Category Archives: Localization

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.

Help update articles for the EU browser ballot

If you’d like to make a difference to millions of potential Firefox users, please keep reading.

Starting this month, Microsoft will be rolling out the EU browser ballot across Europe. Instead of having Microsoft make the browser choice for every Windows user, people will finally be able to decide for themselves which browser they would like to use.

It’s likely that we will see an increase of Firefox users in Europe visiting the Firefox Support website because of the browser ballot, and it’s also important to note that many of these users will probably be less experienced with computers. As a result, support is going to play a key role in helping these new users understand how to use Firefox.

We wanted to take advantage of this unique opportunity and be prepared for these new users. One way we did that was to focus on a small set of key articles, and simplify them so novice users will have a better chance of understanding them.
Those articles are:

We also wanted to make sure that the same improvements were made on the translated versions. Our goal was to work with our l10n community to ensure that the top 5 languages in Europe had those articles up to date, which would cover about 70% of the users.

But as we started to talk about this effort with European communities, even more locales wanted to join us to have the  improved support content available in their language as well. So, thanks to the hard work from our amazing localizers in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic, our support content is now covering over 80% of users in Europe!

However, there’s still time to have the content translated into your language! If you would like to see the content available in your language, we would love to help get you started. We’ve prepared a page explaining how to translate the content, and if you have any questions, just ask in the Contributors forum or the #sumo IRC channel.

The browser ballot will affect the browser choice of millions of people in Europe. If you can, please help our new users have a great first experience with Firefox.

Updating the knowledge base for Firefox 3.6 – The Plan

Over the past month, the SUMO community has gathered a list of changes in Firefox 3.6 and determined which knowledge base articles need to be updated. We have been in contact with localizers and KB contributors to establish the update plan, and here it is:

The English update – this week

  • All updates to English articles will be done manually. If you would like to help, just pick a section in the Mozilla wiki page, and update the articles listed in it.
    • We will not be displaying Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 content separately (i.e. using SHOWFOR).
    • We will be using the “Mark other translations as out of date” checkbox when approving edits for 3.6. This will make the articles appear in the “Needs Updating” section of the Localization Dashboard, so localizers will know which translations are ready to be updated.
    • For screenshots, use Firefox 3.6 Beta 3.
  • We will also be creating a new article that walks users through the information they see in the new Troubleshooting Information page (a.k.a. about:support). (bug 528112)

Localization – now until release

A good way to get started, is to go through the list of articles that mention the “Main panel“, and change them to General panel (Main panel in Firefox 3.5)”. If you have any questions, just ask in the Contributors forum thread. Thank you!

Connecting non-English contributors to their local communities

Since the SUMO project was created, we have been in regular contact with non-English Mozilla communities to unify our support efforts. User support is one of the easiest ways to get involved with Firefox, because there is a direct connection with users. As we get more new contributors in different languages, we need to connect those new contributors to the already existing non-English communities.

In February, we asked support localizers to add links to their local forums when localizing the Ask a question page, which tells users where to go if they cannot find the answer to their question in the knowledge base. We would like to do something similar with the How to Contribute page, which is where users interested in contributing to Firefox Support are directed. In the localized versions of the How to Contribute page, we can not only direct users to the appropriate local community sites, but include info for new contributors to directly contact their community leaders.

We have been working with the Italian locale leader to create a localized version of the How to Contribute page. In fact, it is now up for everyone to see.

We would like to all localized versions of the How to Contribute page to follow the example set on the Italian page. Here are the main points:

  • A note was added after the first paragraph inviting new contributors to their local community site.
  • Links to pages about helping in the support.mozilla.com forum and live chat are marked as English-only.
  • The contact info section is divided into two parts: the first is contact info links for the contributor’s locale, and the second is for the English links.

htc-l10nguide

As usual, if you have any questions, just post in the Contributors forum.

How our wiki is different

To say that the SUMO knowledge base is just a wiki really doesn’t do it justice. While it’s very easy to start contributing to the knowledge base and simply assume that it works just like many other wikis (e.g. Wikipedia), there are a number of characteristics of SUMO tailored toward user support which make it different. This can be both a blessing and a curse. We need to understand how SUMO is different; but once we are familiar with it, the community has better tools to provide better user support.

If you’re a new knowledge base contributor, please read our new How we are different page, which lists the differences between SUMO and other wikis and gives an overview of why we are different. New knowledge base contributors will also be able to find a link to that page in our introduction to contributing to the knowledge base.

This is also part of our response to localizer feedback, which we have been continually gathering from active SUMO localizers. Remember that if you are a SUMO localizer and would like to meet with us, just contact us on this blog or post in the Contributors forum.

Permission levels on SUMO

One issue that sometimes confuses Knowledge Base contributors is knowing what levels of permission each user group on SUMO has. For instance, someone may be able to edit one category or articles, but not another. We now have documented it in a Group permissions page, which you can find linked on the Contributor Home Page.

In short, if you are registered you are considered a contributor. The Approvers group are contributors who have reached the point where they can be trusted on the system. The locale leaders group are contributors who are in charge of the support localization effort for a specific locale.

As part of our response to localizer feedback, we want to make sure the differences are listed and available for everyone to see. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment on this blog post or in the Contributors forum. Thanks!

Firefox Manual’s (not so) distant Italian relative

A few days ago, the SUMO community got together to polish the Firefox 3 Manual created by the amazing FLOSS Manuals community and make it ready for publishing. It was a very successful effort and we now have a manual for Firefox 3 that we can be very proud of!

bild-33

What many people (outside of Italy, at least) might not know is that our new Firefox 3 Manual isn’t the first manual for Firefox produced. In fact, back in 2006, Underpass, tittoproject, and miki64 from the Mozilla Italia community wrote a Firefox manual entirely written in Italian, based on their strong experiences supporting users in their local forum. Nothing similar existed at the time, and the purpose of this manual was to provide solutions to some of the most common issues for Firefox users so fewer people had to visit the forum — just like SUMO works today!

The Italian Firefox manual is called FireFAQ and is available for download in pdf format. It was downloaded by over 30,000 people in the first 10 days and received very good reviews! Later, Mozilla Italia also wrote ThunderFAQ. The content of both manuals are released under the CC license, just like the Knowledge Base articles on SUMO.

Simone Lando (yes, that’s Underpass, one of the authors of the Italian Firefox manual!) wrote to tell me that when they had the opportunity to translate the SUMO KB contents, they decided not to update their manual anymore and instead focus entirely on SUMO. However, the experiences they gained by writing the FireFAQ manual proved to be very important for their excellent team work on SUMO today, which I think is fantastic to hear.

I am very excited that Mozilla Italia will attend to the EU Inter-Community Meetup in Geneva this weekend, where they will share more about their experiences with Firefox support and SUMO. Definitely expect a blog post about the inter-community meetup soon. :)

Continuing to listen to Localizer feedback

We have been meeting individually with active Support localizers to get their feedback and look at ways we can improve SUMO for them. In the latest update to SUMO, we were able to implement many website software changes that addressed localization feedback. Some examples:

There is still more we can do, which we plan on addressing soon, such as:

  • Listing the differences between Contributors, Approvers/Reviewers, and Locale Leaders, and publishing what permissions each group has, as well as listing who is in each group. This helps contributors identify who the leaders of each community are, and who to contact if they have questions or requests from the leaders of their locale.
  • Making it clear what is different in SUMO as opposed to other wikis. Some communities have their own sites, and many contributors are already familiar with other systems. This creates an expectation of how SUMO works, and confusion when SUMO does not work they way they expect. Examples of common causes of confusion from community members include tikiwiki markup, the staging and review system, how article translations work, and how to create/remove the “Content may be out of date” warning.

We’ve been keeping a summary of all l10n feedback on wiki.mozilla.org, so you can take a look if you’re interested. If you are a SUMO localizer, and would like to meet with us, just contact us on this blog or post in the Contributors forum. We’re always willing to meet with you!

Help test localizing SUMO modules

On the Firefox Support start pages[1][2], there are blocks of text on the sidebar labeled “Improve the Knowledge Base” and “Thunderbird”.

Those are referred to as “modules”, and until now those blocks have not been localizable. We are in the midst making the interface translator work on those modules. If you’d like to help test it, you can do so on the the staging server.

https://support-stage.mozilla.org/
username: support
password: stage

If you have any issues with it, comment on bug 444439 .

If you’re not familiar with the interface translator and have questions, just reply to this post.

Thanks!

[1]Website home page
[2]Product Help start page

Email notifications for edits waiting for review

One feature that support localizers have been wanting for a long time is email notification when an article edit is waiting for review. We now have it! Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Log in to support.mozilla.com, and click on the “My Account” link in the site menu.
  2. In the User Preferences page, click on the “MyWatches” icon.

    monitorcat-1

  3. At the bottom of the Watches page, there is a line that begins with “Watch wiki page changes in“. Set it to “Waiting for review” and the language you want to monitor.

    monitorcat-2

  4. Click on “Add watch“. The watch may not appear on the page at first, but if you click on “MyWatches” it will appear.

You can also watch how to set this up in this screencast.

One really neat thing about the way this is set up is that you can set up a watch for any other category, and any other language. For instance, if you want to watch for changes to English contributor documents, just set the category to “How to Contribute” and the language to “English“.

We hope that these language-specific category watches will make it much easier to keep up with the changes that affect a particular locale. If you’re localizing Firefox Support, please give it a try and share your experiences in the Contributors forum!