Having used the activity stream for 2-3 weeks I wanted to leave my feedback. I will list these as points:
I feel like the addon is drawing a lot of resources, thus making Firefox even slower than it already is. The slowness of Firefox is one of the biggest concerns that I read about on sites like slashdot, reddit and hackernews. If Activity Streams is to become a standard feature of Firefox, then the highest criteria for including it should be performance. If Activity Streams makes Firefox slower, then it shouldn’t be included AT ALL.
The overall design is basically copy/paste of other similar addons or browser features. I get the idea about a “stream” of activity, but it is basically your bookmarks and history made “nice” with some fancy gfx. I could list a lot of Firefox addons or “startpages” that does actually the same as Activity Stream. If I were on the design team I would really consider rethinking these kinds of startpages. E.g. including more interesting information rather than bookmarks and history. Connect it with an RSS reader/service like feedly or similar and present content from these feeds on the Activity Stream.
2.1. I don’t choose my “top sites”, apparently, the addon designer think they know through algorithms what my top sites are - WRONG! Let me choose my top sites myself. If it’s already possible, then it’s not obvious here to do it. Why can I only have 6 top sites?
2.2. What are highlights even? Who determines what constitutes highlights? I think the idea is nice, I guess, but I’m not sure how it works, and it takes up a lot of space on the page. I would probably try and replace highlights with the “bookmark stream” which becomes visible when you click “See All Activity”.
I like the history stream at the bottom of the page. Nice layout and colors, easy to quickly skim.
Another point I want to make is the options for searching the web. When a user opens a new tab, he is presented with three different options in terms of doing his search. First, he can use the address bar, the search bar next to it, or the search bar on the activity stream page. Is it really necessary to have three options here? Personally, I remove the search bar that is placed right next to the URL bar. When you open a new tab, the cursor is put in the address bar, and there’s a light grey text saying “search or enter address” (not the right wording, my browser is in Danish). Typing in the bar reveals a downdrop menu with different buttons representing different search engines, There’s even a magnifier glass to signify that the user is about to do some searching of sorts. It also shows bookmarks and recent activity (history). I think the search bar next to the url bar, and the search bar in activity stream tab should be removed. The same design is used with Safiri, resulting in a less cluttered interface. This is a problem with both the standard Firefox graphical interface and this addons.
I will add more ideas and critiques as I continue to use the addons
I hope these comments are read and responded to. Thank you.