A step forward in add-on install experience

Jorge Villalobos

6

We recently heard some great news from our support team that we want to share with you. Thanks to the last update in the Babylon translation software installer, support requests related to the way it customizes Firefox have dropped sharply, as much as 60% in some areas.

Like with many other software packages, Babylon’s installer includes an add-on that customizes Firefox, adding a toolbar and changing some settings like the home page. Until recently there wasn’t a Right Way of doing this, so every software vendor did it their own way. This has lead to an inconsistent and unsatisfying user experience, which has brought a great deal of work to our support staff.

To deal with add-on user experience problems, we started Project Squeaky last year. One of our first accomplishments was to establish the Add-on Guidelines, a short checklist that all add-on developers should follow. If you read the guidelines, you’ll notice that install experience and settings changes are specified to greater detail than the others, given that they are the ones we’ve identified as the most common problems users encounter.

We have been in contact with software vendors like Babylon for quite a while now, and these discussions have yielded positive results. We’re especially happy about the progress we’ve made with Babylon because their install base is particularly large, causing the support team to immediately notice the change in user sentiment after their install experience was improved.

This one positive outcome is very exciting for us, and we hope to continue moving forward in this area. There’s much planned  for the rest of the year, and we hope users will greatly benefit from  all that is coming.

6 responses

  1. Michael Kaply wrote on ::

    > Until recently there wasn’t a Right Way of doing this, so every software vendor did it their own way. This has lead to an inconsistent and unsatisfying user experience, which has brought a great deal of work to our support staff.

    So what’s the right way?

    1. Jorge Villalobos wrote on ::

      As explained in the guidelines, the ideal form of installation from external installers is using the Registry, but other global installation methods are allowed. What matters most is that the install opt-in screen appears.

      Additionally, Firefox preferences should be set from the add-on (not the installer), and reset when the add-on is removed.

      This is just part of the guidelines, of course.

      1. Michael Kaply wrote on ::

        This quote:

        “Until recently there wasn’t a Right Way of doing this, so every software vendor did it their own way.”

        makes it sound like something special was done here?

        So was this just about getting Babylon to follow the rues?

        1. Koala wrote on :

          Pretty much. I don’t want you damn toolbar from an AV (or some) installer making changes to my system. Pricks!

        2. Jorge Villalobos wrote on ::

          Well, we created the guidelines and began enforcing them more aggressively. Maybe that’s only exciting to me :P

          But yes, the main point of this post is that Babylon have improved their install experience by following our rules.

  2. Steven wrote on :

    The reason their install base is “large”, is because of the sheer volume of misleading installs (very well documented)