Recently, hundreds of Mozillians from all over the world gathered in three different locations for the Mozilla Summit. I had the opportunity to attend the summit in Toronto.
While I was there, I attended a couple sessions where the Firefox UX team talked about Firefox User Types in North America. The UX team did an incredible job framing the various types of Firefox users. It made me realize that the same thing is important to do for the types of people that need an “enterprise Firefox.”
When I say “enterprise Firefox,” the only use case that most people think about is big companies limiting what end-users can do. But there are very valid reasons why someone would need to configure Firefox in a very specific way.
Sometimes the reason is physical safety. Think about a browser on medical equipment or a factory floor.
Sometimes the reason is online safety. Think about a browser at an elementary school or shared by members of a family with different ages.
Sometimes the reason is legal or regulatory. Think about a browser at a bank or a securities firm.
Sometimes the reason is simply that the computer is shared by a lot of people. Think about a browser at a library or a nursing home or a web cafe or a homeless shelter.
I think for a lot of us, we tend to see other computer users exactly like ourselves. We need to realize that people (and organizations) use computers in completely different ways, ways that most of us don’t even know about. As long as we build software primarily for ourselves, we’re going to completely miss out on opportunities for Firefox.
Sometimes the user of Firefox is not the end-user. It’s the administrator or company that wants to deploy Firefox to their end-users. We need to make sure that Firefox is a great browser for them as well.
We need to balance end-user desires with administrator constraints.
Maybe what we need here is a new word? Enterprise doesn’t really capture the spirit of what I’m trying to do. Anyone have any ideas?