Help users on old versions of Firefox get the upgrade message

8 06 2012

Tragically, there are millions of Firefox users out there using older versions of Firefox. Their reasons are varied and personal. We get it, change is hard. But know this: Upgrading to the latest Firefox is free and easy, plus it gets you a faster, safer and more stable browser. It’s a scenario full of win.

If you’re a Mozillian reading this post, then you already get it. You know that new releases of Firefox bring a bounty of innovations, gifts and delight. You also know that part of our job as Mozillians is to help users find their way to the most recent version of Firefox that’s out there. If you’re a Firefox Affiliate (and really, why wouldn’t you be?) we’ve launched a new kind of button to help you help the masses get up to date.

These upgrade buttons display a different message depending on whether or not you’re using the most recent version of Firefox. If someone visits your website or blog using an older version of Firefox, they’ll get an upgrade message and be directed to the upgrade Firefox download page. The most recent version Firefox or a different browser (gasp!) and a Firefox brand message appears. Visitors who click on this message are directed to the main Firefox download page.

This button is available in 250×300 and 160×600 pixel sizes and is currently only available for the EN-US locale. We’re hoping to roll it out to the other 17 Affiliates locales in the new few weeks.

Special thanks to Antony Ricaud and Ty Flanagan for coding and design magic for these buttons.


MoFo No Mo’ Yo

9 06 2011

After 2 very awesome years of building fundraising programs and infrastructure at Mozilla Foundation, I am leaving my position of Fun Raiser and Rodeo Queen. My last day as a MoFo is tomorrow.

Conveniently, I am starting a new position at Mozilla Corporation on Monday as User Engagement Manager on the (wait for it) User Engagement team.

My e-mail address will be changing on Monday (I’ll update when I know what to) and I’ll be posting more on my new responsibilities as I get a handle on them.

Update: E-mail wise you can reach me a chelsea [at] mozilla [dot] com, cnovak [at] mozilla [dot] com and at the foundation alias for awhile to come.

Payment Processing Is Hard

17 04 2011

As we’ve been building the Join Mozilla program and updating our fundraising infrastructure over the last year we’ve encountered a lot of challenges. Mozilla is unique among fundraising organizations in a number of ways: we care a ton about privacy; we want everyone, everywhere to be able to participate, which means localization is important; and we want to make sure users have a good experience when they interact with us, be it through our browser or when they are kind enough to support us with a donation. These are our values and the things that help Mozilla stand apart from our peers.

As a charity, we accept money from individual donors all over the world. This means dealing with payment processors and credit card companies. At its most basic level it means doing in a way that works with those values above. More specifically, it means adhering to a payment standard called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI as it’s known to its friends). It’s full of regulations that make sure that user credit card/payment data is handled securely. For example, if an organization wants to store or transmit credit card data over an API, it has to be PCI compliant. Why would we want to do that? PCI compliance involves a significant investment of money and staff. One-click payment processing is a start. Our previous donation experience involved a multi-click Homerian journey through PayPal. Nothing close to what’s considered a good user experience. This is why a lot of orgs look to third-party payment processing providers.

Another tool we need for looking after our donors is a CRM. Donors need to be thanked, get tax receipts and make it possible for us to maintain a relationship with them. We’re looking to have hundreds of thousands supporters of Mozilla, adding more each year. CRM software makes it possible for us to manage those relationships in a secure way.

As a bit of background, we tried to implement an open-source CRM and payment processing system in 2010. We consulted with its authors, got help from peers that use it and despite our best efforts, it failed. Amplifying the fail factor, this also took a really long time and caused a huge amount of delay. It was very frustrating for everyone involved who was trying hard to make this system work. We needed it to work as we weren’t even doing what gets taught in Fundraising 101. So we threw that system away and started over.

This time we decided to start working with a service provider. While there are a lot of fundraising platforms out there, we have a pretty specific set of needs: PCI compliance, multi-lingual support for localization and a willingness to meet our significant legal, data, privacy and security requirements.

When you look at that list of requirements, the list of options gets pretty short and in fact brought us to one specific company; Blue State Digital. They’ve met our requirements and they’re experienced with dealing with values-driven orgs. We’ve been working with them since September and it’s been a big improvement for us. We started accepting donations via the BSD system on November 12 and the increase in our conversion rates has been notable. For example, comparing December 2009 and 2010 there’s a 312% increase in donations (full disclosure, BSD wasn’t the only variable, as we also had a fundraising campaign in market, so that helped too). Having a system where we can track donations in real time, steward donors and run reports is like living in a new world in terms of donor management and reporting for restricted donations.

It’s not all sunshine and puppies mind you. Localization is hard with this system, requiring a lot of manual work instead of the process we use for the rest of Mozilla. It’s frustrating for localizers in particular, but we are working on it and are hoping to add more locales to the system with a steady cadence. If you’re interested in the particulars of the challenges join our forum or check out the wiki page.

We are also looking for other front-end options for the future of the program as there are many more features we want to add, like a store. But any provider we’re looking for will have to meet the criteria set out above.

As always, we’re looking for ways to do this better. If you know of any storefront solutions that might meet our needs, drop me a line or leave a comment. If you find any bugs with our donation pages or have an idea of how we can make this better, you can file them under the product – websites, component –

Join Mozilla: Thank you tags

15 04 2011

It’s amazing how easily one can fall behind on writing things down. Mea cupla and with that I’ve added most of the creative copy and design work for Join Mozilla to the project wiki.

For those who are interested I’ve included some up-and-coming items like Spanish and Portuguese versions of the Join Mozilla T-shirt (available really soon!) and the hangtag (or as I like to call it, thank you tag). We’ll soon be including this tag with the Join Mozilla T-shirt packs that are shipped out to supporters who add $25 on to their donation. Note: the pink lines mark where the card will be cut out and attached to the shirt like a clothing tag.

We created tags like these for the Open Web Fund dino shirts that we’ve been sending out for about a year now and they were well received.  

This time we thought it would be fun to add a Mad Lib-like option to the card to encourage creative sharing with friends and family.

The tags will be localized into DE, ES and PT and will ship out with Join Mozilla supporter packs early next month when we are out of beta. I’m going to see if there’s a way to send them out to our very wonderful early adopters as well, as their T-shirt packs are already on their way.

If you have an idea for fun ways we can thank Mozilla supporters or just want to lend a hand, please check out our our forum or leave a note below.

Join Mozilla at CeBIT

9 03 2011

Last week I made my way to Germany to take part in CeBIT, what has to be the world’s largest tech trade show. I was there to talk about the Join Mozilla program and to give a sneak preview before we launch it. I had a chance to talk with Firefox users face-to-face about what Mozilla means to them.

Here’s a slidecast of the talk that I gave. I planned to show this video before the talk began, but sadly technical issues on site prevented me from showing it with sound. So watch that first to get you in the mood.

Also, here’s the link to that PBS State of the Union broadcast using popcorn.js I referenced in the slidecast.

While we weren’t able to launch the program in time for CeBIT, I did get a chance to talk to some German users about Join Mozilla and the feedback, while small in scale, was positive. I started the conversation by talking about the fact that Mozilla is a non-profit organization and about the many great projects we develop and support outside of Firefox. There was a lot of good reaction to Drumbeat and the various Drumbeat projects in the works. A particular highlight was doing a quick demo of the Universal Subtitles tool for a deaf father and son who were visiting the booth. Seeing their reaction to how easy it was to use and the potential for what it could do was a highlight of the week.

Some people wanted to sign up for Join Mozilla on the spot. Especially after seeing what the t-shirts looked like. Overall it was encouraging to see that people understood what Join Mozilla was about and that they were excited about getting involved.

Join Mozilla – First looks at creative

31 01 2011

If you’ve been following Mark Surman’s blog, you’ll have learned that we will be launching a user engagement initiative called Join Mozilla early this year. Join Mozilla is a program that takes the best of what we’ve done in terms of user engagement and fundraising in the past and takes the next step: making it easy for the millions of people who love Firefox and Mozilla to be connected to what we’re doing and help us create the new projects and ideas that will keep the web open for decades to come.

There are a lot of variables involved in assembling a program like this. One of the most important of which is the pathway in for potential participants in Join Mozilla. As the program is in it’s infancy, we know that we will be iterating a lot in the coming weeks, months and years. We need to learn about what matters to people who are a part of Join Mozilla, how they like to communicate and what makes them feel like they are a part of this amazing project.

One of the first things people interested in Join Mozilla will experience is the program landing page. We’ve worked with Mozilla design Übermensch Sean Martell and with creative agency Engine Company 1 to create the page that will start the whole Join Mozilla experience. Click on the image below to see what it will look like.

The guiding principles for the page were this: the sign-up/contribution form had to be on the same page; the sign-up text had to be short and engaging; there had to be as few outbound links as possible and; the design had to be “knock-your-socks-off” cool, while accommodating the limitations of sign-up form provided by our payment processor.

The page that is currently being built has a few tweaks that aren’t represented in the mockup shown here. The “edit this link” button will be removed from the footer, as the sign-up page is a secure-hosted form, so it can’t be edited like other pages on Also, the opt-in check boxes have been changed to the following:

-I want to receive the Join Mozilla newsletter
-I agree to the Mozilla privacy policy [with a link to said privacy policy]

We also plan on testing several iterations of the subheadline to see which one resonates best with users.

I’ll be sharing ideas and designs for other elements of the program over the next few weeks.

Help Thunderbird save Hawiian sea birds

18 06 2010

We’re continuing the Mozilla Parks project of fundraising for parks and beaches that are used as product codenames for Mozilla products. As part of celebrating a product release, we’re giving back to conservation groups to help them improve their presence within the web ecosystem, while we help them protect the natural ecosystem.

For email client Thunderbird 3.1, the developer team chose Lanikai beach. Often described as paradise, it is a place to rest, play, reflect and share. Yet even in this idyllic environment, rare local species of sea birds called the Bulwer’s Petrel are at risk of extinction.

These birds have disappeared from the Lanikai area having been hunted by introduced predators. Kupu is a Hawaiian conservation group that helps preserve the Bulwer’s Petrel while creating a hands-on conservation learning experience for Hawaiian teens. Through their Hawaiian Youth Conservation Corps, they educate Hawaii’s youth and give them the opportunity to work alongside state biologists, helping to keep the population of this uncommon bird stable.

We’re hoping to raise $5,000 for Kupu in the coming months. So while you’re exploring some of the great features of Mozilla Thunderbird, take a moment and help Hawaiian youth preserve their local environment.

PS: We’ve already had some comments and questions sent in asking why we’re supporting a beach in Hawaii instead of helping with the current crisis in the Gulf Coast. The codename for Thunderbird 3.1 was chosen in December, many months before the Gulf crisis began. We are looking at ways we can support the Gulf cleanup with the Parks program in the future, as the need for help in that area will be dire for some time. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how or know of any conservation/cleanup groups that could be a good fit with Mozilla, please send me a note or post in the comments below.