Webmaker in Q1: What did we do? What’s next?

This week, we’re stepping back to do some quarterly reflection. This post includes a slide presentation, analysis and interview with Mozilla’s Andrew Sliwinski on what we’ve achieved so far this year — and a look ahead to our goals and work in Q2. It includes challenges we’re facing, areas where we need your help, and some strategy questions we’d like to get your perspective on. Please add comments to this post — or join the discussion on #webmaker.

What is Webmaker’s mission?

Mozilla Webmaker is a set of free tools that help you build the web while learning new skills. Our goal is to spread digital creativity, skills and web literacy.

  • Why? Help people take their first step from user to active creator on the web.
  • What? A fun, easy, creative online platform to discover and create content that’s relevant to your life
  • Why care? Build a large number of web creators with relationships to Mozilla

What were our Q1 goals?

  1. Convert visitors into users. Convert more webmaker.org visitors into active users.
  2. Demo the Webmaker app. Build and demo our beta Webmaker mobile product at Mobile World Congress.
  3. Prototype “Firefox for Making. Experiment with ways we could integrate Webmaker directly into the Firefox browser.
  4. Research. Do field research to understand our users.

What did we accomplish?

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Goal #1: Convert visitors into users

Our goal: increase monthly average unique visitor (UV) to active user (AU) conversion from 2.2% to greater than 5%. The result: 8.14%

The goal was to test our value proposition and make sure we have an offer that resonates with large numbers of real people.

What we did:

  • Focused Webmaker on makers and learners directly. Instead of teachers, who we’ll serve through the new teach.mozilla.org (launching later this month).
  • Clarified our value proposition for this audience.
  • Presented a clear prompt to start the sign-up process immediately.
  • Reduced information density and decision density.
  • Tested it. Optimizing through a series of rigorous A/B testing.

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The result: a 400% increase. This graph shows the large change that occurred after redesigning the splash page and simplifying UX. We are now converting as many visitors every day as we did while being featured within the Firefox search page snippet (see mid-November, above).

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Goal #2: Demo the Webmaker app at Mobile World Congress

Result: done! We demoed Webmaker on Firefox OS and Android at Mobile World Congress. Check out the app here or read more about it in Mark Surman’s blog post.

What worked:

We were able to make beginner creation simple and accessible on mobile.

Where we have more work to do:

  • Improve localization quality — we were able to ship the demo with a large number of languages, but we need to increase the quality of those localizations.
  • Make it more fun — to help take some of the edge off of tech and the internet for people who are creating for the first time.
  • Improve “tinkering mode” — as a step between playing with a purely visual environment and directly hacking on code.

Goal #3: Produce five “Firefox for Making” concepts

The goal: prototype ways we could potentially integrate Webmaker and a webmaking experience right into the Firefox browser.

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Result: We created seven concepts and two prototypes. More details in this ticket.

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Goal #4: Do field research to understand our users

We need to understand the real needs of users who are new to technology and creating on the web. So we did field research studies in 4 Countries with 15 communities and 356 participants. Here are our research reports and findings:

Key findings:

  • Localization is key. There’s tremendous demand for local content, in local languages.
  • Brand voice and “fun” is critical. “Social media” is perceived as populist — “the internet” is often perceived as elite and English-only.
  • Sharing and encouragement from friends was repeatedly surfaced as a primary motivator for users.

Some of what we heard:

“I never made because there was nobody to encourage and push me.” — Small Business Owner, Kenya

  • “Internet is only for people who work in big offices.” — Small Business Owner, Kenya
  • “If you talk about technology people will be impressed and respect you.” — University Student, India
  • “I shared a recipe on the school’s website. I was so proud to receive lots of comments.” -– University Student, Kenya

“Sharing is great. When we share it means that we have something to talk about.” — High School Student, Bangladesh

What’s next in Q2?

Are we loved yet?

Our #1 goal for Q2 is: increase user retention. We want to increase our 7-day retention of Active Users (AU) from 3.09% to 10%. Why? Because that’s the best way to tell whether we’re making a product our users actually love — by measuring how many of them come back.

Q1 focused on conversion, and testing whether we have an offer users want. The early results were encouraging — so now we need to focus on retention. How many of those users stay active?

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What are we shipping in Q2?

Launching Webmaker for Android

  • Mobile — We will launch the Webmaker app for Android. And bring it to market through Google Play.
  • Desktop & Tablet — Bring our new vision for Webmaker to Desktop. Look for more on this in the coming weeks.
  • Research — This quarter will focus our field research on users in Chicago, London and a return trip to Bangladesh.
  • Firefox for Making — We’ll continue exploring opportunities here.

Key challenges

  • Localization — Our localization strategy and tooling / infrastructure need work. We need to look across Mozilla for best practices and community engagement.
  • Filling the Research Gap — There’s a gap between the research we have funding to explore in the developing world, versus the large addressable audience we have elsewhere. We need to do research everywhere, not just in emerging markets.
  • Marketing — To have impact in non-desktop markets, we’ll need to increase our audience beyond Firefox users. How do we reach a larger audience in the developing world and gain attention for our app in Google Play?
  • Recruiting — Finding high quality candidates and filling open positions.


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