Feature discoverability

John Hopkins jhopkins at mozilla.com
Wed Oct 5 15:17:05 UTC 2011

On 11-10-05 01:50 AM, Jonathan Protzenko wrote:
> Hi,
> I've noticed some interesting patterns in the vast amount of feedback 
> I'm getting through Conversation's feedback mechanism, and I thought 
> I'd share some points.
> First of all, many users are completely unaware of the threaded mode, 
> and think that Conversations provides the threaded mode. This is a 
> very recurring phenomenon, which worries me. We have a threaded mode, 
> it's great already without conversations, and people do not discover 
> it. Is there any way we could make this feature more discoverable? 
> Some ideas:
> - in the start page, add a "did you know" section with screenshots on 
> how to enable various features (threaded mode, grouped by date) (that 
> sounds very 1990-y, and reminds me of the light bulb pop-out dialog on 
> MS products),

I think random "tip of the day" or "did you know" tips work well, 
particularly for software with a lot of options (Thunderbird!).  It's a 
great way for users to become familiar with a product bit by bit.

Instead of random tips, we could prefer showing tips pertaining to the 
user's most-used workflows (eg. address book, or composing in html 
tips).  In that case, the start page probably wouldn't be a suitable 
place (since it wouldn't know the user's workflow).

We could also prioritize showing tips on new features ahead of older 
features.  "Did you know... you can provide feedback to Thunderbird 
developers? Click Tools | Feedback"

I'd prefer a native dialog for showing the tips as the added flexibility 
would be useful: workflow related tips, Help system integration, works 
offline, etc.

Lots of potential here!


> - create a dialog that pops out the first time a user installs 
> thunderbird, asking "how would you like to read your email?", showing 
> various screenshots, and providing options for group by sort, view 
> threaded, etc.,
> - add a notification bar that shows up after the user has started 
> thunderbird for the N-th time, and provides them with a way to see the 
> aforementioned dialog.
> What do you all think about this?
> Next, users seem to be unclear on what an addon is exactly. They just 
> installed the thing somehow, and some of them don't even know how to 
> remove it. Not sure there's much we can do about that...
> There's some other points, but more minor. I'll report on them if 
> anything relevant stands out.
> Thanks for your attention :-)
> jonathan
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