How the Mozilla Community helps shape our products

A product is first an idea, then a project, and then a prototype. It is tested, refined, and localized so that it is accessible to users in different regions. When the product is released into the world, these users need to be supported. Of course, there are always going to be improvements, fixes, and new features, and those will also need to be planned, developed, tested…and so on, and so forth…

What do all these stages have in common?

Here at Mozilla, our awesome community is there every step of the way to support and contribute to our products. None of what we do would be possible without this multicultural, multilingual community of like-minded people working together to be a better internet.

Of course, contributions to our products are not everything that the community does. There is much more that our community creates, contributes, and discusses.

However,  as a major release recently happened we want to take the occasion to celebrate our community by giving you a peek at how their great contributions helped with version 106 (as well as all versions!) of Firefox.

Ideation (Mozilla Connect)

Ideas for new features and products come from many different sources. Research, data, internal ideas, and feature requests during Foxfooding…at Mozilla one of the sources of new ideas is Mozilla Connect.

Mozilla Connect is a collaborative space for ideas, feedback, and discussions that help shape future product releases.  Anyone can propose and vote for new ideas. The ideas that gain more support are brought to the appropriate team for review.

Firefox Picture in picture subtitles was a feature requested by the Mozilla Connect Community!

Connect is also a place where Mozilla Product Managers ask for feedback from the community when thinking about ways to improve our product, and where the community can interact directly with Product Managers and engineers.

In this way, the community contributes to continuous product improvement and introduces diverse perspectives and experiences to our product cycle.

Connect played a role in the latest Firefox Major release on both sides of the ideation cycle.

Are you enjoying the new PDF editor’s functionalities? Then you should know that the community discussed this idea in Connect. After many upvotes, the idea was officially brought to the product team.

After the release is done, the community joined discussions with Firefox Product Managers to give feedback and new suggestions on the new features.

Interested? Get started here.

Development (Code contribution and patches)

Mozilla developers work side by side with the Community.

Community members find and help solve product bugs and help with the development of different features.

Community is fundamental for the development of Firefox, as community members routinely add their code contributions to the Nightly version of Firefox!

You can check out how staff members and contributors work together to solve issues in the Nightly version of Firefox.

Interested? Check out how you can submit your first code contribution. You can also discover more about Nightly here.

Testing and reporting bugs 

There are many ways in which the Community helps find and report bugs. One of these is a Foxfooding campaign.  

Because we still have to meet a Mozillian that does not enjoy a good (and…less good) pun, Foxfooding is the Firefox version of Dogfooding.

This is where we make a feature or a product available to our community (and staff) before it is released to the public. Then we ask them to use it, test it, and submit bugs, product feedback, and feature requests.

This is an incredibly precious process, as it ensures that the product is tested by a very diverse (and enthusiastic) group of people, bringing unexpected feedback, and testing in much more diverse conditions than we could do internally.

Plus it is, you know, fun ;)

We ran a Foxfooding campaign for the last Major Release too! And the community all over the world submitted more than 60 bugs.

Foxfooding campaigns are published here. You can subscribe to our Community Newsletter to be notified when one is starting.

Furthermore, community members find, report, and help solve Firefox Nightly bugs, as well as bugs that appear in other Firefox versions.

Finding and reporting bugs is a great contribution, helping to continuously improve Mozilla Products.

In fact, simply using Firefox Nightly (or Beta) is a way to contribute easily to the Mozilla project. The simple fact of using Nightly sends anonymous data on and crash reports that help discover issues before we ship to the general public.

Localization (l10n)

Currently, Firefox is localized in 98 languages (110 in the Nightly version) and that is entirely thanks to the effort of a determined international community.

Localization is important because we are committed to a Web open and accessible to all— where a person’s demographic characteristics do not determine their online access, opportunities, or quality of experience.

The Mozilla Localization effort represents a commitment to advancing these aspirations. They work together with people everywhere who share the goal to make the internet an even better place for everyone.

The community worked really hard on the global launch for the Major release! Thank you to all localizers that took part in this global launch. There were more than 274 folks working on, and (approximately) 67,094 translations!

Users Support (SuMo)

Once a product is out into the world, the work is far from done! There are always bugs that need reporting, users who need troubleshooting help, and new features that need explanation…

At Mozilla, the Mozilla Support a.k.a. SuMO community is the one supporting users all over the world, answering support questions through the forum, socials, or mobile app stores, creating helpdesk articles, and localizing the articles.

When it’s done right, providing high-quality support may contribute to our user’s loyalty and retention. Plus, it can help improve the product: when we bring the data back to the product team, we can establish a feedback loop that can be delivered into product improvements as well.

The SuMO community is actively helping users during the Major release. Up until now:

  • 3975 forum responses were sent during the release from 2344 questions that were submitted.
  • 12 support articles were created, updated, and translated into Greek, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Polish, and many more.
  • They posted responses to review in the 445 Google Play Store responses
  • They answer 88 Twitter questions

And they are still going strong!

Want to Join?

Would you also like to contribute? Our products are one of the ways in which we shape the web, and protect the privacy of our users. Getting involved is a great way to contribute to the missions and get in touch with like-minded people.

Please check our /contribute page for more information, subscribe to our Community Newsletter,  or join our #communityroom in Matrix.

About Francesca Minelli

Community Manager at Mozilla.

More articles by Francesca Minelli…