AMO – preview of coming attractions

Earlier this year, the addons.mozilla.org (AMO) team launched a long-awaited, major rework of the AMO site, called Project Remora. With that behind us, we have been working diligently on AMO v3.2. The goal is to:

  • Simplify site interactions and provide a cleaner look
  • Based on traffic to the site, about 50% of site visits involve a search for a particular add-on. So, make search prominent and optimize the results.
  • Most users come to the front page of AMO looking for Firefox add-ons, so demote the multi-application aspect of AMO (while still providing Thunderbird, Sunbird and SeaMonkey users access to their add-ons).
  • Rework the categories and “types” system to provide a simpler install/search experience
  • Create a two-tier recommendation system such that we can have add-ons recommended for particular categories (Editor Picks) as well as AMO Front Page (Featured) Add-ons

Below are a few mockups of what we have in store.

Our plan is to rollout these changes during early December.

Looking forward to your feedback and participation.

 AMO Start Page

AMO Start Page


 Full Listing Page

AMO Listings Page


Details Page

AMO Details  Page

22 responses

  1. mrtech wrote on :

    I know these are mock-ups, etc, but please reduce the massive firefox add-ons logo header that steals so much screen real estate? thanks.

  2. Myk Melez wrote on :

    Overall I like the colors and organization, and I think it’s a good idea to focus on those three pages (home, search results, details).

    One issue: you mentioned demoting the multi-application aspect while still giving users of other apps access to their add-ons, but I don’t see any way for those users to get to their add-ons. It seems like the home page should have some navigational elements for getting to those add-ons, even if they aren’t front and center.

    And a request: it looks like I can now enter the number of items I want to see per page into a textbox. It would be great if that box allowed me to enter more than the current limit of 50 items, since the find-as-you-type and progressive loading features of modern browsers like Firefox makes it much easier to load all search results in one page and then browse partial results or use find-as-you-type to find the add-on(s) I’m looking for than clicking “next page” over and over again.

  3. Callek wrote on :

    I understand the efforts to marginalize the non-Firefox addons, but I don’t even see any access to the other application add-ons through that UI mockup (other than perhaps DIRECT URL editing) which imho is just NOT OK.

    at least the front page should have access to the other apps, “above the fold” (even if visual attention is not at them).

    Secondly, imho it would be good to devise a solution to why AMO is unnusable practically for most SeaMonkey *users* currently. This because even when searching for SeaMonkey only addons, results pages are frequently over-populated with Firefox only addons, even by AMO’s own addon-on recognition, and said addons won’t install into SeaMonkey (even trunk).

    I’d love to hear solutions to my two comments here, even if it is in private mail.

  4. Simon wrote on :

    Wow, thanks for making AMO absolutely useless for non-Firefox applications like Thunderbird, SeaMonkey or Sunbird.

    The frontpage mockup gives the user absolutely no indication that this page is about anything else than Firefox addons. And since AMO is the only addon page that is whitelisted by default in all applications based on Gecko 1.9, that will a major headache for users of non-Firefox applications.

    You know, there are also very popular extensions for non-Firefox applications as well. Lightning alone got nearly 1.2 million downloads since its creation 2 years ago, 820000 of those downloads coming via AMO.

    If you want to create a Firefox-only AMO page, then please state this clearly, so that nobody gets delusions about AMO being a place for the Mozilla Project as a whole. I also recommend renaming AMO to AFC (addons.firefox.com) as this hits nearer to the mark than the current name.

  5. zac spitzer wrote on :

    i still think a install “shopping cart” is *the* missing link for A.M.O

    installing 10 addons at once is a paid in the proverbial..

  6. Ville wrote on :

    Looks great!

    What kind of heads-up time are you planning on giving the localizers? I suspect there’s some new string work there…?

  7. Dao wrote on :

    “demote the multi-application aspect of AMO (while still providing Thunderbird, Sunbird and SeaMonkey users access to their add-ons).”

    -1

    Especially for Thunderbird, the sheer existence of extensions needs to be communicated much better.
    If anything, you should expand the multi-application aspect of addons.mozilla.org(!). I don’t buy that it’s impossible to do that while — for obvious reasons — still focusing the start page mainly on Firefox.

  8. Brian King wrote on :

    I like it. Much cleaner layout, and the colour scheme suits too.

  9. »Q« wrote on :

    IMO, demoting the multi-app aspect is a bad move. Firefox users may see the current page and think, “Cool, Thunderbird* has these cool extension things too. Maybe I should try it.”

    If there’s evidence that their prominence is actually hampering Firefox users, sure, demote. But if it’s just a matter of gaining some space, I think the space is well-used to promote other Mozilla apps.

    * Substitute Sunbird or even SeaMonkey if you like.

  10. bhashem wrote on :

    @mrtech: OK, will talk to designer and see what we can do about reducing the site of the top banner.

    @myk: The final design actually has a dropdown box with 5,10,20,50,100 items so there should be less page turning.

    @myk/@Simon/@Dao/@Q re: demotions of apps: I think I chose the wrong word “demote” to reflect what I was intending. Sorry.

    The current plan (not reflected in the mockups) is to have text links in the footer that leads to the other supported applications. My intention with the “demotion” was actually to reduce dependencies between the applications hosted on AMO. Based on the traffic access patterns, we DON’T see that much app switching…

    My thought was to have completely separate instances (seamonkey.addons.mozilla.org or whatever) so that each app & community supporting that app would have the flexibility to do what they like, e.g. set their own list of recommended add-ons, in the future (if we have support for AMO skins) that each app decide on its own look-and-feel, etc. What I believe needs to happen is to change the doorway to the site, e.g. why can’t we register DNS CNAMEs and direct users to the “SeaMonkey” add-ons area instead of having them navigate and switch between apps.

    AMO is a Mozilla project that should be shared across all Mozilla apps and I have every intention to make sure that’s the case. What I’m trying to do is give autonomy, flexibility while balancing a simplified user experience.

  11. Clint Talbert wrote on :

    re: separate instances for each app & community
    While I like this idea in theory, I’d like to know how this will be managed? Who will do site creation? Will there be some kind of template where the community members can configure it to their needs/desires? Or will they be responsible for coding it from the ground up? Will these domains (seamonkey.addons.mozilla.org) be hosted on the same system as the Firefox.addons.mozilla.org? If not, why not, and who’s going to administer those boxes?

    All the community projects are strapped for people and time, and I don’t see forcing more responsibility onto already overburdened people to be a viable solution.

    In general, I think that the lesson to be learned here is that when working with Mozilla properties like AMO, we should *always* take cycles to address how the rest of the community fits in with this effort. Obviously, Firefox has the most add-ons and will be the most visible piece of the new Add-Ons redesign. But, not taking the other community projects into account when doing this really drives a rift between “Firefox” and “everything else”. And that is extremely counterproductive to the Mozilla Vision.

  12. bhashem wrote on :

    @Clint: It would still be hosted by Mozilla and supported by the AMO team on the same servers. Think of it like shared web hosting at an ISP. It’s just that there’s little interaction between the different hosted accounts. You can still have single add-ons that support multiple apps.

    Any work that is done for AMO (core) will be reaped by the other apps as well. E.g. It will still have a shared user database – no need to create multiple databases.

    For example, with Thunderbird, I think that having only 3 recommended add-ons and an arduous install process is hurting Thunderbird add-on pickup. I’m working David Ascher to help alleviate this but it’ll take some time. TB might have special requirements that are not needed by Firefox in the future and segregating the sites somewhat will make it easier to deal with these exceptions.

    We are not abandoning these apps at all.

  13. Jesper Kristensen wrote on :

    All in all looks great. A few questions:

    I only see the “Full Listing Page” of the category view – Great! I hope that means that you have dropped the “second front page” for each category.

    Since themes now seems to be one category among the extension categories, does that mean that there will be no categories for different types of themes?

    Things I would like to see:

    * Visual browsing of themes instead of textual

    * More stable dictionary page

  14. Dao wrote on :

    bhashem: Thanks for the clarification, that makes more sense. “Text links in the footer” doesn’t read like those links will be actually discoverable, though. Just add them to the header or a menu where they are visible without scrolling, and try to avoid the faintest gray and the smallest font size. Maybe even icons. This is absolutely not needed for sub pages, but the start page is a different story. Actually, why make the global start page focus on Firefox anyway? addons.mozilla.org could be the gateway for all supported apps that would be listed equally. In-product links could point to product.addons.mozilla.org directly.

  15. Callek wrote on :

    to further Dao’s last comment (nov 7 3:07 pm)…

    I like it, for all that matters to me, Firefox can be big and “bold” on that start page too, and have a (new) default page at “firefox.addons.mozilla.org”

    *and* even allow direct redirect for “all but front-page” of “http[s]://addons.mozilla.org/*” to go to firefox.amo itself.

    but I’m not as fond of `hard to discover` “non-firefox uses” to AMO.

  16. tinus wrote on :

    Will this version finally actually have signed add-ons? The dialog warns me that add-ons are dangerous, especially unsigned ones, but I’ve never seen a signed one.

  17. Roni Ziv wrote on :

    One of the things I miss most on AMO is the ability to sort the search results by some parameters. Sorting is available on the browse add-ons category page but for some reason is missing on the search results page.

  18. Wil Clouser wrote on :

    Ville

    Looks great!

    What kind of heads-up time are you planning on giving the localizers? I suspect there’s some new string work there…?

    So far no string changes. We’ll give localizers a heads up as soon as possible if we make any changes.

  19. Robert Kaiser wrote on :

    I think the demoting of apps is a bad idea from app designers, users and extension dev view.

    app designers:
    Where the hell is our space now, are we completely excluded from the Mozilla vision now? That would be a point to increase the hatred some community folks are seeing against MoCo currently.

    users:
    Damn, I can’t find Thunderbird or Sunbird extensions. They probably don’t exist anyways. Thunderbird sucks because it doesn’t have X. Sunbird sucks because Y doesn’t work. (He couldn’t find that extensions exist that do those things).
    What the f*** do those damn SeaMonkey devs tell me when I come to a Firefox Add-Ons page when I use their suite? SeaMonkey sucks. Firefox is annoying because it shows up everywhere even if I don’t use it. (he accessed addons.mozilla.org, btw.)

    extension devs:
    Why should I upload my extension that works for all of SeaMonkey, Thunderbird and Firefox to three Add-Ons sites? I probably will only upload to one of them, matching the product I like best or use. Mozilla sucks.

  20. Gary Kwong wrote on :

    I’d like to second the thoughts of those who speak on behalf of Thunderbird, Sunbird / Lightning, SeaMonkey and the like.

    I’m absolutely appalled at how incredibly Firefox-centric the new AMO would become. Yes, Firefox is a great product. I acknowledge that. Yes, I use Firefox and its extensions. But here Mozilla wants to portray that I actually have to scrutinize every single *fine print* to find the extensions for my email client / calendar?

    It was mentioned that there were *only* three extensions … But by citing this as a reason, extension authors all the more no longer have an incentive to write extensions since there’s virtually no easy way to navigate to download the extensions.

    It should be made easier to access add-ons for the other products, not harder. This way, there is actually a step back for add-ons sites. Is there really going to be multiple add-on sites? Whatever happened to the concept of one site for all?

  21. kl wrote on :

    Are there so many differences in the requirements for an AMO site for Firefox, compared to the AMO site for Thunderbird, compared to the AMO site for Sunbird, etc… ?

    Ok, the method of installation is a big one. And it must be solved. But beyond that ?

    If it is only a number of highlighted add-ons, let’s put it as a parameter… Any other difference should be handled as a parameter. Not as different account or site.

    IMHO, all AMO sites should have different style sheets but the same functions (installation method apart).

    So, please share the same database, the same pages, and just pass the name of the software (FF, TB, SB or whatever) as a parameter for each page, that triggers the displayed addons, the style sheet, and the installation method. And even with doing that, you still can have separate URLS like firefox.addons.mozilla.org, or thunderbird.addons.mozilla.org

    And solve the installation method issue. This is the biggest issue to me for other apps than Firefox.

    This being said, I like the mockups. But please, just add a visible link to other apps, and as already said, apply the same changes that you propose to all applications.

    The needs are the same.. except some manageable by parameters… and bloody installation method 🙂

    Thank you.

    PS: and a last thought: could a similar feature be included in every product that has an addons.mozilla.org page, like a built-in notifier for new addons (not updated ones) ? Not an RSS flows, there are ones but they need to be set up. But something set at software installation: “Do you know that tons of addons are available there ? Do you want to be notified of newly created addons” ?
    This is pretty obvious in the post-installation page of Firefox, but not for other products.
    But maybe it is a silly proposal 🙂

  22. Murphy wrote on :

    Are there plans for for creating a section around bundles (themes AND extensions) for Firefox. Today, we have to split our bundles into two to fit the current AMO structure.