Hello, present and future Mozillians!
We are continuing our series of mid-year posts regarding the state and future of Mozilla Support. If you missed the previous posts, part one and part two are still online. This time we are going to talk a bit more about (Support) Localization and the plans for the second half of the year.
Over the years, localizer activity on the Support site went up and down, influenced by Firefox popularity, new released on different platforms, and general localization needs across Mozilla. Peaking at over 200 people around three years ago, it is now oscillating at 40-50% of that number.
While Mozilla keep continuously shipping new Firefox releases and experimenting with new ideas, the global audience will keep increasing in numbers and languages – and we want to make sure that the site stays relevant and informative to as many users out there as possible.
Design update of the site
The Support site has long been overdue to get a facelift that would make it on par with the modern and clean look of mozilla.org. Recently, we have seen the first (preview & github issue) steps towards that.
At the moment, the preview is not fully localized, but once the updated English wording and new layout are finalized, we will be promoting
You could argue that this is only tangentially related to localization, but it may actually have a significant impact on the site’s usability for speakers of different languages. Therefore, reporting any issues found on the non-English versions of the site is very important for a successful visual refresh of support.mozilla.org. We will also keep tracking site usage and interactions by users around the globe to make sure the changes have not negatively impacted site traffic.
Knowledge Base clean-up
With over 700 individual pieces of content in the Knowledge Base at the moment of writing, it is one of the biggest repositories of useful product information around Mozilla – and probably the most useful one for users of Firefox (and not only) around the world.
Changes to Mozilla’s product strategy and line-up have naturally affected the Knowledge Base and its localization profile over time. Experiments or projects become products, products become obsolete, etc. – and the content we present to the users should be displayed accordingly and evolve with the changes.
This means you can expect (or have already seen) some content going away into the archive (we do our best never to delete anything) – and new products or projects popping up as well. One of the bigger near future additions to the Knowledge Base, for example, will be the Pocket support content, at the moment hosted here.
Similarly to products, languages come and go, by popularity. While we do aim to maintain as many languages available as possible, very often the amount of content to be localized across Mozilla is already a big challenge for smaller communities around the world. You can read more about the idea and reasons behind it here. As of the writing of this post:
Locales with a “Top 100” goal before the end of 2018
Locales that need wider community support to not be archived before the end of 2018
Locales that will be archived before the end of 2018
Localization request & community communication optimization
At the moment, because of the distributed nature of product development, marketing, and support, almost all of the requests for each of those separate areas come separately and are not reviewed or prioritized as a unified part of internationalization efforts at Mozilla.
This localization “request firehose” may work for separate teams or tools, but definitely does not make it easier for localization coordinators and localizers in distributed communities. Missing a single “source of truth” for localization needs for each bigger release or project introduces confusion, false expectations, and difficulties in organizing local communities around localization sprints.
Optimizing the way localization requests are filed (including new or updated Support content) through a unified process should, in turn, make it easier for localization coordinators to message contributors around the world using a single, reliable channel (for example, the Localization blog). This could also influence the way resources for organizing localization events are requested (making it easier for everyone to track and handle such requests), and have a positive impact on transparency, expectations, and timely content localization.
In short, less should be more. Less noise and confusion = more fun and better results.
Conversely, it may also mean that in some cases, the localization work for the Support site might be contracted through paid localization agencies in order to expedite the process – but we will never close contribution options for Mozillians around the world.
As all localization coordinators around Mozilla are increasingly working together on streamlining the process, we will be announcing smaller and bigger tweaks to the way localization happens at Mozilla.
The “daily stuff” and the “unplanned future”
Other that the points made above, there is quite a lot of the daily and mundane that will be happening, depending on timing, community engagement and developer support. To name a few:
Support-specific & common resources for localizers
Learning materials for new localizers, global locale style guides, best practices, cool tricks, tweaks to existing tools… and the list can go on. We already have some of these in place, while others still need to be identified, defined, discussed, and experimented with.
Modernized metrics dashboards for Support
Together with the Open Innovation team, we hope to set up an easy to maintain collection of dashboards for the Support site, using Bitergia’s open source software. If the project takes places (pending resource and timing allocation, just like anything else around Mozilla), localization will definitely be a part of it.
Recognition of your work
Always a hot topic across Mozilla, it is no different for localization. Swag goes only so far (and some of you don’t necessarily like t-shirts or stickers, which we can absolutely understand), so a bit of experimentation and soul-searching on our side may be required to make sure we show how much we appreciate your involvement in all the languages that Mozilla speaks, thanks to you.
That’s it, then (more or less)! Please, stay tuned for more updates from the world of Support and localization – and remember that your work to make Mozilla happen in so many languages does not pass unnoticed. Thank you for being there for the millions of users who can experience the internet in an open source way thanks to you all :)