Hi everybody, welcome! This blog post is more of a case study to display my latest concept of the new Joomla Extensions Directory (JED). The reason I’ve designed this concept in the first place is that, in my opinion, the Joomla Extensions Directory can MAKE or BREAK the entire Joomla! Project.
Important note: Please note that every criticism I’ll post here, doesn’t mean in any case I think the JED team is doing a bad job. On the contrary, the JED team consists of volunteers who put their precious time into making the Joomla ecosystem better.
The vast majority of Joomla’s users are not full-fledged developers, so they constantly rely on extensions to complete their projects. In my opinion, the current JED is not good due to two major issues:
- Lacking user-experience and interface – Browsing the JED and finding the right extension is not simple, and not fun. The interface is not user-friendly enough, the design is not pretty, modern or aesthetic, and it compromises the entire experience.
- It does not reward its developers – As an extensions developer, I’d not consider the JED as my top source of marketing. Introducing new extensions to the JED and getting traffic and traction is almost impossible. Even if the extension is magnificent. The reason for that is the poor rating system installed, the ordering of extensions in their category, and the fact there aren’t any promotions for new and noteworthy extensions in the form of a “Trending” widget or something else.
Issue number two worth dwelling into: In the real world, businesses are the sole innovators that drive the economy, communities or nations forward. It is the exact same thing with Joomla. If developers become discouraged from bringing the community forward by developing new extensions and improving the older, Joomla will die. And we can already start seeing this happening today. That is the worst thing that can ever happen to the project. The JED MUST BE a huge helper to the businesses who innovate in Joomla. If we succeed in that, Joomla will thrive almost automatically.
Before digging into the designs, please note that extension names, developers, scores or types may be incorrect, as I used these for display purposes only. If your extension is shown and you wish it wasn’t, email me and I’ll change it.
Here Comes the Concept!
I’ve considered both major issues of the current JED as listed above in the entire process, got some inspiration from Google Play and the Apple App Store, and have come up with a beautiful solution for the new JED.
The website is flat designed and uses the colors of the Joomla!
brand (with slight variations). And three interface (UI) Colors.
For typography, I’ve used ‘Open Sans’ (free Google font).
An extremely readable and very popular free font.
The icons are Icomoon’s Ultimate Package (I have a license, don’t worry) - https://icomoon.io/#preview-ultimate
As I mentioned earlier, helping developers expose GOOD new extensions is key. Hence, a trending widget at the top, followed by a popular extensions widget, and a new extensions widget.
Expose extensions right from the homepage!
Your Extension Got Popular?
You Should Be Rewarded!
If you have created a good extension, one that tops the others, you should be rewarded. The new JED features you on its homepage, as a popular extension of a specific category, thus providing more exposure and helping your business (if it’s good) grow!
These should be focused on exposing as many extensions as possible and, provide new and noteworthy extensions their rightful place. The hero is shorter, you get filters, and scrolling down will constantly load more extensions (infinite scroll).
Exposure Combined with
The trending widget follows and shows the trending extensions from this specific category. Again – Exposure for new and noteworthy extensions is key.
In addition, enhancing the browsing experience is easy by adding a few filtering and sorting options to the page.
The extension pages focus on two areas: Providing as much detail as possible on the extension (text, Images, Video, Q&A, Reviews and more) and again – more exposure for the developer’s business, and other extensions.
A New, Simple Rating System
Introducing a new and simpler breakdown of the score. The current system has many flaws, such as leaving support blank (because the user didn’t need any) immediately drops the total score.
A simple rating system with a full display of the score and reviews breakdown takes place.
In addition, submitting a review in the current JED is hard work. You need to sign up with a username (bad as is) and confirm it via email. Then fill out tons of fields. And on top of that, the JED website is extremely slow, so the entire process is frustrating, causing people to simply not add reviews.
Oh, and if you’ve forgotten your password It’ll take you about 10 minutes to recover.
Questions & Answers
A section with frequent questions and answers from the developer itself is a must. Users browsing for extensions usually leave the JED to visit the extension project page to find more answers. While this behavior is normal, we want to provide them as much detail as possible, so they can make better decisions and navigate more easily.
Again, the more exposure the JED provides to its developers, the more it provides help to their businesses. If the JED is a major help to developers’ businesses, we’ll have more developers, more extensions and more competition, which will boost the entire Joomla project.
My JED exposes greater detail about the developer, their website, and their business. And, it even features their Facebook page, website and other social pages right on their extension pages.
Interface Elements & Features
All the features to help users navigate easily.
Live Ajax Search Engine
An AJAX search engine (live search and results) is implemented. This search engine makes searching for extensions quick and easy. It features 6 leading results, and a button to open additional results (opens on the same panel with a scrollbar).
The search engine is a part of the header, so we can perform a search from any page of the JED. The search input grows when focusing it, providing better user experience.
It also features an option to filter and sort extensions by price, popularity, trendiness and more.
A panel that opens after clicking on “Discover Joomla” on the top menu. This panel features generally categorized links to various Joomla resources, as well as a download and demo buttons.
The panel is scrollable, so there isn’t a limit to how many links or categories we can put in.
Now, new potential Joomla users that visit the JED to explore its extensions, will have easy access to other Joomla related information.
Clicking on “Browse Categories” from any page opens a drop-down of all the JED’s categories. This provides a quick and easy way to navigate through the JED’s enormous database.
JED Links Dropdown
Even though browsing through extensions is the JED’s main job, there’s a lot more to read, learn and do. This drop-down provides additional information about the JED, its team, and other important links.
Login / Signup Popup
We must make the login, password reset and signup process MUCH quicker and simpler. The simpler the process is, the higher the chances people will interact with the JED and submit reviews.
Social login options and an AJAX live interface for signup, login, and password reset, from a single popup, just like I have here on Ekerlabs should do the trick.
A Wishlist is a feature the current JED already has. Thing is, I just discovered it this week when I was exploring the JED in depth to develop this concept. This means the Wishlist (favorites in today’s JED) is not accessible enough, which is unfortunate.
That’s it for now guys. Obviously, there are many more pages and elements that need to be designed. I’ve focused on the bigger elements and the most pressing issues.
Hope you had fun reading this!