One Cause or Many?

For the redesign we’ve been working on adding new content to the home page and adding a new section we’ve been calling Our Causes. I have some questions about this section that I’d be interested in getting feedback on.

The idea is to use this section to tell a more complete story about Mozilla and the goals that are behind our actions. Or to put it another way, if Firefox is a means to an end we need a place to talk about what that larger end is.

Many Causes version
Many Causes version

The initial approach to writing the main page for this section was to identify a set of community priorities (accessibility, privacy, etc.) that mapped back to principles in the Manifesto and describe what we’re doing in these areas.

After talking about this with other people it became clear that there was an alternate approach to consider. Instead of many causes, perhaps we have just one overall cause (making the Internet better) and everything else is just a means to this end?

Both approaches seem useful, so this leads to a few questions:

  • Does the One Cause or Many Causes approach appeal to you more?
  • Where else would the Many Causes content fit if it wasn’t used here?
  • What name would you use for the One Cause approach? Our Cause, Our Goal, Our Mission, The End To Which Firefox Is A Means? (I’m joking on that last one…)
One Cause version
One Cause version

I have some thoughts on these questions, but no clear answers yet. The Many Causes version seems more correct to me because it has more detail to it, but the One Cause version seems easier to digest for someone who just knows Mozilla makes a browser.

If we used the more approachable version as the main page, there are other ways to use the more detailed version. It could be a sub-page or an introduction to the Manifesto (it rolls up many of the principles into concrete activities and that could be a good way for people to approach the full Manifesto text).

If we used the One Cause version, what about the name? I think Our Causes flows well, but the singular Our Cause doesn’t sound right to me. Maybe Our Goal or Our Mission is better? The current mission page is a bit out of date and could use a review, so maybe that gets folded into this process?

The response to my last post about site content had a lot of useful feedback, so I’m looking forward to hearing from people about this too.

4 thoughts on “One Cause or Many?

  1. I think that “Our Cause” works just fine as a link. When they arrive, tell them in bold letters that the cause is “to make the internet better”. Then break it down into how we do that: open source, trust, security, standards, community etc… each a large attractive heading with an apple style marketing paragraph (think two/three very short sentences) below it. At the bottom of each para, a link to learn more, or a collapsible div with more info?

    If the paras look too short (line length too long) consider a two column layout (I know the css will be harder).

  2. “Our Mission” sounds too corporate; “Our Causes” sounds unnecessarily hairy. I agree with Ryan: our cause is to make the Internet better for its end users.

    What does a better Internet mean? It’s easy to use and secure. It has exciting products and content that everyone can access. It invites you to participate and help create it. It’s not censored unless you choose to censor it. It’s not subject to centralized control.

    How can we do all that? We make a product, Firefox, so that anyone can at once choose a better Internet experience. And Firefox’s market share gives us a little leverage and keeps competition alive, so that in the long run, the Internet gets better for everyone, not just Firefox users.

    Firefox is both an end and a means. It has been hugely successful in both regards. For thousands of volunteers and a hundred million users, it is mostly an end. For a few people who work on the product full-time, and have to decide things like how to handle Web fonts, it’s natural and appropriate to take the long view. So to us, Firefox is mostly a means. I think it would be misguided and out of touch to try to convince the world that “Firefox is a means, not an end”. The joy that powers our awesome community is generated by Firefox as a product, as an end in itself.

  3. We always have been talking about our “mission” when it comes down to this, I’m not yet convinced we have a good enough reasoning to change that to some other wording.
    Apart from that, I think the singular version is better overall, as it’s easier to digest.

  4. I agree that sticking with the word mission is a good idea. Our Mission seems most appropriate and it can be summed up in a sentence (“Mozilla in one sentence”, mission statement) followed by exactly how Mozilla is already (and is intending to) accomplishing its mission through its projects, products, and causes.

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