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.