Deconstructing Mozilla Add-ons

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So I didn’t sleep that well after reading some of the 3.2 feedback. Even they admit — some of these posts are just ridiculous but in many cases they make a lot of sense. We hear you.

Since the release of AMO 3.2, our team has been working hard to gather up all the feedback to make sure our next dot release will fix major pain points introduced by the reskin.

Jumping through the post-release blog posts, I did realize that most of the posts about AMO 3.2 were positive, and I relate to many in the community who either feel they weren’t heard or we were trying to shamelessly plug our own work. Not the case, but I understand the concern.

Truth is, 3.2 was just too big. This should have been AMO 4.0, and it overwhelmed a lot of people. We will be working on scaling back the amount of drastic changes we put out in our next dot releases. Also, to remind everyone, here are some places to track changes or plans for future releases so they aren’t surprises:

From a UI perspective, not much energy has been spent discussing exactly what we were trying to do, so I’ll try to explain. A primary goal was to make the site simpler for new users. Problem was that we sacrificed some functionality in key spots in order to achieve that simplicity — and this caused some veteran AMO users some headaches. We’re rolling most if not all of these changes back in 3.4.

This brings us to the root of our UI problem — there is an identiy crisis with AMO. The site is many things to many people:

  • A place where new users try to find add-ons to improve their browsing experience
  • A hub for advanced users to pick up on the lateast and greatest add-ons
  • An incubator for new features
  • A place where developrs can get feedback and statistics for their add-on
  • A tool we use to help QA popular extensions and ensure they meet quality and security guidelines

Trick is, and will continue to be, meshing these different identities together effectively without overcomplicating or oversimplifying the site. In our latest attempt, we oversimplified it and it was a mistake. Our next dot release, which will come out before Firefox 3, will sway things back the other way and address many of the concerns brought up by long-time AMO users.

Looking forward, many of our issues are cosmetic and fixable by updating our views. The backend and scalability work done in 3.2 is still there, and despite the obvious imbalance in the UI, our feet rest on a more stable platform.

So lastly — just a quiet and humble thank you to everyone who commented on our blogs, the forums or the wiki — we look forward to honoring your feedback with changes in 3.4 as we ramp up for the biggest Firefox release ever.

This Week on “The Decider”

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GW faces an eager press, dodging and deflecting as he spews buzzwords and hits on his objectives — liberty: 12 times, freedom: 10 times, terrorists: 6 times, prevail: 5 times.

Flash. Flash. After minutes of agonizing conference-izing The Decider delivers a shocker that nobody predicts.

Tune in next week when The Decider unveils more lameduck antics!