Improving the Compatibility Reporter

Since launching the Add-on Compatibility Reporter in October, we’ve received over 70,000 user reports on add-ons. That’s an incredible response, and it’s helping both Mozilla and developers identify add-ons that are working fine despite their compatibility information, and others that might actually have compatibility problems.

Some of the feedback we’ve received from add-on developers is that the reports are sometimes miscategorized or unhelpful. Unhelpful reports usually occur when a user doesn’t understand what they should be reporting. In miscategorized reports, the user might say the add-on has a problem, but in the comments types “works fine”.

One idea I’ve been exploring to improve the quality of the reports and make enabling incompatible add-ons safer is turning the reporter into a wizard. Instead of just enabling all incompatible add-ons at once and hoping the user goes to the Add-ons Manager to report on them, the wizard would enable each add-on one at a time and walk the user through submitting a report. After the user tests and submits the report, the browser would be restarted with the next add-on enabled for testing. A toolbar could be used to keep track of what add-on is currently being tested and to navigate the process:

Mockup of wizard toolbar

Mock-up of a compatibility reporter toolbar, created using ChromeBug with icons from famfamfam

Of course, the “advanced mode” would still be around for users who just want to enable their incompatible add-ons or manually handle report submission. I’m interested in feedback on whether the wizard is a good idea, or if others have suggestions on how to improve the process.

  • One possibility for the miscategorized reports may be the result of something that someone was ranting about in the Mozillazine forums. Nightly Tester Tools (an addon many people used for nightlies and betas) marks addons as compatible in a different way, and if that is done, the Compatibility Reporter believes they are marked as compatible and so only offers the option of reporting incompatibility.