Category Archives: Localization

[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!

The all new SUMO

Today we are going to make one of the biggest changes yet to SUMO, the Mozilla Support site, and this blog post is about what changes we are making. The changes will effect you the most as a user, but there are a number of changes for contributors as well.

First, a little history, what’s the SUMO team been up to this year?

For the last 9 month the SUMO team has been working on a new way to let users access our site content. Until recently the only way to reach most of our articles was by search, or by following links in articles. This is how wikis traditionally work. Of course that way of accessing content only works for a part of our visitors, some people want to search and some people want to browse to the solution, drilling down with ever finer topics to reduce the number of article that are related to the issue.

To come up with a new information architecture that would let people drill down like that, we first researched the mental model of our site users, how they think about issues and in what categories they would look for them. Based on that we created a small number of base categories and assigned our articles to those categories.

The next step was figuring out how to make this information architecture visible. We started to lay out a number of alternatives on paper and tested with real people in a lab. This paper prototyping gave us a way to test a number of ways to lay out the information very quickly. After a number of iterations we settled on the final designs and workflows.

Now we had everything to start adapting our site, but since this would be a big redesign, and we’d soon switch to the new unified One Mozilla design anyway, the decision was made to use this opportunity to rebuild the site based on the new theme, and that’s why the changes today not only affect the KB, but every part of our site.

So, what is changing? What does it look like?

The main change is, that we now support several products from one start page and all articles can be accessed by browsing. Let’s start with the start page:

We have the main topics on top, they allow you to start browsing by selecting your issue first, and then the product you have issue with.

One step below you can see the hot topics. Those are actually articles, things that came up recently and affect a large number of people. By providing them upfront we save a large number of people the hassle of searching or browsing for their solution.

Below that we have the product picker, this is a way to navigate our content by choosing the product first and then narrowing down the topics.

No matter what way you select, topic first or product first, you’ll end up narrowing down the number of articles to a scanable few and proceed to read one of the articles.

The important thing for localizers to note is: all of this is automated, there is no need anymore to create navigation pages and all the confusion that brought with it.

So, how did the article view change? On the surface not much has changed, but because we keep track of topics, we can now offer you a way to move to related topics, which is particularly interesting for people landing on articles from external searches:

Much, much more has changed, but this is the gist for the KB part of the site.

So, what has changed for forum contributors?

While the new iA did not touch the support forum per se, we took the redesign as an opportunity to improve a number of factors in the listing of questions for our contributors.

The new design is more friendly and clean, but at the same time gives more information about the thread content at the same time. This is especially helpful when contributors scan the thread listing page deciding which thread to pick next.

We already started rolling the design out to our contributor base over the last week and will start rolling it out to 1% of the general audience today. If everything goes to plan we’ll make it available to the general audience on Monday. If you want to try it out now, just register an account, and if you have any feedback, please use the comment section below.

The new information architecture will open up our content to a whole new group of users and make it much more accessible, while our new design is more coherent, taking into account all of the features we added since our first release while also being consistent with the Mozilla sites in general. All of this makes us very excited and hopeful that we’ll get that much closer to our number one goal: Happy users!

Help us test private messaging and group dashboards today

Hey everyone,

This is a quick reminder about our test day for private messaging and group dashboards today, Friday, July 8th, from 3pm to 12pm UTC. We want to test the recently finished implementation of private messaging and the groups dashboards on SUMO, and will meet on IRC, in #testday (please note, it’s not #sumo).

Especially for private messaging it’s important to have many people on IRC at the same time. So if you can manage it, please join us between 3pm and 7pm UTC , but of course we will be around all day. Also, we have a test plan ready, so you can systematically check if things are working as they should.

If you are a localizer, you can also request the group dashboard feature. This will add another tab to your dashboard and those of your team members. That tab will hold your localization dashboard and a message on top that you as the locale leader can change to message your team. Also, your localization group will get a profile page listing the locale leader and every member of the team. You can see here what the German localization group profile looks like.

For the groups dashboard I wrote a short tutorial that you can see here.

Please report any issues that you encounter on this etherpad so we can fix them quickly.

All info about the testday:

Date: Friday, July 8th
Time: 3pm to 12pm UTC
Place: IRC #testday (please note, it’s not #sumo)

Thanks, and hope to see you later today!

SUMO is adding new features: group dashboards and private messaging

Hello everyone,

Starting today we will be beta testing the new groups and private messaging features of Kitsune. We want to start with a small number of people for now, so we are going to cap this at about ten. We will have a test day for everyone on July 8th. If you are interested in testing private messaging and giving feedback on it, please let me know in this thread on the support community forum and I’ll activate it for you.

If you are a localizer, you can also request the group dashboard feature. This will add another tab to your dashboard and those of your team members. That tab will hold your localization dashboard and a message on top that you as the locale leader can change to message your team. Also, your localization group will get a profile page listing the locale leader and every member of the team.

You can see here what the German localization group profile looks like.

For the groups dashboard I wrote a short tutorial that you can see here.

Private messaging should be fairly intuitive. Once the feature is activated, just click on “Inbox” on the upper right corner of the page. Make sure that you only message people who are listed in the forum thread for now.

Please report any issues that you encounter on this etherpad so we can fix them quickly.

And of course, please let me know if you have any questions.


SUMO localizer meeting on Wednesday June 1

As you have probably heard, Firefox is on a release schedule to deliver new features sooner and have more predictable release dates. That means that SUMO also has to change to keep up with those frequent releases.

We recently introduced or are going to introduce several new features and processes in preparation for the new schedule. If you’re a localizer I’d like to talk with you about that in an IRC meeting on Wednesday, June 1, at 9am PDT. The topics will be:

Please try to take part in this meeting, so we can answer any open questions and incorporate your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions here or add topics to the agenda if I have missed anything. Hope to see you all soon!

Info about the meeting:
Date: Wednesday, June 1st
Time: 9am PDT
Place: IRC #sumomtg

SUMO in Ljubljana

Mozilla Balkans meetup group photo
The beautiful city of Ljubljana, shortened to Lublana by its natives (I wonder why), the capital of Slovenia, was the host to the second Balkans Meeting this year. I had the chance to represent the SUMO team this time, and ended up locked up in a cell in Ljubljana’s military prison. Read on, if you want to know why.

Last weekend was the second installment of the Balkans meeting, and this time it was much more hands-on oriented. We had the full day on Saturday to cover a whole range of subjects from SUMO, product L10n, QA to Add-on development. For SUMO this year was a year of changes in many aspects, and during my talk I used the chance to explain why we did what we did, and how we thought it would bring us closer to support each and every one of our 400 Million users worldwide.

The second half of the day was reserved for sprints and hands-on action. Since we had just released a brand new KB, this was an excellent opportunity to see the KB used in real live, and learn from the feedback. The participants worked mostly on the top 20 articles in the KB, which serve almost 50% of all visitors to the KB and have a really high benefit-cost ratio.

Particularly interesting was the feedback, most of it about the actual localization experience in the editor. Generally it was geared towards making the editor more user friendly (smaller fonts for more text, resizing of the editor window etc) and the localization experience smoother. In the latter case we are looking into a few ways to do that already, for example by providing a Google translated text as the base for the initial translation of the English text.

After a pretty solid 9 hours of work we headed for dinner in a traditional Slovenian Restaurant, with horse meat as a specialty. I didn’t try that, but my meal was delicious. There we also met our surprise guest for the evening, the new Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs, who was adopted as a Balkan member for his Hungarian heritage ;)

Working hard during the SUMO sprint

After the hands-on the day before, Sunday was used for the goal setting process, which involved a review of the goals from the last time and their usefulness. The goal setting itself was pretty great, we had an etherpad where we collected the goals, the document was projected to the big screen then and live edited by a dozen people, which made for interesting discussions.

I’m happy to say that the Balkan communities decided to name the localization of the Top 20 SUMO articles into all Balkan languages as one of those goals, and I think the new KB had quite some influence here. There will be follow up calls to talk about the details of each goal, but all in all they look pretty good, and will surely give everyone enough to work on until the next Balkans meeting (I heard rumors about Athens, but who knows ;)

My cell in Ljubljana

So, how did I end up in a cell? Well, that was thanks to Matjaz, our wonderful host from Slovenia. He organize a hostel for the participants, but not just any hostel, it was a former military prison, taken over by university students and turned into a hostel, with the cells left intact and designed by different architects. It’s considered one of the best hostels worldwide, and I can really recommend spending a night behind bars, it’s unusual to say the least ;)

Big William is watching us

I’d like to thank everyone attending this years Balkan meeting, it was a pleasure to meet and work with you all, and special thanks to our host Mathjaz and the organizers, William and Milos, it was a productive and intense meeting, but with lots of opportunities for informal talks and get-togethers. I really enjoyed it, thanks for putting it all together!

The new SUMO is here, let’s put it to the test

We started working on our new SUMO Knowledge Base back in March and now, 9 months later, it’s finally here! We released our new KB to the public last night and it’s working great. Go check it out: And come back for a localization sprint tomorrow (more about that below).

We are really excited, exhausted and extremely happy — this was a huge undertaking. After the months of planning and development, we spent the last few weeks testing the migration of thousands of articles to our new system. The good news is that all of that testing payed off. Thanks to everyone who contributed during the QA day, and other times, the migration went smooth, with no catastrophic problems whatsoever. Alas, no matter how much you test, you never catch all the issues. So, we are dedicating the next few days to finding and solving the little bugs we’ve found. Please let us know about any issues in #sumo or #sumodev on IRC or — better yet — file a bug so we can take care of it.

Localization Sprint

A new system always poses a lot of questions, especially for those who need to work with it. So we decided to have a Localization sprint to check our top articles and update or translate articles for Firefox 4. If you are a localizer, this gives you the chance to check your top 20 articles and report any issue to us right away. This way, we can try to solve it on the spot. It will also give you hands-on experience with the new KB for updating or translating articles for Firefox 4. And we’ll be ready on IRC to answer any questions about the syntax, templates (formerly, content blocks) or anything else. And we need your help, even if you’re not a localizer: All those newy imported articles need a search summary to show up on the search results page. Help us add those summaries.

Join us on Thursday, December 2nd. The sprint will start at 6am PST and last until 2pm PST. That’s 3pm to 11pm in Central Europe, or 2pm to 10pm UTC/GMT – yeah, we’re a global project ;)

Looking forward to seeing you all and putting the new KB to the test!

What’s new in Kitsune

Ludicrous Speed
In my last post I wrote about the process of creating our new Knowledge Base but that did not answer the question of how the new KB will improve the experience for users and contributors.

There are so many exciting parts to the new Knowledge Base that it’s hard to know what to talk about first. The biggest improvement was also the most requested – speed. With our old KB it was often hard to find out why pages timed out and even harder to actually do anything about it. With the new system we know every detail and can tweak the performance, move things around and make sure that users will see a page in an instant. As has been shown time and time again, speed is the ultimate measure of usefulness. Even a 3 second response time will often lead to users leaving the site or being unsatisfied with the interaction no matter how good the content. So we’ve focused heavily on this.

The latest numbers we have show a huge improvement in response times – to be precise, a 28-fold increase in handled requests per second! That’s incredible indeed. The best part is that it will make the KB more useful for users as well as contributors. Gone are the days of timed out dashboards and slow loading pages.

What you can do!

Of course speed is not the only improvement with this new system. Over the next few weeks leading up to the release, we will write more about specific new features and improvements. But you don’t have to wait for the November 30th release to see for yourself. Take a look at the work-in-progress on our staging server.

If you are interested, help us make it as bug free as possible by joining us for a QA day on November 12th. From 8am to 5pm PST we’ll gather in #sumo on IRC to make sure the KB is ready for the release. We’d love to see you there!

Change is good

Today we are rewriting our top 5 articles to make them more helpful.

SUMO has 5 million visitors every week. That’s a lot of people who hopefully are happy Firefox users again after leaving our site. And while we have hundreds of articles for almost any issue, the top 20 articles do account for almost 50% of all traffic to the Knowledge Base. That means we need to make sure those articles  are as easy to understand and as helpful as possible. Today we are starting a test with the top 5 articles. Our awesome tech editor, Michael Verdi, just rewrote those articles to make sure that more people get help directly with the articles so less people need to ask in the forums or leave without getting the needed help.

In Michael’s own words:

There is a lot of information out there on the kinds of things that make technical writing engaging and effective. Much of it has been popularized by Kathy Sierra on her blog, Creating Passionate Users and put into practice in the Head First book series that she created for O’Reilly. I think many (but not all) of these techniques apply to the kinds of things we write for the knowledge base and I’m attempting to work out how we can use them to make our articles more helpful. Hopefully this will result in more people getting their questions and problems taken care of in the Knowledge Base without having to go to the Support Forums or Live Chat.

If the new versions of the articles turn out to be more helpful than the old ones, we will keep updating more articles on SUMO in the future. If not, we’ll revert back to the old versions to avoid unnecessary localization work. So if you are a localizer you can just wait for the outcome of the test before you start rewriting your aricles. But to be honest: We are pretty confident that Michael’s work is going to help a lot more users ;) And of course you can rewrite your articles and test them as well. Our poll data article explains how.