Silent Update whatsnew

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Silent Update: Lessen the showing of the what's new page
Stage Shipped
Status Complete
Release target Firefox 8
Health OK
Status note Working with Product Marketing on the new channels to communicate to our users.


Product manager Chris Lee
Directly Responsible Individual Lawrence Mandel
Lead engineer Laura Mesa
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead Mihaela Velimiroviciu
UX lead `
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks


Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

With Silent Update, the What's New page itself is less relevant to the user given we want to be "silent". However, there is a need for Product Marketing/Engagement to communicate to our users on a regular basis and the purpose of this feature page is to define those requirements.

2. Users & use cases

Ways to Minimize the What's New Page Experience Ideas:

  • Decrease frequency - perhaps taper off
  • Utilize new Home Tab
  • Move link to bookmark
  • Move link into some other area in the Menu bar
  • A opt-in model
  • Bigger "About Firefox" page to let users know What's New (LMesa)
  • Start page (60-70% of users do not change the default)
  • Home tab will replace Start page (options that allow people to customize)
  • "Getting Started" bookmark


  • Also note that the snippet space as we know it will be replaced by the Home Tab as well
  • Involve the UX people to help incorporate engagement touchpoints into UI changes coming
  • First Run will not be touched

3. Dependencies

We already have the ability to enable or disable the what's new page on a per release basis. The client side work to provide this functionality is available with Firefox 4 and above. The remaining server side work is being done in bug 459972.

4. Requirements

Engagement/PMM Feature Requirements:

  • Be able to tell people What's New within Firefox (updatable)
  • Engagement touchpoints - email, Twitter, Facebook
  • Promo spots for campaigns (ex. Webify Me) and products (mobile, apps, add-ons, etc)
  • User alerts (ex. "Your Flash is out-of-date")
    • (all of the above have the standard features of a web page - easily updatable; flexible in terms of A-B testing, rotating content, etc...vs something hard-coded into the browser chrome)
  • Ability to push people off older versions (ex. warning people to upgrade from 3.6)
  • A/B test who sees the what's new page (i.e. 95% see it, 5% don't see it) and track their engagement



Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification

  • The client side functionality was implemented for Firefox 4.
  • The remaining server side work is being done in bug 459972

6. User experience design


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation

For this feature, the implementation will provide the ability to declaratively (in the release manifest) turn the what's new page on or off for a given release.

  • The client side functionality was implemented for Firefox 4.
  • The remaining server side work is being done in bug 459972

Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria

Stakeholders can make a decision to show or hide the what's new page for each release. The what's new page can be declaratively turned on or off by releng with no client side code changes.

Feature details

Priority P1
Rank 1.1
Theme / Goal Experience
Roadmap Firefox Desktop
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Desktop
Project Silent Update
Engineering team Release Engineering

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security sec-review-unnecessary `
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance Signed Off Test Plan
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `