A campaign about Your Web, for the Web

Note: This campaign is very much a work in progress and some aspects of it will most likely change. However, this should give you an idea of what the campaign could look like.

I was recently inspired by the webdev team’s activity at Open Source Bridge the other week, where hackers were asked what they want the Web to be. Dozens of people used posters, letter stencils, and markers to create their answer and show the possibilities open to us because of technology. The beautiful result can be seen in their video and Mike Morgan’s photo gallery, which is appropriately named Your Web.

Everyone uses and thinks about the Web differently, and we all have the opportunity to be part of the Web and choose how it evolves. So let’s show our users that. As part of a campaign for existing Firefox users, I’d like to see the activity from Open Source Bridge grow to a new scale in a way that any Firefox user can participate. The concept should be solid, the user’s interaction should be simple, and the gallery should be visually compelling (with some HTML5 + CSS3 love, naturally).

The Concept

Let’s create a fun and interactive way for users to think about the Web and tie that back to Mozilla’s mission and why we create products like Firefox. Let’s ask users a simple question about the Web and showcase their responses. Questions like “What do you love about the Web?” and “What do you want the Web to be?” can be answered in a single word or phrase. It should be a broad enough question that anyone can answer it easily.

The Interaction

Show users how others have answered the question and then ask them for their response. To make the response even richer and provide a human element, we encourage users to write their response on a poster and upload a picture of them holding the poster, similar to the Your Web gallery. A user can also tag their response to show how they use the Web (eg: an Artist, Developer, Student, or Writer).

The Gallery

Once a user submits their response (the photo is optional, by the way), they see their answer appear in the gallery, along with responses from similar users based on their locale and tag. The gallery could show a word and photo cloud where the more popular responses are larger. One could then share their response by email or on a social network. Here’s a rough sketch of how it could look, courtesy of Crystal Beasley:

Sketch of the main page

Sketch of the main page

Sketch of the submission form

Sketch of the submission form

Localization

I’m excited to see how users around the world think about the Web and answer the question, but many of those responses will be in different languages — languages I don’t speak. Unlike other campaigns where we localize content before the campaign launches, most of the content for this campaign will be submitted by users. This gives us an interesting opportunity to have our multilingual users translate responses so that others can understand how people around the world answer the question.

For example, a German user could offer a translation for a French response, and then German users could view that translation when they mouse over it. And we could do this in a way that still gives our localization community the ability to review translations before they appear for other users.

Another fascinating question is how do we structure the responses across different locales so the answers are brief but still descriptive? We could limit user submitted answers to a certain number of words or characters. In English, that limit could be pretty low — perhaps 4 words up to 30 characters total. We could probably establish a rule for each locale as to how long answers can be. What would make sense for other locales? For your locale?

Feedback

I’m teaming up with Winston Bowden to put this together (here’s the wiki page), and I’d love feedback on how to tweak this idea and make it even better. I would especially like to see your thoughts on the localization aspects.