Early last month, we asked for your help in choosing a new name for the Personas feature in Firefox. We’ve found that most users, even those who use Personas, don’t know them by that name, and new users can’t tell what a “Persona” is by its name.
After a lot of thought, including consideration of the community poll results, we’re planning to make “themes” the name for custom visual changes to Firefox, whether through Personas or existing themes. We think it’s easiest for a user trying to change Firefox’s look to go to a single place without worrying about the difference between a “theme”, a “background”, and a “skin”.
For people who do know the difference and only wish to browse one type of theme, we’ll distinguish “background themes” (current Personas) from “complete themes” (current themes).
We know that current theme designers put many hours of work into their styles to totally transform every aspect of the Firefox UI, and hope that a single themes area featuring both themes and Personas will help more users discover complete themes who otherwise wouldn’t.
As many of you know, we’ve been in the process of migrating the Personas website into addons.mozilla.org with all of our other add-ons, and we plan to finish that process in the coming months. When Personas have finished the migration to their new home, they’ll be called themes. Until then, our websites will continue to refer to them as Personas or Persona themes.
In case you’re curious, out of more than 1,000 responses to our naming poll, “themes” came in second place with 22% of the votes behind “skins” with 41% of the votes. We considered “skins”, but it drew many negative reactions and associations, and we ultimately felt it’s less confusing to users if we unify all of our themes under a single name.
As for the future of the name “Personas”, we mentioned earlier the possibility that it might be better suited for another product. We did find this to be the case, and last week we announced that Mozilla Persona will become the new name for our Web-scale identity system (formerly called BrowserID). You can read more about the product and the reasoning behind this decision here.