Tag Archives: firefox

SUMO in 2013 – Summary

This is the final part of the SUMO in 2013 blog post series — let’s wrap up:

If you read all previous posts, you probably noticed a few overarching themes throughout the series: Mobilization, Advocacy, and Scale.

Mobilization

With mobilization, I mean it in a non-traditional sense of the word: the web is becoming increasingly mobile, and this shift changes our efforts to support our users. We need to become mobile — we need to mobilize!

I’m extremely excited about our plans to create a mobile support experience that no one has built before. Mozilla Support is already insanely cool to use from your mobile phone, but just imagine how awesome it will be once we hook it into your phone’s notification system and utilize some of the new web APIs we’ve worked on as part of making the web itself the app platform for Firefox OS (and, long-term, for apps across all major mobile platforms). With the direction the web itself is taking through efforts like Firefox OS, the opportunities to create awesome experiences are only limited by your imagination.

The closest comparison to what is happening with the web today that I can think of is the introduction of the Sony Walkman in 1979, which revolutionized the way people listened to music. SUMO is heading in the same direction and this will bring lots of new opportunities to help fellow Firefox users no matter where you are — and the karma this will give you will feel more rewarding than listening to your favorite mixtape!

Advocacy

Over the years, we’ve gotten better and better at distilling user feedback from our support channels and reporting it to engineering and QA so they can prioritize their work on fixing the most annoying bugs our users complain about. Cheng played a huge role in kickstarting our efforts already back in 2008, and today we have a dedicated team responsible for this work. In 2013, we’ll institutionalize User Advocacy and partner even more closely with Product Management, UX, Engineering and QA to deliver on Mozilla’s brand promise: Firefox answers to no one but you.

We’ve already built in hooks to Input in Firefox OS so we can ensure high quality user sentiment and feedback reporting for the first handsets once we launch. Of course, our user advocacy efforts will go beyond our internal feedback tools — we’ll also be monitoring press, blogs, forums and social media throughout the product launch to make sure we aren’t missing anything. Our goal here is the same with Firefox OS as it’s been for desktop and Android Firefox: to proactively support our users by making our products better.

Scale

This is the glue that will tie it all together — at the end of 2013, our hope is that we’ll be able to look back at a year with significant community growth and where contributions went from just something you could do in front of your computer to something you could do anywhere you are as long as you have your phone with you.

SUMO staff, summer 2012.

We have awesome people in the SUMO community already — people like Alice, feer56, Scoobi, cor-el, Satdav, madperson, iamjayakumars, jscher2000, Tobbi, underpass, Swarnawa, smo, Nukeador, michro, and many many more (this is really just a sample of our incredibly passionate community!). At the end of 2013, I hope that these people will have taken even more ownership in their various areas of our support efforts — and I hope I’ll be able to list even crazier and impossible to pronounce forum nicknames for new people who joined our community this year!

As part of our quest to grow our community, we need to challenge our assumptions and traditions and be open to completely new processes and community governance models to scale our work to Mozilla’s growing product line. I’m envisioning a community where hundreds of people around the world help with everything from writing support articles that are read by tens of thousands of users, to helping users directly where our users are — the forum, social media, and in person. While I’m incredibly proud of the community we’ve been able to build so far around SUMO, I know we can do more.

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 15.46.20

SUMO superhero and his butler — awesome artwork by Sean Martell.

Thanks for reading thus far. If you haven’t already, please join our community and help us shape the future of the mobile web, get more involved with Mozilla, and help our users! It’s dead simple, fun, and can take as little as a few minutes to make an impact to thousands of people around the world.

Congrats, you made it to the end of the blog series about our Mozilla Support goals in 2013!

SUMO in 2013: Firefox Android

This is part 4 of SUMO in 2013, and the focus today is Firefox on Android!

Our goals for Firefox for Android support can be summarized in three words: Community, Mobilization, and Community! :)

Enable fully community-driven self-service support for Firefox for Android

The scope of SUMO has grown significantly in the last year. We went from supporting just one product (Firefox on the desktop) to multiple products, and this suddenly made the SUMO community feel small — despite being several hundred people strong!

In 2013, we will focus even harder on scale in order to keep up with all the support documentation needed for all of our products. With Firefox for Android, we want to enable a model where the ownership of the knowledge base is with the wider community. In practical terms, this means that the responsibility of keeping articles up to date and writing new ones would be shared by a wider group of people in our community.

Android is the most widely used mobile operating system today, and Firefox on this OS has made incredible improvements in the last year and is now easily the best web browser in the ecosystem. A big part of this has been our tireless work on helping our users on SUMO while listening carefully to what they’re telling us about their experience in places like our forum and in Google Play reviews.

Contributing to SUMO is a great way to get involved in this effort and help shape the future of Firefox on Android. Here are some ways you can dig in right now:

Develop mobile support web app with built-in social support

busstop

Bus Stop No. 75 by mgarbowski. (CC)

Imagine someone standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive in the morning. While she’s standing there, she pulls up her phone and launches the SUMO app where she finds a user who has a problem with Firefox for Android. She quickly pulls down a canned response, customizes the answer a bit and hits Send. Right there, as she was waiting for the bus, she was able to help a fellow Firefox user solve their problem. A few minutes later, karma kicks in: she gets a notification in her phone that the user found her answer helpful…. and the bus suddenly arrives!

In 2013 we want to enable mobile contributions like this — and this will of course also be useful to help users of all of our other products, including Firefox OS! We’re already well on our way with our work last year on mobilizing the SUMO website, but there are some more steps to take to “appify” it too — things like hooking into the mobile notification system.

This summarizes the key goals we are working on this year around Firefox for Android. Stay tuned for the final part of this blog series.

If you’re interested in getting involved and learning more about what we’re working on to make the web better, please join our discussions in our SUMO contributor discussions forum. Oh, and don’t forget that today is SUMO day. Help us answer questions in the support forum and join us in irc.mozilla.org channel #sumo!

SUMO in 2013: Firefox Desktop

You’re reading part 3 of SUMO in 2013, and this time the focus is Firefox on the desktop!

Increase retention and user loyalty

Over the years, we’ve built something pretty amazing with the desktop Firefox support on SUMO, so this year it’s all about optimizing and oiling that engine to go from great to awesome. Overall, the goal in 2013 is to decrease issue-driven churn.

SUMO developments over the years

Snapshots of support.mozilla.org over the years.

Some of this has already been covered in the first part of this blog series — the stuff that applies to all of our products — but it’s worth repeating some of it here since desktop Firefox represents the vast majority of our traffic on support.mozilla.org today. There are two main components to this that will contribute to increased retention and user loyalty that we are responsible for:

  1. Understand our users by listening to their feedback. This is what the User Advocacy team is focusing their efforts on.
  2. Delighting our users with better-than-expected support. This is what the Desktop & Cross-Product Support team focuses on, including efforts like a kick-ass education strategy. But it also includes our focus on providing kick-ass help articles and covering more topics and answers.

Achieve 100% resolution rate in English support forum

To be clear, 100% resolution rate here means that no posts in the forum should be left unresolved. In other words, any user posting a question should get an answer to their question, and if that answer doesn’t solve their problem, we won’t give up until that problem is solved. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all resolutions will please the user — for example, if a user posts a question like “Why is there no official version of Firefox for Playstation 3?” we will simply do our best to explain why and resolve the thread that way. While the user may disagree with our answer, we would consider that thread resolved. So we won’t exactly achieve magic here — but we’ll get pretty close. ;)

Let’s be clear about one thing: this is a very ambitious goal. It will take a huge effort from everyone involved: our insane community of volunteers, our awesome WebDev team to prepare the platform for things like being able to mark threads as “unsolvable” (similar to the INVALID resolution in Bugzilla) and streamline the interface, and of course the SUMO team itself. There will no doubt be some threads that will be left behind or forgotten in the day-to-day answering of questions in our community. Because of this, we will need to have people ready to “fill in the gaps” as they appear, and to ensure that all threads that already have an answer actually lead to a resolution. Do you think we can do it? Would you like to help us while learning more about our products and development processes? Come join us in the forum!

Provide first response to all forum questions within 24 hours

Another forum-related goal this year is to ensure that everyone gets a first response within 24 hours of posting a question in the forum. This is part of our commitment to delight users with our support, and in reality we’ll aim to do even better than 24 hours — but this is already an ambitious goal as it is!

QuestionsThe good thing is that already making great progress in our ability to provide timely responses. In fact, we’re already responding to close to 80% of all of our questions within 24 hours. But the road to 100% will be both challenging and fun at the same time!

That’s it for desktop Firefox this year. Piece of cake, right? ;) In the next part, I’ll walk you through our goals for Firefox for Android.

SUMO in 2013: Delight our users

In case you’re still hiding in that safety bunker and missed all the fireworks, it’s actually 2013 now and we all survived (well, most of us; that you’re reading this is a good sign that you’re likely still around). This is big news for Mozilla, because 2013 is the year of Firefox OS on the mobile! It’s also big news for SUMO, because we’re going to provide kick-ass support for this phone OS in ways the world has never seen before — while continuing to excel with Firefox desktop and Android, as well as exploring new opportunities with Apps & Marketplace.

This post marks the beginning of a mini-series outlining and explaining our SUMO high-level goals in 2013. I’ll start at the highest level and then I’ll drill down into the specifics for each product we’re supporting (or will begin to support this year) on support.mozilla.org.

  • Part 1: Delight our users — you’re reading this one right now!
  • Part 2: Firefox OS
  • Part 3: Firefox Desktop
  • Part 4: Firefox Android
  • Part 5: Summary

To kick this off, let’s start with our overarching mission this year:

Delight our users.

Delighting users means going above and beyond and delivering product support that is better than they expected. It means making sure everyone visiting our support will get an answer to their question. But it also means that they take something with them from the experience of getting helped that they didn’t expect — something that delights them. For example, learning about a neat trick with the product that enhances their experience with the product, or just being pleasantly surprised with the speed and accuracy of the answer, or maybe that our support community was the best and most friendly community they’ve ever experienced.

Michael and Michelle helping a Firefox user.

Let’s look at our 2013 goals that apply to all of our known products: Firefox desktop, Firefox for Android, Firefox OS, and Apps & Marketplace.

Implement a cross-team proactive user education strategy

This will be a big part of our “delight our users” promise, because we’ll use this proactive type of support before the user even thought they needed help about something. You can do this in many different ways, for example when you’re on the support site and you’re trying to solve a problem, we can take the opportunity to teach about something else too. Or when you’re launching Firefox for the first time, we could feature an interactive walk-through of the components of the UI. Or if you like our Mozilla Firefox page on Facebook, we could seed it with useful tips to make the most out of your product experience.

Because of the many ways of educating users, this goal will be a coordinated approach lead by SUMO but involving aspects of marketing, engagement, support, and the product itself (UX, etc). The sky is the limit on this one, and that’s what’s making it so exciting! Michael shares some more thoughts on user education on his blog.

Ensure that users with problems know that SUMO exists

What good is our support if people don’t know how to find us, let alone that we exist? A survey that we conducted some time ago revealed that we still need to do more to ensure maximum visibility of our support offerings for those who need it. Our goal is that anyone that has a problem with our products should know where to go to get help.

Drive quality improvements to our products through powerful user advocacy

Part of what makes SUMO great is that we listen carefully to what our users are saying to us in our various channels. This leads to better support, since we continuously fine-tune our content to match user demand — but it also leads to better products, since we share our findings with the rest of the organization. We call this User Advocacy, and in 2013 we’ll ramp this up significantly to ensure that our products are meeting our users’ expectations since that will also reduce the need for support — a win-win-win situation (users, SUMO, Mozilla).

To learn more about how the SUMO group is organized, including the formation of the User Advocacy team, read the SUMO Staff Organization Changes blog post from last month.

Establish Firefox User Sentiment Report as a primary release-to-release product quality measurement for Desktop, Android, and Firefox OS

In December we piloted the first Firefox User Sentiment Report (or FUSR for short) for desktop Firefox, which is a real-time snapshot of our user’s joy and pain as reported from our user feedback channels. We got great feedback about it already, including of course rooms for improvements. Ultimately the goal of this report is to make Firefox better by ensuring that our distilled user feedback is accessible, understandable, and above all actionable. Our vision is that teams like Engineering, Product, and UX — the awesome people that make our products — will be able to look at our reports and quickly determine if there are any major issues to address across our release channels.

The December installment of the report was just the beginning — as we gain experience in creating these reports, we hope to include forecasting based on previous releases to ultimately give us the ability to predict the quality of a new version of Firefox before it leaves the Beta phase. And as we fine-tune the accuracy and visualization, we’ll make sure reports deliver on our promise of being actionable.

 

Push Recoverability features and user-demanded fixes into product roadmaps

In 2013, we’ll continue what we started last year with highlighting user-demanded fixes and getting them into our product roadmaps. We’ll also expand these efforts to all of our products, including of course Firefox OS, where the need for high quality user advocacy will be huge.

Make SUMO the primary entry-level community for Mozillians

This is an area where we have a lot going for us already, but we can do even better, and in 2013 we will. By the end of this year, we will have made significant strides in this area, and we will have grown our community as a result!

The first contribution on SUMO should be a success, and it should be a fun and straightforward experience. There are lots of ways we can make this possible: better online tools on support.mozilla.org, better documentation, mentors and experts in our community who can help, etc.

And once you’ve joined our community, we want you to get more and more involved and engaged in our mission to delight our users. In many ways, being part of the SUMO community is a way to get closer to the products and the teams working on improving them. We love this part of SUMO and view it as a place to grow. This means that some will move on to contributing in other projects after a while, like QA, WebQA and web development — and that’s a great thing! Others (like myself) continue to contribute directly to SUMO, which is awesome.

That was a summary of the high-level SUMO goals in 2013 that apply to all of our products. In the next part, I’ll walk you through the goals we’ve outlined specifically for Firefox OS.

Help one user per day in the Firefox support forum!

If everyone reading Planet Mozilla helped just one person in the Firefox support forum per day, there wouldn’t be a single user with their question left unanswered. And answering one question generally takes less than two minutes!

It’s actually very simple to help people, too. But just to be on the safe side, we’ve prepared some instructions for how to get you started.

How to make one Firefox user happy per day:

  1. Set aside two minutes of your time. Some tips for how to do that:
    • Stay away from pointless activities like Farmville or Mafia Wars (and avoid Facebook in general).
    • Skip reading that “fun” e-mail one of your colleagues just sent.
    • Don’t click this link. It’s not worth it, and no, you can’t even interact with the cat.
  2. If you haven’t already, get a SUMO account by filling out the form on the registration page.
  3. Scan the list of unanswered forum threads (btw, that’s a great page to bookmark) for a question you think you know the answer to. Click it and respond. That’s it!


Don’t even have two minutes to spare? Try looking for a question that has an obvious answer, like AOL hijacked my start page, posted earlier today (the solution is already documented).

Need help answering a question? No problem. We have a page of tips and resources that may be useful, or you can ask in the Contributors forum. Feel like taking a break? That’s cool, too. Go introduce yourself in the Off-Topic forum and hang out with your fellow Firefox contributors.

By the way, we’re currently working on a brand new forum system that will be faster, sexier and easier to use. Stay tuned for more details…

Welcome to the SUMO team, Kadir!

We’re very excited to announce that Kadir Topal of German Mozilla community fame is joining the SUMO team today full time as our Support Community Manager. His primary responsibility will be to energize, strengthen, and grow Mozilla’s support community so we can reach out to even more users in need of help on the web.

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Kadir, he has been around in the community since 2002, when he started the German localization of Phoenix just a few weeks after milestone 0.1 was released. Since then, he has lead and helped grow the German Firefox community, organized community events, as well as managed the German community website, support forums, and wiki.

Kadir has been studying political science and computational linguistics and is just about to finish his master thesis in applied linguistics. The subject couldn’t be more relevant to his new job on SUMO: Informal Communication in Virtual Teams. For more interesting facts about Kadir, read his own 7 Things about Me.

If you want to get in touch with Kadir (or just say hi!), he is topal on irc.mozilla.org and atopal on Twitter.

Welcome, Kadir!

Update: Kadir just wrote about this on his own blog:

The bright future of the SUMO platform

When the SUMO project started back in 2007, one of the first big questions was what web platform to use as a foundation for the upcoming Firefox support website. The Mozilla web development team started by doing a thorough analysis of the available content management systems (CMS) currently available in order to reach a conclusion. The outcome of that analysis was that TikiWiki was most suitable for our needs. Among other reasons, Tiki was best because of its many bundled features, strong multilingual features and powerful wiki and forum integration.

What followed was some rapid development to get Tiki deployed on our server and adapted to our needs. We received great help from the Tiki community, ensuring that the initial launch of Firefox Support was smooth and successful. Unfortunately, we didn’t really have a plan for how to ensure we remain synchronized with the continuous development of the Tiki platform upstream, so we just kept developing on our local codebase.

Because Firefox is such a popular web browser, we get a lot of visitors on the Firefox Support website. And when we say a lot of visitors, we mean a lot: over 16 million page views per week! www.mozilla.com is in the top 150 sites in the world, and SUMO naturally gets a good portion of the traffic.

As a result, a significant part of our development focus has been on increasing performance. About two years after the site officially launched, September 2009, we had reached a point where we would be forced to rewrite parts of the underlying infrastructure of Tiki in order to keep up with the increasing traffic to the site.

We had reached a crossroad when we had to decide on what do with the SUMO platform:

  • Should we upgrade to the latest version of Tiki? Remember, we had over two years of local development that hadn’t been upstreamed.
  • Should we continue to patch the Tiki platform locally, i.e. continue with what was essentially a fork of Tiki?
  • Or should we switch to another platform that was better suited to our particular needs?

Abort, Retry, Fail?

Interestingly, in our second analysis of the available platforms in 2009, Tiki still came out as the winner! There simply is no existing CMS that is more suitable for us.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that Tiki is not entirely optimized for our needs. In order to change this, we would have to invest a huge amount of time to rewrite structures and code in Tiki relevant to SUMO, and we would have to take great care to not mess up with all the thousands of other Tiki-powered websites out there.

This led us to the realization that the right path for SUMO is neither of the above options, but to instead do a clean break and work together with the AMO team to develop something new that is optimized exactly for our specific needs: an excellent open source support platform that can handle over 350 million Firefox users.

TikiWiki really is a fantastic CMS — the fact that it still is the best fit for Mozilla among the options available is amazing.

Now our challenge is to build the next generation of the SUMO platform: SUMO 2.0, codenamed Kitsune. More on that soon!

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!

The web just got safer with Firefox

Running the latest version of Firefox with outdated plugins is like having a modern burglar alarm while leaving the balcony door wide open. In order to be safe on the web, your plugins must be updated too.

As an example of the real threats of using outdated plugins, consider the popular Flash plugin created by Adobe Systems. It is used to play videos on YouTube and many other sites, and has a history of serious security issues. What this means is that if you haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Flash, it doesn’t matter if you’re using the latest and most secure version of Firefox because plugins are independent pieces of programs running inside the web browser, which Mozilla doesn’t control (and didn’t create). Of course, this is true for every web browser out there, including Internet Explorer.

In other words, no matter how safe your web browser is, you’re still vulnerable to security exploits if your plugins are not up to date, because they open up security holes beyond the web browser’s control.

So how do you ensure that your plugins are up to date? Mozilla’s new Plugin Check page comes to the rescue! The page went live today on mozilla.com after a few weeks of testing and is a very important step in making the web safer. To see if you’re running any outdated and insecure plugins, just visit the Plugin Check page and update any plugins marked as out of date.

Plugin check

For Firefox Support and the SUMO community, this is an important milestone since 30% of the reported crashes are caused by plugins. By increasing the number of users running updated plugins, the number of reported problems on SUMO should drop significantly. Also, giving users access to a page that allows them to take control of their security is a good example of how important web safety is for Mozilla.

This Plugin Check page is just the first step in making it easier to keep your plugins safe. Future versions of Firefox will have this functionality built in, eventually making the experience as seamless as keeping Firefox itself up to date. In the meantime, we’ll make sure to link to the Plugin Check page wherever it makes sense to do so on SUMO.

Let’s publish a Firefox Manual!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Firefox manual that could be read as a physical book or directly on the screen? Well, guess what: it already exists and even better, it’s completely free!

The FLOSS Manuals Project is changing the way book publishing works by bringing open source concepts to the process. They are engaged in building a platform and community designed to get interesting books published and do it on faster cycles. These people are the reason why we have a Firefox 3.0 Firefox Manual today. Read more about how this manual was created on Chris Hofmann’s blog post FLOSS Manuals: Changing the Publishing World One Book at a Time.

How is this relevant to SUMO? Tomorrow, we are doing a short and focused one-day sprint to do the last but very important steps of cleaning the manual up and make it ready for publishing, and we need your help! Contributing to FLOSS Manuals is as simple as contributing to SUMO and doesn’t require any technical skills.

When?

Tomorrow! Thursday, May 28 at 10 AM Pacific time, 1 PM Eastern time, or 19:00 Central European time. If you’re in Europe or Asia and want to start earlier, you are of course more than welcome to! I’m based in Sweden and will be going through the manual throughout the day.

Where and how?

  1. Register to get an account at the FLOSS Manual site.
  2. Go to the Write section of the Firefox Manual.
  3. Pick a chapter that you want to read, click the “edit” link, and start improving it!

It’s really that simple.

On the right side of the website is a chat window where you will be able to chat with other participants (including me and the SUMO community members Matthew Middleton, Cheng Wang, and Chris Ilias).

What is the goal of tomorrow’s sprint?

We hope to achieve the following things:

  • Clean up the language and remove typos, etc.
  • Remove inconsistencies
  • Verify and make sure all information is correct
  • Flag chapters that will need updating for Firefox 3.5, which is quickly getting ready for a release

The last item is important, and we will probably do another one-day sprint shortly to actually update the information to Firefox 3.5 once it is released.

By just getting an account and spending 15 minutes proof-reading one chapter, you will make a huge difference to the quality of the manual, and your name will forever be included in the Credits section of both the online and paperback version.

Hope to see you tomorrow!