2014, for the People Team, will be a year when many of us are acutely focused on designing and building the infrastructure needed to support 1,000,000 Mozilians (core/active contributors) by 2024. To achieve this very lofty goal we need systems and tools, clear entry points for contribution, and scalable ways for newcomers to learn about Mozilla and what it takes to be a vital member of our community.
In support of our build year, we are embarking upon a research project. Just like with the products we build, it is critically important that we understand the needs of the user (in this case volunteers) before we create or build for them.
Right now, if we look at the “Are We Growing Yet” dashboard, a visualization of volunteer inquiries received through our Get Involved site, we will see ~200 daily inquiries. It would be incredible easy to assume these are people eager to volunteer their time to the Mozilla Project and that all we need to do is give them something to do.
But that would be a huge assumption. Would Mozilla ever build a product or feature without user research? Probably not. The research working group will attempt to better understand:
- How potential contributors find us,
- What they believe their involvement with Mozilla might include and,
- What Mozilla staff believe their role is in volunteer contributor interactions.
Having this data means we can respond more effectively to the needs of our “users” as we look to build infrastructure to support them. It will also help us avoid our own biases, because we are likely designing programs for people who aren’t like us.
This working group is in it’s infancy (currently Larissa Shapiro, Emily Goligoski, Gemma Petrie, and Mardi Douglass). We are current framing the work, building our boxes, and will have more to share out, including how to get involved, in a few weeks. Our wiki page, in the meantime, is here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Contribute/Working_Groups#Research.