The design has changed a few times before. For instance, early versions were very text heavy and each new design has had more visual elements and less text.
A lot more has changed than just the look though—the way the page functions has also been evolving.
The original version was a clearing house of information that people could sort through to find the right next steps for what they wanted to do. There wasn’t even a way to directly contact anyone from the page.
That worked when the community was smaller and it wasn’t difficult to get an idea of what contribution opportunities existed.
Mozilla is bigger and doing more now and even full-time employees are overwhelmed by the firehose of information available. Asking a potential volunteer to sort things out on their own is no longer realistic.
A few years ago when we designed the current version, we tried something new to help people help us. We invited people to contact us if they wanted to get involved but didn’t know how.
The contact form was in a sidebar and the main content was still information for people to sort through and find out where to go next. It was just an experiment and we didn’t know if it would be used or if it would be useful.
Today thousands of people are contacting us this way to express interest in contributing to all areas of the project from coding and support to legal and design.
Some spam and support questions come through, but we also get many messages like this every day: “I’m moved by the Mozilla mission. I’m not sure if my skills can help your organization but I’ll be happy to volunteer some of my time.”
Making sure that these people can contribute is all about what we’re doing on the Contributor Engagement team. We’re working with all project teams on volunteer focused tools, channels and strategies.
Inviting potential contributors to get in touch and starting them on the path to be a successful contributor is becoming a central part of our strategy. You can see that in the new design where the form moves from the sidebar to a central element.
The fact that Mozilla is big is not surprising, but the fact that the amount of interest in contributing to Mozilla has continued to grow is great news. We have an opportunity to grow Mozilla more and more each and every day.
Let me know if you have any thoughts about the new design or about our plans for helping get more people involved.