Become a Test Pilot and Help Mozilla
Article by George Norman
On 22 Jan 2009
The Mozilla Foundation, which we all know and love for making such great products as the Firefox browser, is now asking you, the user, to put in your two cents in and help them in making Firefox, Thunderbird and even SeaMonkey better. Who can resist the call that Mozilla put out; I mean, just look at the mascot they chose to give Test Pilot (the picture to the left).

“How many tabs does an average user use at a time? How about novice users? How often is the stop button pressed? How many times do people open a new tab to perform a search? There are hundreds of questions like these whose answers would help quantitatively inform the design process of Firefox. At the moment, as evidence in discussions we generally only have access to studies, anecdotes, first principles, early-adopter feedback, and ad-hoc experiments,” says Mozilla Labs.

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If you want to help, then all you have to do is download the Firefox add-on that Mozilla will make available to the general public, and then answer some questions. For privacy reasons, all answers will be collected anonymously, which means you will not have to provide any confidential data, but does not give you a free pass to talk trash. The other great thing is that you will not be bombarded with tons of questions; you will only be asked to provide an answer when Mozilla really has something to ask you.

“We’ll only collect aggregate anonymized data, publish all results under open-content licenses, and review every test to make sure your privacy is held sacred. Once in a while you may be asked to participate in a short survey based on your demographic. If you’ve opted into allowing additional anonymous instrumentation, an experiment may request some of that information for aggregated study,” explains Mozilla Labs.

In order for Test Pilot to have a significant impact, it is necessary for about 1% of all Firefox users to join in.



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Test Pilot
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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