Category Archives: Knowledge Base

[Your Feedback Needed] A simplified and focused L10n dashboard

The localization dashboard is going to see major changes soon to make sure that it is as simple and focused on the tasks at hand as possible. We need your feedback to make sure we are making the right decisions. If you are using the L10n dashboard and want to take part in the discussion, please had over to the following bug, have a look at the attached mockup, and leave your comment:

The following is a quick summary of what changes we are making and why.

One of the biggest strength of the platform that SUMO is built on is the fact that localization has been one of the key design components. We created several localizer personas when we designed Kitsune and had them in mind when we made decisions early on. One of those decisions was to create an L10n dashboard that would present all the data that localizers might need to get their job done.

Since the early SUMO was rather small and focused on a single product, the L10n dashboard worked pretty well. Since then however, we have increased the scope of SUMO and added several more products and more functionality. The L10n dashboard grew organically during those times to cover more products and functionality.

Now seems like a good time to take a look at the tasks that localizers are faced with today and bring the the L10n dashboard into shape again. Rosana and I started that discussion with one thought: The L10n dashboard should answer one question and should do that as good as possible: “What should I be working on next”.

The current L10n dashboard present a lot of data, but unfortunately not all of it is relevant or actionable. While that data should still be accessible, it doesn’t make sense to present it as prominently as we are doing today. Having the one question in mind we cut back a lot of unnecessary information and came up with a streamlined, simple interface that bundles information and presents only things that localizers need at any moment. When we printed the current L10n dashboard out, it took covered 4 full pages, the current proposal can fit onto a single page.

Here you can see a mockup of our proposed L10n dashboard:
localization dashboard

To summarize the changes we made:

  • The product picker that is currently a drop down becomes a visual product picker. The product icons should be rather small though, to make sure people can see as much of the L10n dashboard above the fold as possible.
  •  The overview section is slimmed down by removing the “administration” articles and the explanatory text. We oversize the progress bar for the top 20 articles, so that updated articles lead to visible changes. The logic of orange -> green stays the same. We then remove the explanatory text and add it to the overview section items as tooltips. The now free space is used for bigger progress bars.
  • The actual content section is separated into Localization and Review
  • The Localization tab has a list of articles that need attention, where need attention is defined as “needs translation, needs update, and needs immediate update”. The list is ordered by most views in the last 30 days. Thus we are doing away with all other lists on the L10n dashboard.
  • Each article in the “needs attention” list shows below it the templates that are included in the article that need attention. Same rules for “need attention” as before.
  • The review tab has a list of top 20 articles needing review with a link to all articles needing review. The templates are listed the same way as on the localization tab, only templates that need review or “need attention” are listed.

If you want to take part in the discussion, please had over to this bug and leave your comment there:

We need your feedback to make sure we are making the right decisions with these big changes.


Open Badges 1.0: Minimum Awesome Achievement


Just before the Mozilla Summit back on September 30, we launched the first phase of SUMO Open Badges. They are: Minimum Awesome Achievement Badges for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013:

  • The KB badge for our awesome knowledge base writers (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
  • The Forum badge for our splendid English language forum support contributors (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
  • The Army of Awesome badge for folks who have contributed to the Mozilla SUMO twitter awesomeness (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
  • The L10N badge for our fantastic folks who translated KB articles from English (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).

By “Minimum Awesome Achievement” we were trying to recognize significant non-trivial contribution on a yearly basis.

Four badges awarded algorithmically for four years: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In total: 16 badges. And we will issue these four badges automatically for 2014 and future years.

What’s next? Badges for the awesome folks who helped us with SUMO Live Chat support and badges for the “OG”s (the original SUMO gurus who contributed from 2007-2009). And adding our SUMO badges to the Mozilla Open Badges Backpack.

Got some ideas for future SUMO badges? Please add them to the future SUMO badge etherpad.

Want to be help lead the future of SUMO badges? I am looking for somebody to be a “co-driver”. All you need to do is read up about Open Badges and be passionate about them and be willing to work with me for about five hours a week (usually far less than five hours!). If you are interested email rtanglao AT

UPDATE: A big thanks to all who made SUMO open badges happen: Yvan for the awesome badge designs; Ricky and Will of the superb SUMO-DEV team for the SUMO badge code; Les for the excellent Django Badger code; splendid SUMO colleagues: Ibai, Rosana, Madalina, Kadir and Michael for feedback and guidance; Carla, Emily and Sunny of the Mozilla Foundation badges team for great Open Badges mentoring and ongoing badge system design advice; David of the community team for building the community of open badges within Mozilla and most importantly all those who contribute to support at mozilla!

Gravatar for Avatar

For a long time we have had small avatars on SUMO, but with the shiny new profile pages they look out of place. So we are going to support bigger avatars soon. But there is a twist: We won’t just increase the size of the avatars, we are switching to Gravatar instead. Gravatar is used by large number of online services including This means that you don’t have to manage your avatar on SUMO separately unless you really want to. You can just upload an image once on Gravatar and have it show up on all kinds of webservices you are using.

Now, what does this change mean for you?

  1. If you are a new user and have a Gravatar account already, we’ll automatically use that when you create a new account on SUMO
  2. If you are a new user and don’t have a Gravatar account yet, you’ll get the default avatar as always and you can change your Avatar by going to the Gravatar page (linked from your profile on SUMO)
  3. If you are an existing user with a Gravatar account, we’ll replace the avatar you have here with the one in your Gravatar account.
  4. If you are an existing user without a Gravatar account nothing is changing for you. But if you want to change your Avatar later on, you’ll be linked to Gravatar.

If you don’t want your standard Gravatar image to be shown on SUMO, you can change your email address on SUMO. You don’t have to actually use a different email account. Just append “+SUMO” to it. So if my mail address is it would become This way you still get your email to, but Gravatar won’t show the image here that you have set for

This is now live on our staging server: Please give it a try and let me know what you think. You can also comment directly in the bug for this:

Firefox OS English User Guide

Today we begin a week-long celebration of our awesome Firefox OS Knowledge Base contributor community. So, I baked some brownies for all of you who contributed to any of the 16 help article sprints I’ve been hosting since last October in preparation for shipping the first Firefox OS devices. The result is a splendid Firefox OS User Guide.

brownies that say Congratulations! SUMO Firfox OS KB

As a salute to finalizing these articles for L10n, I went ahead and left in the typo! :) If only all of my typos were made of cream cheese frosting…

We started this project from nothing in October, just an outline (ok, a very large outline) of the scope of articles we should write. Today we have 50 clear, beautiful, helpful English knowledge base articles that were a collaboration between 24 KB editors and reviewers:

  • satdav
  • feer56
  • rtanglao
  • zombie
  • espressive
  • tjovanovic
  • iNerd
  • ariestiyansyah
  • yalam96
  • pychen
  • hermina_condei
  • willyaranda
  • adampeebleswrites
  • Tonnes
  • Swarnava
  • Scoobidiver
  • rnewman
  • mandel
  • bram
  • Tylerdowner
  • verdi
  • Ibai
  • KadirTopal

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who has made the Firefox OS KB project a success!! This hard work is the content of the Mozilla’s Firefox OS support pages, it is the in-product Help for Firefox OS in the Settings, it is already regarded as an excellent resource by our OEM partners and our carrier partners. Please please take a moment to just absorb that and the impact your contribution will have on Firefox OS users and the Mozilla mission. It is big. You are The Best. Thank you.

Writing and updating articles

Planet Mozilla viewers – you can watch this video on YouTube.

This is a followup to my post, “What should we document?” and is part of our technical writing program for SUMO.

Now that we have our list of what needs to be documented, it’s time to get started. All of the documentation that I talk about in the video can be accessed from this article – Improve the Knowledge Base.

If you have suggestions for making this particular workshop better, please reply to this thread in our knowledge base forum.

What should we document?

Planet Mozilla viewers – you can watch this video on YouTube.

This is a followup to my post on figuring out what’s new in Firefox and is part of our technical writing program for SUMO.

Once we’ve figured out what changes will be visible to users, we have to figure out what articles need to be written or updated. Here’s how I figure that out:

  • First I determine what changes need to be documented. Not every change needs to be documented (or at least, documented on SUMO).
    • Here are some things we generally DON’T document:
      • Developer tools
      • Changes to our support for web standards (like unprefixing a new CSS element).
      • Minor visual changes. In the past we’ve made the outline of buttons more or less prominent for example without updating our documentation.
      • “Under the hood” changes like speed improvements and new javascript engines.
    • Here are things we DO document:
      • New features like Facebook Messenger or Firefox Reset.
      • Changes to existing features. Our site supports showing different sets of instructions to different operating systems and different versions of Firefox. In this way we can customize the article to match what people are using. Look at the Startup, home page and download settings article and switch the controls at the top from Firefox 18 to Firefox 17 and you will see that there is a section about add-on for Firefox 17 that isn’t there for Firefox 18.
      • Problems or questions we anticipate people will have. For example, Click to play blocklisting or ending support for Firefox 3.6.
  • Next I look at each change that needs to be documented and decide if it needs a new article or just an update to an existing article. Generally, if we already have an article on a topic, we probably just need to update it. New features or new problems generally require new articles. Occasionally it’s a little more complicated and we’ll have to discuss the best course of action.

If you have suggestions for making this particular workshop better, please reply to this thread in our knowledge base forum.

Figuring out what’s new in Firefox

Planet Mozilla viewers – you can watch this video on YouTube.

Rosana and I have been working to build a technical writing program for SUMO. We now have a group of four participants so I posted the first workshop – researching what’s new in Firefox. Here are links to the resources I talk about in the video:

If you have suggestions for making this particular workshop better, please reply to this thread in our knowledge base forum.

One awesomely designed support center and what makes it rock

Cross-posted from

Inspired by’s article titled 12 Awesomely Designed Support Centers and What Makes Them Rock, I decided to take the opportunity to demonstrate why our very own help center, (SUMO) is way better than all of their twelve help centers combined. ;)

Although their article reads more as a showcase of some of the companies that happened to choose them as their support service provider (which we would never do, since our site is powered by our very own, superior and open-sourced CMS Kitsune), it’s still interesting to look at what they view as great design decisions in a help center to see how we compare.

Here are the main themes of their feedback that I distilled:

1. “The site looks great on all devices from mobile to desktop … The layout of the site is clean and makes it easy to navigate on any device”

We’re mighty proud of the mobile-optimized view of SUMO. It’s one of the most beautifully designed web properties ever made and it works across all mobile platforms. Bram did a fantastic job with the design, and it will fit our future Firefox OS support site like a glove:

You can try this out right away by navigating to with your Android or iPhone device. And if you’re one of the lucky few with a Firefox OS testing device, our site obviously works just as well there. :)

2. “The uncluttered design and iconography makes it easy to find information … The iconography makes topics easy to identify and stand out”

Our design uses beautiful icons to organize the content into help topics based on what users most commonly look for on our website. We tested this with paper prototyping before implementing it to make sure that the taxonomy and overall design was ideal for our unique product portfolio.

Our help topics area has beautiful icons

3. “The ability to view support center by topics or by articles is a great way to organize content … The organization of content makes it simple to find the exact answers you need”

We really went the extra mile on this one. In our user studies, we noticed that users have different behaviors when it comes to navigating to the answer to their question. Some people want to start by picking a general topic, while others prefer to pick the product they want support for first. As a result, we made sure that both of these orders work just as well on SUMO.

products and services

You can pick a topic and a product, and then we’ll show you a list of articles that matches that query. From that point, you can even filter that list down even further with the Refine and Focus feature, which allows you to pick from a more granular list of topics:

Our Refine and Focus lets you pick exactly the topic you need help with.

4. “The design is simple, clean and easy to navigate … The colors and typography are solid, strong and consistent with branding … The design is simple and clean and doesn’t distract from the important content”

The look and feel of SUMO is consistent with the overall design language of This was a specific design requirement since support is an extension of the product experience. Also notice the language selector on the right — our site is available in multiple languages, and the localization is done by our amazing community of SUMO volunteers: people like our new Spanish locale leader Avelper, or my great friends and veteran Italian localizers Michele Rodaro and Underpass.

The typography and navigation elements are consistent throughout our web properties.

5. “The support center articles are well written and easy to understand”

We took great care to make sure that our articles are engaging, easy to understand and that they have a friendly tone. We also really considered the target audience and even the mood that they might be in when visiting our site (e.g. frustrated because they’re trying to figure out a solution to a problem). Great support is an important extension of the Firefox brand and the values that Mozilla stands for, so it’s important that we get this right. Our awesome content manager Michael played a huge role in making this a reality. Here are some of the support articles that capture these aspects well:

6. “There’s a ton of helpful information from community questions to how-to videos”

Videos are very powerful because they can convey lots of information very quickly and demonstrate features in ways that no texts or screenshots can ever come close to. It’s a bit like the difference between reading an article about how to play barre chords and just watching someone do it.

A video showing how to restore your previous Firefox session.

So there you have it! I love reading articles like the one on because they make me realize just how far we’ve come at Mozilla with SUMO. Our support site is the result of lots of hard work by several teams, including of course the SUMO team, the SUMO dev team, and the UX team. And this year we’ll get even better — I’ll blog more about our plans for 2013 soon.

SUMO Write Help Articles Day, Thursday November 15th!

Thursday is SUMO Write Help Articles DAY! Woohoo!

Anyone and everyone can help! Here are the goals:

  1. Create new articles for Firefox for Android! Anything you want to write about is welcomed! We especially need articles about the Tablet UI if you have a tablet! Newbies encouraged, see the knowledge base getting started documentation! Just go to the New article page of the wiki and start hacking, I’m michelleluna in #SUMO on IRC if you need help or send me a private message (username mluna) if you get stuck.
  2. Update articles for Firefox for Android! The following articles need changes:
  3. Create new articles for Firefox OS! We have a list of three email articles that need to be created here with detailed instructions for how to get started (thanks Roland!). See Roland’s post for instructions on getting started even if you don’t have the Firefox OS! The forum thread also has a bunch of links to other ‘stub articles’ that we need to fill in, so hack away! If you think of it, use the ‘Administrative’ category for the article, so it won’t show up in the L10n dashboard, but no worries, I’ll check this during the article review also.
  4. Make needed updates to Firefox Desktop and SUMO contributor articles! The updates we need to make are in the Needs Changes list, you can literally help 100,000 Firefox users next week if you update two of these top articles!!

Reviewers goal:

  • Review all of the edits in the Unreviewed Changes list.

    Thanks for all you do to make the Mozilla Help Articles great!

    See you tomorrow!