Internet Health Check

20 08 2009

InternetHealthCheckAs mentioned in yesterday’s Mozilla Service Week post, we’re putting together a series of action templates to make making the web better quick, simple and easy. The first template we’re launching is the Internet Health Checkup. This is an action that can be done as part of pledged hours during Mozilla Service Week and as part of OneWebDay celebrations (we’ll be blogging more about Mozilla and OneWebDay later this week).

As Mark Surman discussed on his blog, privacy and security are issues that face everyone on the Web, whether they know it or not.  A primary example of this is the huge number of people using the Internet that do not understand that browsing the Web with an old browser or out-of-date plugins is dangerous both to the person using that compter and to other people using the web.

With this in mind, the primary goal of the Internet Health Checkup is to get technically savvy people, like Mozilla community members and Service Week volunteers, to update Service Week beneficiaries from Internet Explorer 6 to a modern browser. If that’s all we do, then it’s a big win for the health of the Internet. But we’re Mozilla and we have this thing for doing more, so we’re suggesting four simple things to make the web better:

  1. Get hip to the 21st century: Update to a modern browser and stop using IE6
  2. Safe can be fun: Update plugins like Flash, Java and Quicktime
  3. Set it on autopilot: Set up browsers and plugins for auto-updates where possible
  4. Teach them to fish: Do some education around the importance of browser and plugin updates

That last task is a pretty big deal. You have an opportunity to demystify aspects of the Internet that can be downright scary to the average user. Even taking 15 additional minutes to help people lean more or learn enough to be able use the Internet with confidence will make a big difference in how they experience the web.

We have provided resources for volunteers to update browsers an plugins on Windows, Mac and Linux systems. We have extensive instructions on how to install or update Firefox from the Mozilla Support site. For other modern browsers we have linked to the best update/install instructions available. We’ll also have a printable checklist for you to use while performing the Health Checkup up shortly.

And caveat. If you’re performing an Internet Health Check at a larger organization, make sure to check with the IT department. They may have some problems with updating to a modern browser at the enterprise lever. If that’s the case, please report back to us when you report back on your pledged service week hours that you tried to perform a check and what the obstacles were that prevented you from completing it.

We will be launching additional templates in the coming weeks, but if you have feedback on the Internet Health Checkup or a Service Week template of your own to add to the collection please leave a comment below or e-mail me at




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