Firefox Onboarding

I was once asked what was the most difficult part of working on onboarding. It’s getting different internal organization to work together. Figuring out what to do or to stop doing is easy compared with convincing teams to work together and to adopt new objectives instead of doing what they’ve always done.

How do people get Firefox?

While working on the Firefox support website, it became clear that most of the problems people have were due to a few issues: unwanted extensions, hijacked search bar, and hijacked home pages. I designed a tool that we could use to easily fix those problems but the more difficult thing was understanding how people got into those situations to begin with and prevent it from happening. So I started from the beginning. 

I created multiple journey maps by watching people get Firefox installed on their computers and talking to other employees. I teased out some journeys that we weren’t taking into consideration at all.

It was immediately clear that we had a huge problem. At the time, Mozilla didn’t do any search engine marketing because it seemed prohibitively expensive. But when I showed the Chief Marketing Officer video after video of people clicking on 3rd party ads placed on “Firefox” and “Mozilla” keywords where those people were then loaded up with malicious extensions and had their search engines hijacked, he instituted our first SEM program.

What’s New?

The release of Firefox 4 (2011) swamped the support team with thousands of requests that could have been avoided. Most were about things like where had the home button had moved (to the other side of the address bar). For the next big Firefox release (2014) we handled this successfully creating an experience that guided everyone though the most important changes. Our testing showed us that just showing people a web page after installation or update would be ignored by most people. So, taking inspiration from the old Mac System 7 guided help, we created a way for web content to highlight and walk someone through the Firefox interface as if your friend was there beside you showing it off.

Coordination & Optimization

In 2017, in addition to updating our experience for another Firefox redesign, we focused on cross-functional coordination so that we could create a seamless, optimized download and install flow. We had a long-standing list of issues we addressed but it turned out much of our effort was spent getting other teams to understand our vision. It took some time but we eventually got them on board when we could show that far more people ended up with Firefox successfully installed with our new experience. 

Try the interactive prototype below.
(the installation part takes about a minute—simulating the real thing)

Now it’s just what we do

When I began investigating how people got Firefox, I found a default, shipping-the-org-chart experience that no one was paying attention to or responsible for. It was seemingly built for the early days when the tech person in your life installed Firefox for you. Now it’s an ongoing, cross-functional responsibility. One of the important parts of shipping a quality product.