Making Better for International Users: the Sequel

For background on this proposal, see the original blog post.

After reviewing the suggestions posted to on improving international user access to, the marketing and sysadmin team at Mozilla met today to assess these options, and make a recommendation on how to achieve the objective of this project.

The objective of these changes, in the short-term, is to address a use case where a non-English speaking visitor comes to We want to enable these types of visitors to more easily get to a localized Mozilla web site than is currently possible from the following three places:

1. The homepage at

2. The Firefox main product page at

3. The Thunderbird main product page at

The solution we are proposing is to add a dropdown menu to the footer area of these 3 web pages, that allows a visitor to select their language, from a list that matches the currently available set of localized Mozilla Web sites.

When the visitor has selected a language, he or she will be sent to the localized Mozilla web site that supports this language choice.

If the visitor has made the language selection on the homepage for, they will be sent to the homepage for the localized Mozilla web site in their language. Language selections made on the Firefox main page at will send the visitor to the localized Firefox main page of their choice. The same logic would follow for the Thunderbird main page.

Here is a screenshot of how the change might look:

-Easiest solution to implement given resources available.

-Preserves user choice over which language version of Mozilla web site they are viewing (vs. redirecting automatically based on accept-language headers).

-Pull down menu rather than full listing of language codes (as done on Mozilla Europe sites) preserves visual presentation and branding of pages.

-Achieves objective of providing easier access to localized Mozilla web sites and product downloads.


-A short term solution.

-Requires user to figure out behavior of the pull-down menu, and it will be difficult to communicate what the menu is for in a way that is understandable by non-English speakers.

-Only applies to 3 main content pages on Users may be entering through some other entry page.

The ideal solution would be to create a language specific set of pages for each locale we currently support. So for example, for the homepage of, we would have index-en.html, index-de.html, and so on. We would then let Apache decide which language version of the homepage is served to the visitor based on the visitor’s accept-language headers. When we reviewed this option, we quickly realized that given our current international web site structure, this would mean adding more work for the l10n volunteers, who would then have to help translate both the main pages for the international Mozilla Web sites, *and* this additional set of localized home and product pages for

We also considered automatically redirecting users who were trying to visit or based on accept-language headers to a localized Mozilla Web site. However we ultimately decided not to go this route either. The main concern is that we did not want to presume we knew the user’s intent in trying to access Implementing an automatic redirect might end up frustrating some international users who had actually wanted to visit the US English Web site.

We welcome your feedback on this proposed solution. We’ll take comments until next Friday, January 13, either here or at the Wiki.

instant nostalgia

killing joke eightiesI’ve got Dexy’s Midnight Runners pumping over the stereo right now.

Yes, I know.

Lame. Kitsch. Overalls.

I remember a conversation I had with a childhood friend in the ’80’s, when I was in my teens. We were driving back from the movies in Pasadena. The song I’m listening to, “Come On Eileen,” was playing on the car radio. I recall saying, “One day, we’ll be the adults, and this song will be on a classic rock station.”

That day has come for me.

Bob and Owen, wherever you are, I hope you’re well. The music I loved growing up in the ’80’s still holds up for me. Today, I created an ’80’s playlist: Jesus and Mary Chain, REM, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, English Beat, The Clash, Tears for Fears, the Smiths, X, and so on.

I grew up in L.A., and back in the day, KROQ was the source for new music. Rodney on the Roq, even Richard Blade, were connected to the new music bubbling up in a way that seems lost in today’s morass of radio consolidation.

At the same time, the democratizing force of the Web is bringing life to new voices across the spectrum. Music blogs today function for me the way Rodney did in my teens. An unfiltered guide to new music to check out. See my music bookmarks for the music blogs I follow.

Happy New Year to everyone out in the world. The past two months for me at Mozilla have been every bit the joy and challenge I’d hoped for when I signed up.

2006 will be a great year for us. Said as a wish, and a promise.

moving pictures

Image source:

There is that rush I can recall, settling into the cinema seat, exhaling as the lights dim, and the shutter behind me starts syncopating at 24 frames a second, and then suddenly I am living someone else’s life as the movie envelopes me.

I love film.

I know I’m not alone.

I hope we’ll see entries to the Firefox Flicks Ad Contest we launched today that are magic.

If you’re reading this, you probably already care about Firefox. Help us get the word out about this next leg in the race to tell the rest of the world what you already know.

Tell your film, advertising, and animation friends about the contest. This is an incredible opportunity for someone to make their mark. Amazingly accomplished judges, great prizes, and the chance to be included in the worldwide marketing campaign for Firefox.

We’ll be waiting in the front row at the premiere.

no more bookmarks

So I’ve been trained since day one of using a Web browser to bookmark stuff I find that I like.

Lately I’ve been realizing how low the utility is of having a single set of bookmarks tied to a local machine. Some of the people I work with don’t even bother with bookmarking anymore. They rely instead on a combination of auto-complete of previously browsed URLs and Google to get back to stuff that was interesting.

There’s a big discussion going on right now at the Mozilla project on how to make bookmarks better in Firefox 2.

Today I finally got around, post Firefox 1.5 launch, to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for at least the past month or so: migrating my local bookmarks to It took about an hour, but man, do I feel better. Like I lost about 10 pounds.

As I looked back at the stuff I’ve bookmarked over the past two months, it was chunked into the following content areas that were top of mind for me at the end of 2005:

  • Firefox-specific
  • Web industry
  • General business/management
  • Marketing and branding
  • Design
  • Writing
  • Music

I’m sure there’s a way to add more structure to my new bookmarks so the stuff I tag can get browsed more easily.

Given the fact that it took me a year to figure out what the hell was good for, the release of a extension for Firefox 1.5 to actually create an account, and a rainy Saturday to make the migration happen, it may be 2012 before I figure this out.

Whatevs. Now I can get at my links from anywhere, which makes me very happy.

Making Better for International Users

A few weeks ago we announced several planned changes to Mozilla Web sites. And on 29 Nov 2005, we launched the new At the time we launched the new site, we were planning to continue to update and improve for our visitors.

One of the first things we’d like to do is make it easier for non-English speaking visitors to to quickly get localized information about Mozilla software, and download their preferred language versions.

The team responsible for managing these Web site updates here at Mozilla wants to work closely with the international Mozilla community, including Mozilla’s international affiliates, to make these improvements.

We’ve set up a Wiki to plan, implement and manage this localization project at:

We invite the international community to help us flesh out end user requirements for changes to to help international visitors better navigate the site. You’ll find a stub of a project plan and initial schedule at the link above.

We see as a work in progress, and as we continue to update and improve it, you can find a list of the ongoing work and projects at the wiki page:

Feed Me, Seymour

Rocketboom is now available on Tivo.

I first heard of Rocketboom when their New Yorker-on-the-street segment on “Firefox or IE?” made the rounds here at Mozilla.

We got a huge kick out of the video, for obvious reasons.

So it was cool to find out they’re getting access to Tivo users. I’m S.O.L. as I cancelled cable service a couple of years ago, and using Tivo on my crappy over the air reception would be an even more masochistic act than weeding out comment spam on this blog.

But it got me to thinking.

When you push video as Rocketboom has till now exclusively over the Web, you’re reaching viewers in a less than relaxed state. I mean this both physically and mentally. When I’m on the Web, 99.9% of the time I’m sitting in a chair, either at home or at work. On top of the obvious comfort constraint on settling in to watch something online, my Web video attention span is also shortened because I’m either in the midst of work, or I recall some other meatspace thing I need to do, and so cut off the video I was watching to get on with the task.

The use case for watching video on my TV is almost exactly the opposite. I settle into the couch, and commit to watching a movie or sports broadcast for significantly longer than I would on my computer. I’m definitely multi-tasking some of the time, but when I’m engaged by the video I’m watching, it takes precedence over reading the paper, making a phone call, etc.

None of this analysis is new. I bring it up because the form factor for Rocketboom’s content has been 3-5 minute clips, designed for the attention dynamics of Web viewers. I’m curious to see if they adapt their content for an audience that has the luxury of engaging more deeply with their videos, because they’re cold chilling on fine barcaloungers.

Ah yes. Popcorn on the settee, alpha waves releasing the endorphin buzz only fine TV can deliver. Daydream nation dead ahead.

Rock Stars

Firefox 1.5 and just went live.

I expect we’ll find many things that need fixing as we fully migrate the product content for Firefox and Thunderbird from, but I need to give a shout out to the team that just worked their tails off making this launch happen.

So thank you: Steven & Daniel, beltz, cbeard, deb, tristan, pascal, olivier, axel, rebron, john, mitchell, polvi, mscott, schrep, asa, cheryl, ian, karen, mary, todd, judi, alex, elizabeth, morgamic, blake, and the rest of the team here at Mozilla.

You rocked this launch.

Firefox in the News

Wanted to share a host of recent articles on Firefox for your (US) holiday reading pleasure. So after the prandial celebration, but before the brandy nightcap, put the Cowboys or Lions on mute, and check out some of the good news below.

Firefox 1.5 Review
PC Magazine, Nov. 22, 2005

Firefox plans mass marketing drive
ZDNet, Nov. 22, 2005

Mozilla Releases Latest Firefox 1.5 Preview
TechWeb, Nov. 21, 2005

Firefox 1.5 Nears Shipment
PC World, Nov. 21, 2005

Paris accelerates move to open source
TechWorld, Nov. 21, 2005

Film-makers asked to spread Firefox word
Times Online, Nov. 21, 2005

Firefox accelerating development cycle
ZDNet Blogs, Nov. 20, 2005

UK financial organisations offer Firefox support
ZDNet, Nov. 16, 2005

One-year-old Firefox looks back to the beginning
NetworkWorld, Nov. 16, 2005

Free Thinkers
CRN, Nov. 11, 2005