Author Archives: David Tenser

Weekly SUMO development team meeting moved

The SUMO development team meeting (also known as the SUMOdev meeting) has been moved from Tuesdays at 9 am Pacific to Mondays at the same time. This is because one of our developers, paulc, is taking a course this quarter that conflicts with the regular meeting time. Since we’re a small team, we can’t just go on with one third of the team missing from these meetings, so we decided to move it. At the end of this quarter, we will move it back to Tuesdays again.

The new time is Mondays 9 am Pacific.

For those who aren’t familiar with these meetings, the SUMOdev meeting is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the hard work we do “behind the scene” with SUMO. Most of the time, the meetings are about prioritizing and assigning tasks (think “bugs”) to developers, but occasionally we discuss more high-level things like setting goals, defining roadmaps, and brainstorming new features. Even if you’re not a developer, you’re more than welcome to listen in.

Minutes of SUMO meeting 2010-01-25


  • Weekly metrics
    • Ability to see ratio of people coming to support vs the ADUs?
      • Better question: How good was one release compared to another in terms of added support requests vs ADUs? Would be powerful metric to show to developers, to compare the relative traffic increase. Cww to investigate.
  • Last week’s weekly support issues
    • Lot of focus on 3.6. Assumed problems with Personas, didn’t happen. First day we figured out that the reason why people couldn’t see their bookmarks was the Torbutton extension.
  • EU Browser Ballot start page
    • cilias to create wiki page or contributor forum discussion where we settle on the content of the page so localizers can then start the effort of translating it.

Knowledge Base


  • People didn’t use the Troubleshooting Information as much as we were expecting. bug 541219
  • We should really thank Jesse’s brother who answered 120 questions!
    • On behalf of the SUMO community: Thank you!
  • Hosted design lunch on new forum design.

Live Chat

  • We did extended live chat hours last week for Thursday and Friday – 25 contributors!
  • Only about 30% of the users in Live Chat using 3.6, remaining using 3.5 (few on 3.0).
  • Java issues were more frequent than normal
    • General discussion about sharing insights about common issues between forum and Live Chat, since they’re sometimes not revealing the same trends. cww and zzxc to make sure they’re aligned and have shared data before putting Weekly Common Issues together and communicate to the rest of the Mozilla community.
  • We’re doing more extended hours this week (one extra hour on Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Tag data from the release

Behold: the SUMO 2010 roadmap!

Back in October, we started the effort to solicit feedback and ideas from various people, including of course our wonderful SUMO community. I wrote about the three primary objectives for the SUMO project as a whole:

  1. To help people have a great Firefox (and by extension web) experience
  2. To provide key user and product insights to the Mozilla community
  3. To strengthen and grow Mozilla’s community

However, one thing that I didn’t mention specifically was our efforts in 2009 to make SUMO an open source support platform that can be used for other projects. A real example of that is the new Firefox Help for Mobile website, but other sites could follow in the future. Also related to this is our effort to improve the underlying SUMO platform to be easier to develop for, more performant, and more secure. These things all ultimately benefit our users and community and are important to focus our efforts on.

As a result, there are actually four primary focus areas for SUMO in 2010:

  • Improve the user experience
  • Get better insights about our users
  • Improve the contributor experience
  • Make the platform awesome


Based around these focus areas, we have prioritized developed a shiny roadmap for SUMO in 2010. It is primarily available in a fairly uninspiring spreadsheet, but as an alternative, it is also available in a more fancy slideshow format:

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped shaping the future of SUMO. 2010 will be a fantastic year for Mozilla!

Join the SUMO team: Support Community Manager

SUMO is growing rapidly. In 2009, the size of the community doubled. Today there are over 100 active monthly contributors to SUMO, many of whom are localizers who translate support documentation into their native language. We’re looking for a passionate and highly motivated community star to join the SUMO team as a community manager to help these contributors thrive!

The primary task will be leading efforts to increase participation on SUMO and build stronger relations between community members. By engaging the SUMO community and developers, the community manager will ensure that the SUMO experience is great for both contributors and users.


Other responsibilities will include administrating the Firefox Support and Firefox Help for Mobile websites, helping contributors get started on SUMO, and helping Firefox users directly via Live Chat and the forum.

Because of our large European community and localization efforts, the Support Community Manager would preferably be based in Europe. If this sounds like you, please stop by Jobvite and apply! Be sure to include a note about why you think you would be the perfect fit for this position.

Join the SUMO team: Support Tech Editor

Firefox Support has over 4 million visitors per week, and about half of those people speak English. This makes the English Knowledge Base a very important part of SUMO.

icanhashalpIn 2010, we’re looking to expand the SUMO team with an exceptional tech editor. Our ideal candidate is passionate about making complicated instructions easy to understand by normal people, and motivated to working together with the large SUMO community to develop solid writing guidelines and best practices for our documentation.

It goes without saying that the tech writer should have excellent English writing skills and previous experience with software documentation. More importantly, however, the support tech editor should be eager to look at the bigger picture: Are we answering the right set of questions in the Knowledge Base? Do users interact with the website the way we intended them to? Is it well integrated with Firefox itself? This involves working with Mozilla’s metrics, user experience, and engineering teams to analyze how we can optimize the Firefox support experience. There is a lot of room for growth in this position and we’re looking for someone that is ready to take SUMO to the next level.

The ideal Support Tech Editor would be excited to work as part of the SUMO community, and genuinely helpful — not just to Firefox users, but to fellow SUMO community members assisting with the documentation effort. If this sounds like you, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Jobvite and tell us why you think you would be the perfect fit for this position!

Minutes of SUMO meeting 2009-12-14


  • 2010 Q1 Goals [1]
    • The proposed list is based on feedback from many sources, most importantly the SUMO community and various stakeholders @ Mozilla
    • Still just a draft — feedback very welcome!
  • Weekly metrics
  • Last week’s weekly support issues
    • No particularly common issues this week
  • Community says yes to weekly sumodev update summaries [2]
    • djst and jsocol meeting every Monday morning before the SUMO meeting — will make sure to get a sumodev update then

Knowledge Base

  • No new articles. Weave article should be drafted this week.
  • it, nl, sl, de locales are all updated for Firefox 3.6.
  • Need feedback on Contributor doc index: [3]
    • cilias to start by pointing out what’s wrong with the current layout/order
  • Going to contact EU locale leaders about browser ballot plan.
    • Looks like the community wants to be involved in the article audit too! [4]

Minutes of SUMO meeting 2009-11-30


Knowledge Base

  • cilias sick today
  • General article about how to stay safe on the web?
    • Good idea, let’s discuss in contributors forum.


  • No updates

Live Chat

  • Web client update
    • I got a lot of testing and bug fixing done over the holiday. I’ll be transferring to sm-chat01 and committing updates into SVN today.


  • 3.0.15 to 3.5.5 major upgrade on Tuesday. Put in extra live chat hours on Wednesday?
    • zzxc to communicate plan in Contributor forum and other channels to get everyone on the same page

Minutes of SUMO meeting 2009-11-23


  • Weekly metrics
    • Now that the start page suggests search terms, there’s no way to distinguish between actual searches and click-on-suggested-term searches. Cww to talk to metrics team to figure out best way to filter out or distinguish between these types of searches.
  • Last week’s weekly support issues
  • Should we include a sumodev status every week?
    • Might be helpful. djst can get a quick update from jsocol before each meeting. Let’s evaluate if it’s helpful.

Knowledge Base

  • 3.6 status
    • en-US update is not done yet. We should be able to finish today [1].
    • New article is published: Using the Troubleshooting Information page
    • Some 3.6 articles aren’t publishable until release – still need l10n to know about the updates
    • cilias to make sure we communicate with localizers about this
  • Browser ballot update
    • Aside from the list of proposed articles to include in the Windows specific start page, additional important articles might be added after 3.6 is released.
  • Should we remove translated articles from locales that don’t have an l10n community?
    • There are some locales that haven’t touched the articles since they were imported from Firefox 2.0. For those locales, it makes sense to move the translated articles back to the staging area so users don’t see them. It’s better to serve users with an English article for Firefox 3.6 than a translated article for Firefox 2.0.


  • Nothing new. Not many survey results.

Live Chat

  • Welcome to 10 new contributors that joined last week
  • No change in the most common issues (data from last week)


Presenting the new Firefox Support start page

After being slightly distracted with other priorities, we were finally able to launch the new and optimized start page for Firefox Support that we designed and tested in June!

Old Firefox Support Start page

The old Firefox Support Start page

The old start page had a number of problems:

  • The bounce rate was relatively high, especially on the in-product start page (although we’ve learned since the start page redesign effort that a big reason for that is the F1 keyboard shortcut that people press by accident)
  • The search box didn’t provide example searches to encourage people to use it
  • The design wasn’t emphasizing on the fact that we are here to help and that we do provide a way to get personal support if the search doesn’t return any useful results.

For a complete list of what changed in the new start page, see the image on Flickr with notes explaining all the differences.

The new and optimized start page

The new and optimized start page

The preliminary site statistics indicate that the impact of the new start page is even bigger than we anticipated based on the A/B test. So far, the start page shows a 3% decrease of bounce rate, which is pretty fantastic.

This translates to an improved user experience for over 400,000 Firefox users (annually)!

We’ve started to work with localizers on how to update the non-English start pages too. There are instructions available for how to do this and some locale leaders have already updated their start pages:

Thanks to everyone who helped with the process of getting this new start page created and implemented!