Redesigning the Labs website: we need you

Mozilla Labs was created to give the community a safe and welcoming place to develop, research, talk about, and play with new and crazy ideas. Labs is all about creativity, community, experimentation and collaboration, and we’re striving to build a world-class showcase of open innovation for the Web.

Since its inception, Labs has helped further establish Mozilla as a leading source of Web innovation, and now it’s time to step it up to the next level. As a growing community, we’ve started dozens of experiments since Labs first came together, but we want to start thousands. We’ve grown to thousands of participants, but we’d like to welcome tens of thousands more.

Thousands of ideas, projects, and experiments being developed and refined by a community over a hundred thousand strong. We know what an ambitious vision this is, but we also know that it is both vital, and possible.

To achieve this, Labs must undergo a major evolution of its own, and one of the first projects we’re undertaking is to rethink, redesign, and redeploy the Labs website. In the grand Labs tradition, we’ll be doing this in an open, incremental, and experimental fashion. We’ll be playing with new ideas and tools, keeping what works, throwing away what doesn’t, and iterating on what’s promising.

And we need your help.

Just as Labs works to harness the intelligence and creativity of its community towards developing new technologies and ideas, we want to harness that incredible creative power to create a virtual space that will support the goals we hope to achieve over the next year.

What does a site look like that helps us generate thousands of ideas, and supports projects created by a community numbering tens of thousands? How would you build it? What tools should it include? How can it encourage the growth of such a strong and vibrant community?

We’ve already started thinking about and playing with some ideas and possible tools, but it’s all fairly rough since we’re still very early on in the process. You can check out what we’ve got written up so far over on the Mozilla Wiki.

The web needs to evolve. Mozilla has always believed that evolution happens most effectively when it happens in the open, and when everyone is welcome and able to participate. This is what Mozilla Labs exists to achieve, but we need your help, your ideas, and your participation.

Don’t feel like you can’t participate until you’ve answered every question here. Labs isn’t about polish. If you could make one suggestion right now, what would it be? You can leave a comment here, or in the Labs forum, or email me privately. I’m really excited about this project, and to hear how you can help us build an even more generative, open, and community-based Labs website.

Deb Richardson, on behalf of the Mozilla Labs team

11 responses

  1. Jason Thompson wrote on :

    Add a text editor Like FCKeditor to the Comment boxes so easier to past links, pictures, text color to community Form pages…something yahoo needs to do why I am checking out Ubiquity… A company like yahoo making millions should have a lot better editor for mail…And this site to say 😛

  2. Vinay wrote on :

    In our house we have 3 systems, While browsing in and would have opened many tabs and windows in the browser. Is there any option in the browser to save all the links that are presently opened and mail them or do something so that all of them can be opened by same user if he/she wants to browse in other system.

  3. Linton wrote on :

    I personally don’t see a connection to anything anyone is talking about and the general idea of “labs” or “concepts.” What everyone is talking about in comments and the write up sounds like a great “projects” website. If you are going to do that, you might as well re-do the Mozilla add-ons website comment system or whatever.

    I think the model should be closer to the patent office not Mozdev. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mozdev but at what point exactly does a project not belong in labs? Version 1.0? Version 0.5? I say if you have something even mildly past version .0001, it should not be here. Labs is a place for “ideas” right?

    Lets say I have an idea that’s 10 or 20 years off. I don’t know, a browser that reads the images from my mind and does a reverse image search. That’s not going to version 1.0 anytime soon! What place would it have here in everyone’s idea of a new lab’s site? Related programs column: blank. People working on programming box. zip! Demo link. Nadda!

    And stop slapping Facebook on everything. If there is no real reason for two projects to be “friends” then they shouldn’t be. Anyway, sorry if this came out like a rant, I just don’t like what I have seen. I have a terrible feeling the new site will be crap.

  4. David Boswell wrote on :

    I think could help with some of the redesign requirements, specifically “Must scale up to 1000s of projects and 100000s of participations”. The site is currently hosting over 1000 projects with over 200 of them active.

    The site has also been acting as a community incubator and many prominent features and applications started there, including Greasemonkey, Total Recall (session restore) and Camino. Some Labs projects are also already using some of mozdev’s infrastructure.

    Using mozdev would also fit in with some other principles and goals, including “Use existing tools or software as much as possible – avoid extensive development” and “Must be easy to do site updates (web UI/wysiwyg, not SVN)”. Creating a wysiwyg editing interface is next on mozdev’s roadmap:

    We’d be very interested in talking with the Labs team more about how we might be able to work together to benefit both of our communities.

  5. Aniruddh wrote on :

    I think provide a Meebo Room for chat or IRC so all people can chat via any IM id and should start support of open Id so user can log in via any ID by this it will be more easy and simple. Now for coloration provide tool kind of Google Groups which include forums and provide a wiki tool which can be easy to use..Still I think most of wiki are not as easy as they should be..try wet paint. I like that wiki tool.And for video conferencing provide seesmic support its kind of a tool which is work with a web cam and easy to use. We don’t need live video conferencing but some thing we cant express by writing or by pictures in that case video support will be good.I’m not talking about you tube or other video sharing websites..may be you can export the seesmic videos to other video sharing website and after that you can post it to anywhere in website. Here you can use micro blogging service like twitter or yammer so for other user it will be easy to track new updates for project. and also provide RSS feeds so user can see the updates.

    I think there r many tools on internet but we should use the tool which are not so complicated and not so techie for users..It should be simple and easy, Remember the main aim is to provide easy tools so user can execute and collaborate the projects very easy.

  6. Jeremy Giberson wrote on :

    Obviously project tagging is a must. And while most sites implement a tag based search, few implement multiple tag search. In other words, as a project can have multiple tags that describe its use and function, a search should accept multiple tags in any order to find projects that contain all specified keywords.

    Tag browsing: Some times you just want to see whats out there by genre. So being able to browse all projects by specifying tags that interest you. So a browsing feature that is filtered by (one or more) tags.

    Another discovery feature-Random project link: Clicking this link takes you to a detailed (or home page on labs.mozilla) random project. This link should always be available and in the same location. It would be nice if you could apply a tag filter to the random link as well.

  7. Fabien Benetou wrote on :

    Im myself trying to build an “idea portfolio” so in the process I collected the list of “alternatives” (not to say competitors 😉 so you can have a look at it here

  8. Brian King wrote on :

    Deb, we at Mozdev would like to get involved to see how Mozdev can help out and more tightly integrate with features that you need. We already have a lot of infrastructure in place.

  9. Coleman wrote on :

    I’m with Lukas, only I think there should be more visual collaboration, like a publicly-edited wireframe.

  10. Lukas Blakk wrote on :

    Live-chatting capabilities, or even better – video conferencing for people to brainstorm together. When I was getting into videoblogging a few years back there was this regular video conference where people would chime in from all over and discuss where we were going, what was important, and it meant a lot to put faces to names.

    I like the idea in the wiki about having profiles and projects you’re working on/proposing. Like Facebook style but for your ideas (and code?). A public sketch book where you can jot down your late night inspiration and maybe in the morning someone will have jumped on board with you or come up with some great feedback for you.

    Having some kind of simple project management tools built in would be useful, cause ideas are all fine and good but tracking the actual progress on a project would certainly help with completion. Ways to assign people tasks and due dates, to graph the milestones of a project, to share files with others, to set up a front page for the project with your work as it’s released and updated.

    Will think more on this. I love the concept of Mozilla Labs, can’t wait to see how it goes.

  11. FP wrote on :

    I was trying to find the source for one of your projects a few weeks ago and I just could not find a link on the project’s page. So please make sure links to source/bug trackers/etc are more prominent for each project.