We’re proud to announce that, later today, we’ll be launching the beta version of our new Magneto Connect design. This new design isn’t the “Magento Connect 2.0” project you’ve heard about, but rather a series of design upgrades that will help to prepare the way for MC 2.0, as well as create a better user experience for users and developers.
In this redesign, we’ve enhanced several existing tools, as well as introduced new features that will bring more merchants into the marketplace. We believe these improvements will drive a new era of growth for Magento Connect, and ultimately, the more merchants we have using Magento Connect, the more it enriches our growing magento-connect extension developer community.
Here is an overview of some of the major changes. If you have any feedback or ideas, please feel free to contact us @magetoconnect on Twitter.
New Logo & Heading
We now have a new MC logo, and our new tag line is: “The Official Marketplace for Magento Extensions”
That’s right, the new MC design has a local search feature in the right column. Even better, the search results can be sorted and filtered to help users find exactly what they’re looking for.
“Community" & “Commercial” are now more simply known as “Free” & “Paid”
One small change you’ll notice is new rewording of “community” and “commercial” extensions as “free” and “paid”. We made this change to prevent users from mistaking community extensions with the community edition of Magento. As for “Core”, we’ll be rolling out a certified-extension process and our core extensions will be first in line to earn that distinction. Developers will be able to pay to have their extensions certified in a future release. Moving forward, whenever you see the word ‘Community’ in Magento Connect, it will refer to the Community (open source) edition.
Improvements to the Upload Process
Several improvements have been made to the front end and back end so that developers and users have a better experience overall.
This is similar to what we had on the former homepage, but the design is upgraded and it will now become a paid placement to help developers promote their extensions. There is also a “mini featured” box on each of the category pages to help developers get even more exposure. The extensions randomly rotate upon each page refresh, so that no matter how many extensions are featured, each one receives the same amount of exposure.
We’ve included a 250x150 display ad banner in the right column and will be rolling out a self-service advertising offering to certain approved developers.
New Styles for Product Icons & Images
To give our marketplace a more consistently high-end feel, all extension icons will automatically receive rounded corners and a subtle gradient. Existing images will still look good, but developers also have the option of designingn for this new creative style to help make their extensions stand out even more.
A more AJAXy sorting & filtering experience
Drilling down to find the extension you’re looking for is now a lot easier and (in many cases) won’t even require a page refresh.
Reviews with Single-Sign On Support
We’ve worked closely with Echo (formerly ‘JS-Kit’) to implement an integrated reviews product with Magento Connect. I love this product because it support single-sign on and allows developers to comment on reviews (for a much more engaging experience). All existing reviews will be imported and although Echo is a hosted solution, we will continue to own our reviews data.
New Taxonomy Categories!
We’ve introduced nearly 20 new categories, including ‘Personalization’, ‘SEO’, and ‘Marketing’. This is very important update for both users and search engines.
Developer Info Pages
Click on a developer’s name from the search results or extension-description page and you’ll come to a new page that shows their extensions, as well as an area where users can review a developer. Developers can enhance these pages by logging into their ‘my admin’ and uploading their avatar, bio, and contact details.
What would you like to do? (“WWYLTD”)
Sometimes, new users know what they need, but don’t know what extension or category to look for. This section will allow us to associate certain extensions to solutions such as “help me build better relationships with my customers”.
Now, this may sound like a lot, but we’re just getting started. Expect many more changes in the weeks and months ahead, including:
* Certified Developer Program (coming soon to an exclusive group of developers).
The program includes benefits such as premier listings, an enterprise license, and access to promotional tools.
* Improvements to the upload process
* Extension encryption
* Certified extensions
* Support for Enterprise extensions
Everyone will be able to browse the new marketplace once it goes live, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek. Enjoy!