This page can be filtered a lot, but keeps basically the same look, if you filter by Module category, most installed or whatever. And they are also the same if you list Modules, Installation profiles or Themes.
What tasks do those pages try to accomplish and how do they achieve / fail?
What the user wants
I cannot look into their heads. But I guess what 80% of the users want, is to get a quick overview. They search, say, for image galleries and want to see what solutions are available.
D.O. Module listings
I choose the most installed, because maybe many people go there because being overwhelmed by the sheer mass and confusion presentation of modules. Statistics of d.o. usage could shed light of which listings are most often viewed.
As all these listings look basically the same except for different modules being involved, we can take any one anyway. This listing has the rockstar modules like Views on top which should be a shining example of how to do it right because they are so damn successfull :P
Sorry for not going much into that - a lot of things are here that make sense. Filters, Blocks with shorter listings, and the general list.
Even an introduction, that I only discovered today...
The items make sense, but they are taking up waaay to much space to get it all above the fold and having the feeling of a quick overview.
Firefox Plugin search
A shining example to me is the little window Firefox shows you when you search for Plugins inside firefox. The website view is not as good to me, so let's keep it to that.
Quickly it becomes clear that Firefox manages to cram a lot more information into about 1/10th of the space. We also see about five to six Plugins (the screenshot of d.o. shows less I think).
So do you manage to get an overview? You get a very short description of a plugin that says what it does. If it is done well you get it and will install it. If it was done even better you will not be surprised after the install that it does somethind completely different from what was described.
Maybe it would be a more fair comparison to compare the Firefox Plugin search window to the Download and extend overview page. But no. As soon as you search for something you are taken to the Module listing, so these two do compete directly.
In order to make this not a long and winded post but to save the time and do Mockups let me state the goals that we should strive for to make the listings more usable:
- Get all important information "above the fold". Using a netbook with its 1024 x 600 screen can be an eye-opening experience here...
- Reduce the amound of space for all elements - Hey, we can at least reduce it by three times without sacrificing much
- Check if we show the most relevant elements / Filters - if not, exchange
- Check inside the listing if the individual modules get the most important stuff over to the user to make this listing any useful - if not, improve
So let's see what can be done...
Life is a journey, not a destination