Kind letter to Mozilla's management
I'm a simple user and no product strategist whatsoever, so please see the following as a personal opinion. Still, as somebody who has been using Firefox non-stop for the past 12 years, I believe I know where Firefox's strengths lie, and therefore I want to share the following ideas to stabilize or increase usage numbers:
Facts are facts: the number of users is dropping, and this needs to be taken seriously. But Mozilla and its employees, and this sub should realize that nothing is lost yet. They have +190 million monthly active users that prefer their browser over others. That's a large user base that should be cared for and listened too! So rule no. 1: ENGAGE MORE WITH THE COMMUNITY. Make them feel respected and comfortable in the Mozilla family. Make product managers read and also reply on Discourse and Ideas topics. Now users barely get any response when posting there. Regard criticism as valuable feedback, and act upon it. It will spark enthusiasm within the community, whose members in turn will convince other users. BRING BACK CUSTOMIZATION AND POWER FEATURES: bring back a fully supported Compact Mode, as a first proof user feedback (nr. 1 on ideas.mozilla.org) is really taken into account and Firefox wants to accommodate for different users' preferences. Simplification hasn't countered dropping usage numbers, on the contrary, it has alienated or even pushed away loyal users. Have a look at Vivaldi regarding customization options. Come up with new, innovative features (e.g. bookmark tags, which Vivaldi doesn't have). Finally extend the WebExtensions API (promised at the time of FF57), in close dialogue with addon developers, to differentiate Firefox addons from less powerful extensions in other browsers (e.g. uBlock Origin, which works best in Firefox). SEARCH FOR SMART AND CHEAP WAYS TO PROMOTE THE FIREFOX BRAND. Again, engage with the community to help building viral campaigns. Create short video tutorials to show off Firefox's unique features and how they actually work. Look for partners that have the same FOSS or privacy-focused mindset (DuckDuckGo, Signal, ...) and campaign together. TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES. They are your most valuable asset. Create a culture wherein knowledge is shared and new ideas are discussed, and active engagement with the community is seen as obligatory to build great products.
I realize this has been brought forward and discussed already multiple times on this sub, but I felt the need to let my voice be heard.
Thanks for reading!
And so is avaible via: txti.es/mozillaletter
My experience is somewhat different, in that I have zero incentive to switch away from Firefox. It's what I've been using for 20+ years, and Chrome just doesn't appeal to me. If a website doesn't work on Firefox, which is rare, I typically don't use it (meanwhile chalking its breaking to my using adblock rather than browser choice). I figure there's a reason the Tor Project uses Firefox rather than Chrome.
At the least, I would use Chromium long before I trusted Chrome.
I've only been rediscovering Firefox for the last year. I enjoy their values much more than their browser. For work, I keep using Chrome mostly because it's better integrated with the tools I use at work, and that's including browser extension and some very, very bloated sites that take 30 seconds to load on Chrome, and simply crash on Firefox. Thanks for sharing your message here!
Firefox is in a rough spot. I've been considering switch back to Chrome. On the one hand, Firefox is more secure, more privacy oriented, more respectful of me as a user. On the other hand, I'm a dumb monkey who sees that Chrome simply works _better_ than Firefox on many websites.
Admittedly, flashy new features that keep me on Firefox are probably not actually better than privacy and security, but monkey like shiny.
Chrome simply works _better_ than Firefox on many websites
That's true, but it's kind of a vicious circle situation. The less people use browsers with an engine other than Webkit, the less attention and support those other engines (now mostly Gecko) will receive, both in development of the engine and in writing sites properly supporting the engine.