Back in May, we launched one final push to migrate Fx2 users to Fx3 via a major update (MU). At the time, 10% of Firefox users were still on Fx2. If you’re curious about the results of that push, that 10% was down to 8% a couple weeks later. Aside from these results, there was one interesting twist integrated into this MU offer – people seeing the prompt below were also asked if they wanted to provide some feedback if they were choosing not to upgrade
(Please ignore the Fx version numbers in this screenshot. Unfortunately, we don’t have an exact copy on hand.)
For people interested in leaving their feedback, here is the survey they saw:
In total, nearly 5,000 users provided feedback. Similar to our other recent feedback efforts, we decided to manually read through comments from the second question above in order to extract the most insight and best understand the true pain points and thoughts of these Firefox users. Sorting through the comments, I noticed about fourteen different types of comments/issues that were cited multiple times… a distribution breakdown and example comments are below.
Location Bar (clearing history) = “There are several issues with Firefox 3, but the browser is not very secure if browsing history cannot be deleted from the location bar. The Tools->Clear Private Data command was no help.”
Speed/Memory Leak Concerns (real or perceived) = “I had heard it made your computer run slowly when it first came out….but after a few months i had forgotten about this tid bit and installed ‘3’. It did indeed bring my computer to a near standstill. My friend did this as well. Another friend then jarred my memory as to why and so…i then un-installed it and re-installed ‘2’ and since then my computer has been running great….so….would you take the chance again?”
Add-ons Compatibility = “There are a number of add-ons which will not work with Firefox 3, Getmail, Silverscreen, Feebe and others.”
Look & Feel (general UI) = “Compared to v2, v3 has an interface that sucks, sucks, sucks big time. Graphically, it’s much worse: harder to read (too dark, type too small), icons lack color, etc.”
Bookmarks (UI) = “Getting to alphabetized bookmarks with the latest version is a serious pain in the fundament and my wife and I continue to be amazed as to why you decided to take a huge step backwards with what was supposed to be an advance. Cure this problem and we’ll move up. Thank you.”
Crashes = “Firefox 3 Crashes every time I install it. Even with a clean upgrade. It won’t load at all it just crashes restarts and crashes again.”
Lost Stuff when Upgrading = “Last time I took a Firefox upgrade, my entire Favorites list was wiped out. It would take me more than a year of frustration and work if that happened again. So, I’m afraid to take another upgrade.”
Developer for Testing = “I am Web developer and have to test my page in all browser. So I am keeping ff2 alongwith ff3 and other browser .”
Don’t Fix What’s not Broken = “I need more time to figure out what to do. I am happy with all the stuff I have and the status quo. My computer works well as it is. Do I really need this update? ”
Fonts (size) = “The window is huge. the writing is huge. when I go searching only 2 or 3 websites fit in the window.”
U3 Compatibility = “Firefox 3 does not work on U3 devices in fact it makes the device unusable and so does the latest version of Thunderbird. The U3 device only accepts the mobile versions although I keep getting upgrade versions popping up.”
Cost? = “If you say this is free. I have always heard there is really nothing free in this world. Times are tough all over, especially for us seniors living on social security.”
Printing Problems = “When printing from FF3, text comes out as scrambled ASCII. doesn’t work on Win(XP/Vista), Linux, etc. Big pain in the butt. I love FF3 otherwise, but as a network admin I just can’t make the switch.”
Enterprise Support = “We can use only software expressly approved and that works together with our network and other older software. We can’t download or install anything on our own.”
In our next post, we’ll provide some interpretation around these findings and discuss possible implications from a product standpoint. Stay tuned for Part II!
Lastly, thanks to Sam Sidler for implementing this survey and to Eric Hergenrader for providing much of the analysis.