[Marketing-Public]Mozilla is not (quite) for end users

David Hallowell marketing-public at mozilla.org
Sat, 03 Jan 2004 01:37:08 +0000

The more I've seen inexperienced users try to install Mozilla I see a 
number of problems arising:
- People not sure exactly what they're supposed to be downloading
- Not sure why flash isn't working out of the box
- Same with java I guess, but I've only had people complain about Flash
- (For the suite) they've done a full install and they're not sure why 
their usual email client isn't showing up when they click an address
- (For firebird) 'My desktop has filled with flames' which turned out to 
be Firebird stealing the image associations (known bug)
- Someone heard of Mozilla Firebird and ended up downloading Seamonkey 
thinking it was Firebird - I noticed this when someone came online with 
ChatZilla and said he was using Firebirds IRC client. When I pointed out 
he didn't get the one he thought he had then I had to explain the 
difference - it's not very clear on the site.

So here's my thoughts (mixed with other people's that I agree with):
- I believe that the demise of Netscape was accelerated by Netscape 6.0, 
that was a product that was released before it was ready for public 
consumption. Although obviously Mozilla and Firebird are fine browsers, 
the fact that it's not bundled with common plugins is a major setback - 
people upgrading from Netscape should be fine as these browsers detect 
common plugins, but if they're upgrading from IE then they've got no 
NPAPI plugins to auto-detect.
- So because of this I don't think Mozilla should directly target end 
users with their browser until they can offer java and flash (at least) 
as options in their net installer.
- Mozilla.org should only be pushing one browser to the end user, which 
at the moment would have to be seamonkey considering the preview release 
status of the *birds, however there needs to be a way of easily 
accessing all the old information that used to be on the old mozilla.org 
website such as dev.mozilla.org, all people interested in the cutting 
edge would have somewhere where we can find the info that we want.

I think the current website has tried badly to please the end users 
while still providing for the more technical people. It just means that 
some people get confused with what to download (many end users who don't 
know much about mozilla), while the advanced users are missing a lot of 
info that was once easy to find. Also, things like linking to the 
bugzilla project on the home page will just confuse many users, who 
might think it's a link to the bug tracking database not to the bugzilla 
project itself.
- Some lessons need to be taken from djst's sites (*bird help), they 
make things a lot clearer to find what you're after. I think for the 
moment these are the best places to point people wanting to give the 
*birds a try. Although once they reach 1.0 such a help site shouldn't be 
needed for most people (the installer in 0.8 will make it easy enough 
for many)
- For the new user, then a simple page that uses the UA to detect the OS 
and then take them to the appropriate download would be a good idea.
- Does mozilla.org use the auto update notification feature in Seamonkey 
that was put there for Netscape's benefit (as mozilla was not for end 
users back then)? This would help people know when to update.
- It'd be good to have detailed help pages written for Seamonkey similar 
to those on FB Help that would be placed on the mozilla.org site as 
official support. Placing the paid support options on the site so 
prominently give a bad impression (people thinking they might have to 
splash out to solve a problem - so why not stick with a browser that 
works). The free support options should be the most prominent.

As I've being using Mozilla even pre-seamonkey (MozillaClassic) I'm not 
likely to fall into the traps an average end user would, so basically I 
could recommend Mozilla (or Firebird depending on their needs) to 
someone competent enough, or someone I could visit to complete the 
installation, but pointing an average end user to mozilla.org just looks 
like a recipe for disaster.

So some questions: do we need any help writing seamonkey end user docs?
Any news on gaining access to the Netscape DevEdge content (I'm sure 
someone said they were in negotiations for it)?
Has anyone asked djst if he's move and maintain the firebird help docs 
on mozilla.org once the *birds reach 1.0 status - I think having docs on 
the official site will mean a lot to end users.

Well, I'm tired, so any typos please ignore and anything you don't 
understand please ask for clarification.

David Hallowell
LogicaCMG UK Ltd