In preparation for the upcoming Firefox 3, Addons.Mozilla.Org (AMO) is being redesigned and updated. The biggest change is a new ‘visual refresh’ and redesign of the layout. Below is a preview of the new AMO design via Mozilla Links:
By default when you arrive at AMO it is setup to search for Firefox extensions. At the top right is an Other Applications button/menu which will allow you to choose from Thunderbird, SeaMonkey (former Mozilla Suite) and Sunbird (Mozilla’s calendar project). This simple integrating of these options into a single drop-down menu really makes a for cleaner look. Unlike the present version of AMO, categories will be listed along the left column instead of on top.
The search option is very prominently displayed now on top, but as Percy pointed out “…it can only be filtered by extension category and not by add-on type (dictionary, plugin, theme, extension, search plugin) or theme style, which can result in too many irrelevant results”. This is a bit disappointing, perhaps they will an ‘advanced search’ in the future that will allow you to filter by add-on type. On the plus side though, any add-ons currently pending approval (in the sandbox) will still be displayed in the search and category views. These add-ons will have pink border around them and stamped “Experimental”.
The search result/category view has also been changed a little in this version. Actually, all they did was flip-flop the text and screen shot. However, the add-on page has undergone a major redesign. I’ll use FoxyTunes on Thunderbird as an example [NEW | OLD]. On the new layout, the first section is divided into three columns. The first column has one image of the add-on along with the overall rating, number of downloads and reviews. The center column still contains a brief description of the add-on as well as download instructions/link. In this new AMO version, is a third column which allows users to submit a quick review and rating. This column will also will list additional add-ons (if any) by that author and links to add-ons in the same category (Firefox only).
The More Images section displays all the images for the add-on (prior these were on their own page accessible via a link). Below this is the Long Description, the more detailed description of the add-on. Finally is the Reviews section, which displays a couple of the reviews with a link for the rest. However, there is one last section called Advanced Details which for some odd reason is collapsed by default. There is an ‘expand’ link to the right to view this section. The Advanced Details includes comments from the developer, a link to the developer’s home page and the current (and past) add-on versions.
The one thing I noticed, or in this case didn’t notice is application version compatibility requirement. For example on the old AMO you would see works with Firefox: 1.5 – 2.0.0.* or Thunderbird: 1.5 – 2.0.0.*. So I am wondering if this new AMO site is only going to be for Firefox 3 and latest versions of Thunderbird, SeaMonkey and Sunbird. I’ll have to dig around some more in the developer blogs and see if anyone else has brought this up.
In conclusion, the new AMO redesign is visually pleasing and organized very well. Again I echo the complaint of Percy in that you can not filter your search by add-on type. That and the lack of information on application version compatibility requirements are the only complaints I have about the new design. I did like they will include sandbox/experimental add-ons in the search and category results. I don’t see there being as many complaints and anxiety with this redesign as there was with the previous redesign around this time last year. Part of the anxiety then could been attributed to the introduction of the sandbox, not to mention a major overhaul of the AMO design.
See the new AMO Preview Site.
News Source: Mozilla Links