literally a blank slate. An empty textarea staring back at you.

If you were the user, how would you feel right now? What if you needed to write a tweet that had dynamic content to count down the days until your event? How would you even start? Reading this now, you might be thinking this is an unfair example, and you would be right because I’ll admit this is nearly impossible for users. However, this is a real example from the real world.

Enter Dropkiq

In the last post, we added Dropkiq to PartnerHQ in less than 15 minutes. Let’s take a look at the experience now. As a user, when I type {{, the text field automatically adds the closing }} and opens the Dropkiq menu.

Now, I want to write a post that includes the number of days until the event starts. Let’s do it!

When I click into the event object, Dropkiq automatically opens the new set of available options. I simply scroll down and choose the option that makes sense for me.

As a user, I can accomplish this in seconds. There was no need to go back and forth and reference documentation or write in a support ticket. Not bad considering this only took 15 minutes of my development time!

There are still a few actions PartnerHQ should take to have the best Liquid experience possible:

  1. Add documentation with in-depth descriptions of how Liquid works. With Dropkiq, this is optional. However, more help is always a nice thing to have. This might come in handy for users that want to understand how everything works.
  2. Add a hint in the UI to indicate to the user to type {{. It can be as simple as adding some text that says “Type {{ to explore more options”.

When you rely on Liquid, the more help the better! Dropkiq can be quickly and easily added to any application to instantly give your users confidence when writing Liquid. Whether you have extensive documentation or are currently doing literally nothing to help your users, we’re here to help you!

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