Wednesday, September 2, 2009 Optimization: Educating Firefox users about updates

Starting today, you will see a few small changes to the website.

We've just finished building a Firefox Update FAQ page to respond to some of the issues Ken Kovash, our fabulous Metrics guru, discovered through the installer feedback tool. (You can read more from his blog post here).

In this study, Ken determined that of people abandoning the Firefox installation process, about 10% cited reasons related to not fully understanding what a Firefox update is.

The feedback feel into three categories:

Lack of Understanding about what an up-grade is:

"Will this overwrite my existing version or will it simply upgrade? I don't want to lose my settings and bookmarks."

"I thought this is an update that would keep all my bookmarks etc and install the new software.. However I'm not sure. Can you clarify ???"

"I already have Firefox, why am I installing it again"

"does version 3.5 replace my current version of FF or does it run separate?"

Confusion about how to update:

"i just want to update my current firefox"

"not sure if i uninstall old firefox? Do I uninstall it first then install newer version?"

"It appears that I have asked to install a whole new version rather than an upgrade which is normally what happens when new versions of Firefox comeout"

"I have Firefox3, so shouldn't this reload at the same location? Or do I have to uninstall the older version."

Other issues:

- Bad experience with other auto-updates (ex: Windows security mechanisms sometimes gives extra things that aren't needed), so user is conditioned not to accept updates.

- Worried it will break something (maybe from past experience)

- New version is not compatible with their OS (they have a pre Win2k/NT5, Unix distrib w/ older lib)

- Favorite extension isn't compatible with update

- Didn't notice or get a prompt to update

- Update/download takes too long

- Don't control the machine they're using/aren't allowed to update (not admin, using public/shared computer)

- IT discourages doing your own updates

- New version doesn't seem different enough (not worth the trouble) or seems too different (will feel foreign/hard to use)

The two fold Solution:

The best way to deal with all of these issues is to add accessible content on our major touch-points to help educate our users about Firefox updates, how to get them, and why they are important.

1) Create new content about updating Firefox
2) Add content on SUMO support page about updating Firefox on all three platforms.

We'll do some more tests once the page has been live for a month to see if the existence of the Update FAQ and the touch points on and SUMO have made any impact on the 10% of our users confused by the process.

Big thanks to Ken Kovash, John Slater, Cheng Wang, Chris Illias, Raymond Etornam, Stephen Donner, and Stephen Des Roches of Silverorange for all their hard-work and for getting this page out three days ahead of schedule!



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