MozFest is a magnet for brilliant, inventive, insightful people from the worlds of tech, activism, education, art, and more. That makes it the perfect place to launch a project — you’ve got the amazing Festival crowd to test it out and provide feedback, ideas, contributions — and maybe even create some buzz.
We’ve always designed MozFest so you — your communities, your work, your vision — are in the spotlight. For more about this, see our post on The Making of MozFest. But in 2018 we soft-launched one of Mozilla’s own projects, the *Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide, at the Festival.
We caught up with Jen Caltrider, Content Strategy Lead at the Foundation, to learn about her experience, and hear her tips and tricks for those using MozFest as a launch pad for a project… whether at our Friday night Science Fair, in a gallery session, discussion group, or a workshop.
Why did you decide to launch *Privacy Not Included at the Festival?
I wanted to have a deadline to have the project done that was early enough before our official launch so we wouldn’t feel crunched. Then the idea hit that MozFest’s timing and crowd could be a good place to soft launch and give us a little time to make tweaks based on what we learned. The audience was right, the timing was right, and it all worked out great.
What did people do as part of the activity?
We explained the guide, then asked them to look at and rate the creepiness of products on the Creep-O-Meter, and we asked for their feedback. They got to ask questions of the creators and give their thoughts, and opinions on it. The goal was to spark conversation. Mission accomplished.
What did you learn?
We walked away with a *Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide that had thousands of ratings and was pretty thoroughly user tested before our launch to the world. We learned people really liked the Creep-O-Meter, we were able to make some tweaks to parts of the site people found confusing, and we weeded out some bugs and got those fixed as well.
What advice would you give to other projects debuting at MozFest, via an interactive gallery session, learning forum, or workshop (shed) session?
It’s not about you. It’s about what’s fun for others. Our whole exercise was set up to spark discussion and questions at the table. Another way we made it about others is through a fun raffle, so those testing the project got a raffle ticket and chance to win some cool stuff. People played off each other and the fun grew. We had pretty lights on our display, and a nearly constant crowd. We also gave away emoji face stickers, which everyone loved.
I think the most important thing is to think about the audience and what they can get out of what you’re doing. In our case, they got the chance to win some cool prizes. They also learned about the guide and got to ask questions of the creators and give their feedback/thoughts/opinions on it (which was better than a raffle ticket for some MozFest attendees). Not everyone can afford cool prizes, that’s OK…what other cool stuff can you offer them? Your time? Your expertise? Some other experience of value? Make sure whatever you do is fun for your audience!