Support/mobile/mobile support community plan

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SUMO's 2011 plan to create, grow and maintain a community around mobile support

In addition to the well-established strategies for desktop Firefox community building, we're also doing a number of specific things for mobile, because there are differences for mobile: We need to start a community from scratch, in a market with fewer active users and fans of our software. What follows is an analysis of the current situation of the community around mobile support.

SWOT analysis


  • We have wide coverage for mobile documentation in several languages, and more and more locales are catching up.
  • We expect to get most of our top 10 locales to cover the most important Firefox 4 mobile articles for the launch of 4.0
  • We have started advertising our roles for mobile helpers specifically on our sites, and several people a week show interest in joining. We still need to evaluate this.


  • Most of our current contributors do not have a phone that runs Firefox Mobile.
  • Our current support platform lacks essential tools for community building.
  • Our stats show that even our most advertised „superheroes wanted“ page, gets only a tiny amount of visitors. So, most people don’t even know that we could use their help.
  • Compared to our desktop user base the mobile user base is still small, since we haven't released a final version on Android yet. That also means the pool of potential contributors is smaller.


  • There will be a huge increae in user numbers and marketshare once we release a stable version on Android.
  • We have a lot of users of our desktop software, and they are eventually going to use mobile browsers as well
  • Firefox mobile is evolving quickly, and will get even better with time, attracting more people, (also, phones are getting faster)
  • With sync we have an organic band between desktop, where we are strong, and mobile. Sync users have prime reason to stay with Firefox, also on mobile and are most likely the more advanced type of users, therefore more interested in support than the average.
  • Our support platform is evolving quickly and by the middle of this year we will have a lot of tools for community building at our disposal
  • We have a huge amount of people visiting mozilla sites, that’s a pool we mostly haven’t tapped in yet, and offers lots of opportunities, the more people learn about the fact that we need their help the bigger the community can grow.
  • Since Firefox mobile is new and the underdog once again, we might see the same affect as around the Firefox 1.0 desktop launch with increased participation to help with something new and promising, even if you can’t recommend it to your parents yet.


  • We don’t know yet how the move to quarterly releases will effect our community, localization or support in general
  • Google doesn’t have Chrome for Android out yet, their stock browsers is not as strong as it could/should be. They could release Chrome mobile this year and make it even more difficult for Firefox to attract users, and for us to engage the community, since Chrome already has a following of early adaptor on the desktop, the same crowd we’re trying to reach now.

Short term strategy around the Firefox 4 mobile release

'Job' Adverts

This month we started to put ‚requests for help‘ on our own sites, they are worded like classifieds for jobs, with a description of needed skills etc. Our first one was for mobile support on Android. Several people a week have started to reply to those. We still need to evaluate the actual outcome, but is shows that there is a lot of opportunity for community building in this approach. The next step would be to get those ‚ads‘ on other mozilla pages that get much more traffic.

Doc and Localization Sprint

For the Firefox 4 launch we are going to have a doc sprint to garner some excitement around the release. Unlike the localization sprints this would be more like competition with the most valuable contributor winning a personalized mobile Firefox 4 T-Shirt. Contributions can come in forms of article improvements, new articles, screencasts or any other form that adds value to our KB. This would be in addition to our weekly KB-wednesdays where we focus on improving a few KB articles each week.

Forum Competition

For the forums we are already tracking our most active users, and we can tell whose answers were regarded as the most helpful. Currently we have a high rate of answered questions in the mobile forums, also owing to the low number of questions. Since that will probably change dramatically around the Firefox 4 release we will start a campaign to reward the most valuable contributor for the 2 weeks after the release. The winner would get a Firefox 4 mobile T-Shirt signed by key developers of the product. That would be well publicized, and spark peoples interest for the time after the two weeks.

Support Firefox Day

We will hold a support Firefox day (SFD) around the day of the release to direct attention to the forums and live chat. The SFD would have the whole SUMO team helping out people in the forums and live chat, and talking about it on IRC. We’d also have a video with people from Mozilla offices sending thank you notes to contributors. That would be mainly to help our existing community to see mobile as a legitimate part of the Mozilla Firefox universe.

Attracting Early Adaptors and Tinkerers

The SUMO community is very much focussed on end users, but for the initial phase of the mobile Firefox release we will have a lot of early adaptors who are interested in tinkering with the platform, and learn ‚hands on‘. We will push people harder towards our nightly builds with public announcements on blogs and our forums and encourage people to discuss issues with those builds, extensions, or tweaks in our forums.

Overarching Goals for 2011: Focus on Support Forum

We spent 2010 to build a usable tool for documentation, since we are trying to support a vast majority of our users (over 90%) via written documentation. That project was successful, and our new software is used today to write, update, and localize the documentation.

This year we are focusing on the community building and maintaining aspect, specifically asynchronous personalized problem solving (eg. forum) The foundation for that was laid last year, with a brand new software inspired by the likes of Quora and Stack overflow, but this year will see vast improvements in usability and community enabling features, like a way to become a member of a group and receiving regular updates, private messaging, and a Karma system that will bring in elements of games to support. Furthermore we are are working with contributor engagement to come up with ways to build reward systems to build sustainable longterm relationships with contributors. That will lead to new tools that we will test with the SUMO community throughout 2011

Social Networking Features

Once we have improved our software to allow for groups (end of March), we will create a specialized mobile group with a dedicated leader. That will give us a way to reach out to mobile contributors specifically and it will give our contributors much more of a belonging to a specific group. That will include a group dashboard where the latest information can be shared among the members of the groups. Soon afterwards we will enable private messaging so people have a way to contact new contributors to join their group or help them get involved with the rest of the support community. In the second half of 2011 we will experiment with other networking features, eg. mark someone as a friend, or follow someone's contributions etc.

Elements of Games

The longer term community engagement will be based in large parts on our Karma system. Karma is a system to reward good user behavior, to motivate people and induce healthy competition for the benefit of users. The system will span across the different parts of Kitsune (KB, Livechat, Forums) while having it's center on the Forums and in particular on users profile. It will be our first step into the introduction of elements of games, bringing points, badges and leader-boards into our system. It will also give us a better understanding of how our contributors are using the site and help users.

New and Adapted Rewards

Based on the Karma system we will follow up with specific rewards for those contributors. We are currently working with the engagement team to agree on the core principles and guidelines to develop reward in order to get to sustainable long term relationships with contributors. Those rewards will be adapted to individual contributor needs (eg. helping them grow, gain experience for a CV, get credit, etc.). We hope that those tools used in combination with the ones listed above will help to create, grow and maintain a community around mobile support throughout 2011 and beyond.