Cats Love Firefox Support

Let’s start with the punch line – roughly 50% of people arriving at Firefox Support ( do so accidentally.  And yes, cats are a common culprit!  Below is the story of how we arrived at this insight.

The metrics and SUMO teams have been working hard to better understand the traffic at and users’ experiences there.  One critical item we’ve had trouble wrapping our heads around has been the unusually high bounce rate on the SUMO home page.  Looking strictly at the web analytic numbers, roughly 86% of visitors immediately exit the site.

As a multi-pronged approach to figure out what the heck is going on here, we considered a couple options:

  1. Implement a feedback button/form on the home page, allowing users to tell us what is on their mind – more on this below
  2. Modify our tracking so that we can see the percentage of visits that are derived from people hitting the F1 key on their keyboard – the SUMO team will soon be discussing the details of this change

For approach #1, we initially implemented a button in the bottom corner of the page (button and feedback form are pictured below).  This page sees nearly 10,000,000 visitors monthly, so we were fairly sure that we would be able to understand some key insights rather quickly.  Unfortunately, events did not play out as expected.  Over the course of nearly a month, we had fewer than 1,000 total responses, which translates to a click-through rate of roughly 0.0001% (ouch!).  To boot, there didn’t appear to be any revealing patterns or insights within the responses.


At this point, we felt bewildered and didn’t know where else to turn.  So, what did we do?  We implemented a pop-up.

Let me stress that I hate pop-ups, hate them.  Given our circumstances, we decided to run the feedback pop-up question for just a 24-hour period and show it to 60% of visitors to the SUMO home page (they saw it when trying to leave the page).


The findings were amazing. Firstly, out of 700 total comments, only one or two people said something negative about the pop-up itself.  Many comments were along the lines of, “Firefox is great” (someone even pointed out that we should have included a positive category within the survey form).  Here’s one example:

“i admire this site and this browser. it is faster, and safer,…….. so many add ons that can use and its fun…… i think this is the best internet browser that i have…. i using ubuntu 9.04 and its work fine…tnx more power to you…. and to your team….”

Secondly, we were able to confirm a hypothesis – nearly half of the traffic to the SUMO home page appears to be accidental (e.g., a user accidentally hitting F1 on his/her keyboard).  The screenshot below comes from Kampyle’s dashboard (they’re the feedback analytics firm who helped us with this project) and it shows a breakdown of people’s feedback by category.  That blue slice of the pie is “Arrived by Mistake”… that’s huge!  Even though it shows as 40%, we’re guessing that the true percentage is closer to 50%, as some folks arriving by mistake likely closed their tab/window within a fraction of a second and missed our feedback question.

[As a side note, this is a perfect example of why pure web analytics – alone – can fail us (analysts, marketers, business managers, etc.).  Without hearing real comments from real people, we could have easily been led down the wrong path by relying solely on the data.]


Lastly, we wanted to look at the exact feedback left by people visiting by mistake.  The vast majority indicated that they indeed realized that they had accidentally hit the F1 key.  Diving in a little further, we wanted to share a small sample of actual comments.  Enjoy!

“actually the cat walked on the keyboard”

“bent over to pick something up and accidentally leaned on the f1 key”

Cat jumped onto laptop”


“finger too big.  finger hit f1 by mistake.  stupid bigfinger.”

“i was dusting, its nice to know this site exists.”

“I was stretching in my chair, and next thing I know, I’m on the FF help site. OOPS!!”

“I was using a netbook in the dark and thought I was pressing 1 but I hit F1 by mistake. Aside from that I’ve usually found the firefox support site quite helpful on the rare occasion that I’ve needed it.”

“my 2 year old was playing with the keyboard”

“My 9 month old was playing with my keyboard.”

“My baby likes to grab my computer and press buttons.  She grabbed my keyboard and held the F1 button down so the Support site opened in about nine tabs.”

My cat stepped on my laptop. :-P”

“My daughter is always pressing it. I never knew which button it was before now.”

“my fat finger syndrome is acting up again”

“My nails are long and I constantly hit the F1 button.”

“now I know which key my baby hit when he was banging on the keyboard.”

“Oops. Accidentally hit F1, but wow! The support site is great! Lots of info. I may have to come back intentionally!  Thanks for a great product!”

“the key was hit by the telephone”

“Yes, I arrived at this site by pressing F1 key. No matter how I came here but would like to let you know – I love Firefox and thanks for provinding us this great product.”

cat hit keys”

Cat on keyboard”

“Dropped food on keyboard”

my cat hit the help key….lol”

My cat pressed F1, but it’s cool”

“my pet rat walked over my keyboard and hit the F1 Key LOL – Sorry!”

“No clue–my cat was wandering around and probably stepped on something but it was nice ending up here because I’m seeing all kinds of things that look very interesting.”

“my son was hitting some random keys on my laptop and suddenly I get this.”

13 responses

  1. Justin Dolske wrote on :

    I think our feline userbase would be better served by having a front-page video of some birds, mice, or perhaps fish.

  2. Majken “Lucy” Connor wrote on :

    As someone who was pretty convinced of this already, it’s great to hear.

    The part that’s *really* interesting to me now is the huge slice for “website performance.”

    Same with “search for answers” though I’m not at all sure what that heading means.

    looking forward to seeing more analysis of the data (and just plain more of the data)!

  3. Ken Saunders wrote on :

    LOL, and LOL some more!

    I don’t know though. Can you really trust that they are telling the truth?
    Perhaps what actually happened is they passed out and their head landed on the keyboard and when they woke up, they saw the pop-up right there in front of them but were too embarrassed to tell the truth.

    Drunk Browsing is the new Ecstasy but it is no laughing matter.

    Awesome work and post as always.

  4. mimor wrote on :

    This is nice.
    I like the thinking before implementing the pop-up.
    Nice job.
    Oh, it even helped people find the F1 button ><

  5. Kurt (supernova_00) wrote on :

    I can definitely agree with the cat problem.

    Bug 475358 would definitely help here.

  6. Gordon P. Hemsley wrote on :

    I would often have that problem with the Mac keyboard’s “help” key. I don’t think it brought up SUMO, but it was very annoying.

    “finger too big. finger hit [help] by mistake. stupid bigfinger.”

  7. Cthulhu wrote on :

    A Shoggoth walked on my keyboard, dissolving it and opening the help page. I had some trouble closing the page, so I took a millennial nap. SUMO being open is all that’s saving you from complete annihilation by ancient evils, so keep those cats near your keyboards!

  8. OtterMommy wrote on :

    Hi KK! I would never have thought that cats could be such fans of f1. My baby has taken my work computer out of my hands, placed it on the floor and walked back and forth over it.

  9. kilinkis wrote on :

    kilinkis walked on my keyboard last nite!

  10. teacat wrote on :

    Ha. I got to this article because it appeared either I had a virus or my kitten had done something, because it appeared my 30 some tabs were now all the support page. … I was searching for ‘tabs changed to help, cat’. Looks like actually, she opened about 50 + help pages, but thankfully all my carefully researched tabs were still there, just buried behind them.

  11. financial spreadbetting wrote on :

    That stat is amazing. Can’t believe that all those people get there by mistakes. Might explain why some websites have conversion problems i.e. trafic not targeted.

  12. IT Support Rochdale wrote on :

    Them stats are really good, please keep up the good work!!

  13. gk wrote on :

    Heh. I found this page trying to find way how to disable the f1 (help) from firefox. Since my lenovo has “hot air” coming out from the corner where the f1 button is, my kitten likes to be there and is many times a day opening the firefox help tab… this is not so bad, but when i’m not stopping it there may be hundreds of open help tabs, when i come back.

    I posted this same on the blog where i found link to here..

    I really would like to figure out how to disable the firefox help 🙂