27 Oct 2016
One of my Q3 goals was to migrate the Legacy Test Pilot users into our new
Test Pilot program (some background on the two programs). The previous
program was similar in that people could give feedback on experiments, but
different enough that we didn't feel comfortable simply moving the users to the
new program without some kind of notification and opting-in.
We decided the best way to do that was simply push out a new version of the
legacy add-on which opened a new tab to the Test Pilot website and then
uninstalled itself. This lets people interested in testing experiments know
about the new program without being overbearing. Worst case scenario, they
close the tab and have one less add-on loading every time Firefox is started.
In our planning meeting it was suggested that getting three percent of users
from the old program to the new would be a reasonable compromise between
realistic and optimistic. I guffawed, suggested that the audience had already
opted-in once, and put 6% in as our goal and figured it would be way higher.
Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
I'll spare you the pain of writing the add-on (most of the trouble was that the
legacy add-on was so old you had to restart Firefox to uninstall it which really
broke up the flow). On August 24th, we pushed the update to the old program.
In the daily usage graph, you can see we successfully uninstalled ourselves from
several hundred thousand profiles, but we still have a long tail that doesn't
seem to be uninstalling. Fortunately, AMO has really great statistics
dashboards (these stats are public, by the way) and we can dig a little
deeper. So, as of today there are around 150k profiles with the old add-on
still installed. About half of those are reporting running the latest version
(the one that uninstalls itself) and about half are disabled by the user. I
suspect those halves overlap and account for 75k of the installed profiles.
The second 75k profiles are on older add-on versions and are not upgrading to a
new version. There could be many reasons when we're dealing with profiles this
old: they could be broken, they might not have write permissions to their
profile, their network traffic could be being blocked, an internet security
suite could be misbehaving, etc. I don't think there is much more we can do
for these folks right now, unfortunately.
Let's talk about the overall goal though - how many people joined the new
program as a result of the new tab?
As of the end of Q3, we had just over 26k conversions making for a 3.6%
conversion rate. Quite close to what was suggested in the original meeting by
the people who do this stuff for a living, and quite short of my brash guess.
Overall we got a 0.6 score on the quarterly OKR.
Since I'm writing this post a few weeks after the end of Q3, I can see that
we're continuing to get about 80 new users per day from the add-on prompt.
Overall that makes for about 28.5k total conversions as of Oct 27th.
14 Oct 2016
The Test Pilot 2016 Q4 OKRs are published. Primarily we'll be focused on
continued growth of users (our overall 2016 goal). We deprioritized
localization last quarter and over-rotated on publishing experiments by
launching four when we were only aiming for one. This quarter we'll turn that
knob back down (we're aiming for two new experiments) and get localization done.
We also failed to graduate any experiments last quarter -- arguably the most
important part of our entire process since it includes drawing conclusions and
publishing our results. This quarter we'll graduate three experiments from Test
Pilot, publish our findings so we can improve Firefox, and clear out space in
Test Pilot for the next big ideas.
11 Oct 2016
We originally built Test Pilot on top of Django and some JS libraries to fulfill
our product requirements as well as keep us flexible enough to evolve quickly
since we were a brand new site.
As the site has grown, we've dropped a few requirements, and realized that we
were using APIs from our engagement team to collect newsletter sign ups,
APIs from our measurement team for our metrics, and everything else on the
site was essentially HTML and JS. We used the Django scaffolding for updating
the experiments, but there was no reason we needed to.
I'm happy to highlight that as of today testpilot.firefox.com is served
100% statically. Moving to flat files means:
Easier to deploy. All we do is copy files to an S3 bucket. No more SQL
migrations or strange half-pushed states.
More secure. With just flat files we have way less surface area to attack.
Easier to participate in. You'll no longer need to set up Docker or a
database. Just check out the files, run
npm install and you're done.
(disclaimer: we just pushed this today, so we actually still need to update
Excellent change control. Instead of using an admin panel on the site, we now
use GitHub to manage our static content. This means all changes are
tracked for free, we already have a process in place for reviewing pull
requests, and it's easy to roll back or manipulate the data because it's all
in the repository already.
If you want to get involved with Test Pilot, come join us in #testpilot (or
10 Oct 2016
For the third quarter of 2016 the Test Pilot team decided to try using the OKR method (an OKR overview) for
our goal setting.
We all sat down in London and hashed out what direction we wanted to move in for
Q3, what we thought we could do in that timeframe, prioritized the results
and then I published the results on the wiki. If you're interested in what
Test Pilot did in Q3 you should read that link because it has a bunch of
comments in it.
I knew we deprioritized some of our goals mid-quarter, but I was surprised to
see us come up with a pretty modest .61. My takeaways from my first time
using the OKR method is:
Wording is really important. Even if you all agree on some words while
sitting around a table, look them over again the next day because they might
not make as much sense as you think.
Getting the goals for your quarter planned before the quarter starts is tops.
Having a public list of goals you can point people to is great for your team,
other teams you work with, and anyone in the community interested in your
Estimates for how long things will take you is still a Really Hard Problem.
The feedback I've received about the OKR process we followed has been
really positive and I expect to continue it in the future.
28 Sep 2016
The Test Pilot team has been heads-down for months working on three new
experiments for Firefox and you can get them all today!
Min Vid is an add-on that allows you to shrink a video into a small
always-on-top frame in the corner of your browser. This lets you watch and
interact with a video while browsing the web in other tabs. Opera and Safari
are implementing similar features so this one might have some sticking power.
Thanks to Dave, Jen, and Jared for taking this from some prototype code to in
front of Firefox users in six months.
Luke has been working hard on Tracking Protection - an experiment
focused on collecting feedback from users about which sites break when Firefox
blocks the trackers from loading. As we collect data from everyday users we can
make decisions about how best to block what people don't want and still show
them what they do. Eventually this could lead to us protecting all Firefox
users with Tracking Protection by default.
Page Shot is a snappy experiment that enables users to quickly take
screenshots in their browser and share them on the internet. There are a few
companies in this space already, but their products always felt too heavy to me,
or they ignored privacy, or some simply didn't even work (this was on Linux).
Page Shot is light and quick and works great everywhere.
As a bonus, a feature I haven't seen anywhere else, Page Shot also offers
searching the text within the images themselves. So if you take a screenshot of
a pizza recipe and later search for "mozzarella" it will find the recipe.
I was late to the Page Shot party and my involvement is just standing on the
shoulders of giants at this point: by the time I was involved the final touches
were already being put on. A big thanks to Ian and Donovan for bringing
this project to life.
I called out the engineers who have been working to bring their creations to
life, but of course there are so many teams who were critical to today's
launches. A big thank you to the people who have been working tirelessly and
congratulations on launching your products! :)