With Shield, You Can Help Us Shape the Future of Firefox

Some product decisions are easy. We know that fixing a major crasher is the right thing to do. Not all decisions are that black and white though. When we make changes in the product we always do so with the best intentions. However, even the smallest change runs the risk of degrading the experience for some users. The only way to really know if we’ve got it right is to talk to our users directly. Unfortunately, our current infrastructure and processes are not adequate for this task. That is why we built Shield — A new platform enabling easy two-way communication with our users.

Unfortunately, the majority of our users don’t know about our existing communication channels like Input or SUMO. Even fewer know how to file a bug. These tools alone are not representative of our entire user population. That means the needs and desires of a large portion of our users are under-represented. This problem was the catalyst that inspired Shield. Shield is a robust platform for recruiting users, across our entire userbase, to share their journey with us and give us feedback along the way.

Rather than hoping our users discover the communication channels we’ve set up for them, Shield allows us to take the conversation to the user by actively soliciting participation. With Shield, we are empowering everyone, across the globe, to help shape the future of Firefox. As a research platform, Shield will power many of the tools we’ll use to make smarter decisions. We’re already exploring opportunities for research into user satisfaction, feature specific attitudinal measures, and contextual feature recommendation. You will even be able to try new Firefox features and tell us if we should ship them.

Participating is easy. All you have to do is use Firefox like you would normally. Periodically you may see a request to tell us more about your experience. It’s that simple. We may ask you to rate Firefox or to give us your thoughts on a specific feature or service. By giving us a few seconds of your time, you’re helping to make Firefox better for everyone.

In keeping with our tradition of openness, we want our entire product development process to be transparent. That includes how we make decisions as well. We’ll be sharing the results from this research so you can see the entire process and understand the motivations behind changes in the product.

You’ll hear me talking about Shield a lot more in the months to come. You should also see some really positive changes in our products and services as a result. When you participate in a Shield Study, you’re helping millions of Firefox users worldwide. That feels pretty awesome, right? We think so too.