All posts tagged events

Mozilla Festival 2012: Making, Freedom and the Web

Thrilled to again lead the Mozilla Festival, and a yearly celebration of learning and innovation for and with the web. The event will take place in London, November 9 -11.

We want everyone to tap the full creative power of the web. The Mozilla Festival is a magnet for people interested in learning about — and playing with — the web’s future.” –Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla

Coders, designers, journalists and educators will join with filmmakers, gamers, makers and youth from more than 40 different countries. Together they’ll participate in a series of design challenges, learning labs and fireside chats spread across four floors of the Ravensbourne design and media campus in East London.

Unlike traditional conferences, the Mozilla Festival is on hands-on making and collaboration. It’s “more hack, less yack.” You won’t see slides or sages on the stage. Instead, it’s a big, bustling tent for everyone who shares Mozilla’s vision for a more open, web literate world.

Technology is at the point where learners don’t just use the tools, but make the tools. This happens at places like the Mozilla Festival, where geeks and practitioners get together.” Joi Ito, Mozilla Foundation Board Member, Director of MIT Media Lab

This year’s key themes:

Get involved

Re-posting an article by Matt Thompson.

#Mozparty: Summer Code Party Themes

It’s been a blast seeing all the hacks and photos from Summer Code Parties across the globe. There are a few more weeks to go, and we’re curious what what else people will come up with.

Party Themes

One idea we tossed around was hosting themed parties. For example:

  • On the Beach
  • Sports Night
  • Superheroes and Villains

Or even something like: Call Me Maybe remixes.

Whatever you do, it’s all about spending time during the summer, with whatever activities you’re already doing, and trying a bit of playful webmaking. All it takes: some friends, a laptop and a kitchen table.

There are lots of fun projects to choose from, including Save the Bunny. Now Beach Party Bunny. d(^_^)b

Speed Geeking! August 26 with Hive Berlin

** Update:** A lot of key people have requested to reschedule the speed-geeking because of holiday travels. Since we want to pull this off with the right people in the room, packed and buzzing, we’ve decided to host the event on August 26. All the other info remains the same.

Speed Dating for Geeks! Get to know about 5+ topics in under an hour.

We’re hosting a speed geeking session on July 22 with Hive Berlin at Supermarkt in Berlin, Wedding from 1300 – 1500h.

This is a rapid-fire format aims to:

  • Showcase learning opportunities in the city
  • Get to know fellow educators and hackers
  • Play with new tools and concepts

And as a station host, you’ll get to share your project with a larger audience, gather feedback, and get really good at speaking quickly and clearly.

What is Speed Geeking?

The setup will be 5 or more tables in a circle in the room.

  • Each table will have a station host, who will present their project using flip charts, a few slides, screen grabs, whatever — in five minutes or less.
  • We’re thinking: get an Arduino to blink, remix a website, record a sound, edit a web video, hack a toy. Something fun, hands-on and educational.
  • Participants rotate among the speed geek stations in small groups. Every five minutes, you’ll hear about another topic. This provides a way to learn about a broad range of projects very quickly.
  • And the end of a full rotation, we’ll turn the floor over to open hacking. You can go back to your favorite station(s) and dig in more.
  • Afterward, we’ll regroup, share what we made, and talk about how it went.

Why should I come?

It’ll be a fun Sunday affair where you can learn something, meet new people, and share what you’re passionate about.

We plan to iterate on event formats like these and build towards a learning network in Berlin. Whether you’re interested in the bigger Hive network plans or not, you are very welcome to come play, make and hack with us.

How do I get involved?

  • Would you like to attend? It’s free! For kids and grown-ups alike.
  • Would you like to host a station? 3 hour time commitment max!
  • Have an idea for something else? Email michelle – at- mozillafoundation – dot – org

See you on July 22! #hiveberlin

Images by Jon Lim with Hive Toronto

Things We’re Learning From #Mozparty

Last weekend was the kickoff of Mozilla’s Summer Code Party (#mozparty).

In a summer-long campaign, there’s over 400 scheduled events in nearly as many cities, hosted by passionate people who want to share their knowledge of the web and learn together with friends.

I’d like to surface some lessons I’m already taking away from the campaign.

For more context about the Summer Code Party, check out the great posts by my colleagues at the end of the post.

Host Trainings

It can be a big ask to put on a party, even if it’s mostly about getting together informally around your kitchen tables.

For the campaign to go well, event hosts should feel confident and prepared for their event.

Right before the kickoff weekend, we offered online “host trainings” at various timezones, focusing on realtime support for our three main event types.

While not as many people showed up as hoped, the organizers who came were very engaged and asked great questions. You could tell they thought a lot about their event already.

Next time I think we should offer more frequent, less structured office hours for hosts. They can drop into a channel within certain times and get immediate help. That might reduce scheduling friction while maximizing access to support.

Visual Hashtags

Scrolling through the lovely pictures that came in over the weekend, there’s a powerful uniting element: a visual hashtag.

As much as possible, we tried to provide hosts with stickers and materials they could print out at their event. In aggregate, when you see all these pictures from events spanning the globe, that visual hashtag — a green circle — ties it all together and makes it feel like pieces of a larger whole.

Next year I think we can go even heavier into the visual hashtag. Perhaps even see more online applications, too, such as banners, avatars, Thimble projects, etc. that incorporate it. Plus encourage hosts, like Mozilla Philippines did above, to take a picture of the group holding up the tag.

Hacked Gallery

One of the best hacks I saw this weekend came from Soki Briggs, a Mozilla Rep in Nigeria.

The new Thimble app doesn’t yet have a gallery. We were asking people to take screenshots and upload their hacks to third-party galleries like Flickr.

Briggs hacked that and made a new Thimble project that WAS a gallery of links, showing what everyone made at his event. Beautiful idea.

Overly Engineered Support

This whole campaign won’t have been possible without a lot of people. A special thanks goes to the support team (Benjamin Simon, Rebeccah Mullen, Matt Thompson as well as Erin Knight) for preparing an impressive volunteer manual and support infrastructure.

During the kickoff weekend, it was all hands on deck. The whole Mozilla Foundation staff was on IRC, Twitter, Facebook (yuck, I know), Flickr, Tumblr, you name it. We were monitoring incoming content, but especially watching for people using the tag #mozhelp, our signal for troubleshooting.

We had long planned to use a forked version of Army of Awesome, an amazing support tool used by the Firefox team. Sadly, that feature was cut due to time constraints.

Lo and behold, Brian Brennan whipped up his own version of Army of Awesome overnight. Bless.

All in all, I think live support went smashingly, due to the over-engineering. Huge thanks to everyone manning the channels and for all the hosts who ran things so smoothly.

Have Fun

It was definitely a lot of work by the whole organization and loads of talented contributors to kick off the summer. In the midst of all the planning docs and coordination calls, it’s easy to lose track of the fact: it’s about having fun, about hosting a party.

The best events are about being with people you enjoy, making and learning together. Now we can really do that — all summer long.

Fade out to adorable pictures.

More about the Summer Code Party

How to Host a Kitchen Table Event

Just grab a few friends, a laptop, and something to hack on together!

Prepared for Mozilla’s Summer Code Party.

Betatesting Around the Kitchen Table

summer code party

We had a lot of fun doing some betatesting for the Mozilla Summer Code Party.

The idea is to gather a few friends around your kitchen table, have some drinks and snacks, and play around on the web together.

It’s through the informal, friendly setting of your kitchen table that we hope people will find inspiration to make things together on the web. The format is simple and also highly customizable, so you can host the event on your own terms.

Mimosas and Making

As part of the organizing team for the Summer Code Party, I felt it was really important to test the kitchen table format myself. (A huge shoutout to the other Mozilla betatesters! I’ll be writing a summary of your input and experiences tomorrow.)

On a Sunday afternoon I called up three friends to come over and play with Hackasaurus. Two of them already knew about the tool but hadn’t played with it too much, while the other was new to it. They all have experience with making things on the web: the group was comprised of a journalist, an illustrator, and a web strategist.

The invitation was very casual, which I think helped set up a relaxed, fun atmosphere. I just asked them to bring their laptop and to swing by my house for an hour.

We poured ourselves some mimosas, and I showed them two tools to get started.

kitchentable betatest

Hacking the News

I first showed them, which lets you remix cards and send messages to your friends. Their reaction was lukewarm. So I moved right into demoing the Hackasaurus X-Ray Goggles.

After remixing the example on, they installed the goggles and surfed the web for other sites to hack. The most obvious thing to remix was images, so they swapped photos on sites they knew.

One friend, interested in politics, hacked Wikipedia by replacing a politician’s profile with a brown envelope, a symbol of corruption:

After a few image hacks, we took to changing text as well. Another friend remixed a headline story so that it raved about his brother’s favorite sports team. He emailed the hack to his brother and immediately followed up with a call to explain how he made it and how funny it was.

spiegel sport

There was also a Guardian remix about a politician outing himself as a muppet. “Labour leader calls for equal rights for muppets after he is revealed to be one,” reads the subtitle.



Since one of my friends is a journalist keen to learn more code, I showed her the Storything prototype. It’s designed to walk journalists and others through basic HTML tags, using a two-pane editor and a little video tutorial to mark up an article they’ve written.

She did the first chapter and said it was helpful and would likely try out the rest of the tutorials.

Doing your own thing

Several other betatesters pointed out, and I agree, that a successful kitchen table event balances curated activities with a hackable agenda that encourages participants to do what they want.

So while two participants were using Hackasaurus, the other was writing in his blog and clicking around on the web. I think that’s great and definitely the way to run these things: create a fun, communicative space where friends can learn and make stuff on the web, either in a guided or free-form way.

That self-direction helps the host get away from a disciplinarian role, and instead allows for everyone to make something that interests them. As a facilitator, I found my role to be more about introducing ideas, keeping a good flow and troubleshooting, rather than being a task manager.

Ways to improve

We ended up hacking for an hour, and I can imagine we’d play for longer if there had been more time. As we wrapped up, I asked my friends what they liked and what could be improved.

In general, they said they really enjoyed it — it was much more fun than they thought it would be.

However, they suggested adding more tutorials within the X-Ray Goggles, since sometimes it was hard to know why their hacks weren’t working. Perhaps in the manner of Storything with a guided tutorial, or just a hover-over “What’s this code?” or simple debugger might be helpful in showing people how the code is made and how they can hack it.

From my end, I also really enjoyed hanging out and showing my friends something interesting. I think we need smoother integration to publish hacks into a shared, global gallery. For this betatest, my friends emailed me their hacks and I took screenshots.

Perhaps we can build in some gallery functions directly into the Publish button in the X-Ray Goggles, since I imagine this will be a popular tool during the summer code party.

As a facilitator, it certainly helped to be familiar with the tools and to have played with them myself already.

I think encouraging future hosts to test a range of tools and have a ready repertoire is a good idea. As I’ve heard from other betatesters, you might need to adjust the agenda on the fly, introducing new tools to fit the interests and skill-levels of your participants.

Lastly, although I wrote up the host guide for the kitchen table event, I ventured far from it. That’s totally the intention, but I found it striking how little I followed my own instructions. I’m not sure I’d re-write the guide to match what I did in practice, but I’ll have to compare notes with the other betatesters to determine what parts of the guide are really valuable and which are just noise.

A huge thanks to my friends for joining me on a Sunday afternoon for some webmaking!


The Mullet: What We Made Last Week

I spent last week in San Francisco with a few dear colleagues from Mozilla. Definitely take a look at Ben Simon & Michelle Levesque’s great summaries, too.

Hundreds of whiteboards and office snacks later, I’m happy to say we ended the sprint with:

  • A simplified event menu married to Mozilla’s learning offerings
  • Sweet mockups for
  • A platform solution for creating, importing and aggregating Mozilla-related events
  • User-friendly How-Tos for planning an event
  • A summer campaign to encourage young people to learn code around their kitchen tables
  • A mullet

A word about mullets

First impressions go a long way. When people hit a website for the first time, they’re partaking in a complex calculation to determine if the site is even worth the server space it’s hosted on.

Give people a clean, inspiring and relevant first page, and after a few clicks in, they’re less likely to write you off if the design isn’t perfect or the copy not as crisp.

This is called the mullet principle: fresh & well-groomed in the front, stray & straggly in the back.

With this model in mind, we set about making our event mullet site. And bad coiffure puns along the way.

Even simpler event menu

I’ve been blogging darn near exclusively about the event menu. It was a joy at the sprint to realize that we can get it even simpler and more fitting to our needs.

Here’s what we came up with:

Kitchen Table — Learn with friends

2 – 10 people. 1 hour. At home or a cafe.

The kitchen table, if it goes well, has the potential to be the most interesting event type.

Inspired by the Brooklyn Kitchen Table Coders and Mark’s insight into the value of informal, at home learning with friends, (see also Webcraft Night), the kitchen table model is super simple, low-barrier to organize, and can be repeated dozens of times with variations on whatever you’re keen to learn.

  • Call your friends to come sit around your table.
  • Explore a skill you want to learn. For example, try on the Hackasaurus X-Ray Goggles to start playing with HTML. Or swap in another tool or curriculum you like, such as Popcorn Maker, a Codacdemy lesson, a Scratch how-to, an MIT course, or whatever!
  • Try it out yourself. Apply what you learned by making a little demo. In the Hackasaurus example, you can remix your favorite website. Share what you learned with your friends, and if you want, with the rest of the world.

Hack Jam — Make something

10 – 50 people. A day. In a spacious office or community space.

A hack jam is about teams building prototypes that create real world solutions. It works best when you mix in different skillsets and address a challenge or topic that you all care about.

We’ve been testing a variety of hack jams, and folks familiar with the tech world also know these events come in a range of flavors.

Here’s our recommended agenda, with the same invitation to hack it and make it your own!

  • Race to 100 Ideas. Agree on a design challenge and rapidly sketch as many ideas you can. The students at Product Dundee have tested and documented this method to much success.
  • Play with a new tool. Identify a tool or technique to help you build your idea. Teach others how it works, too. For example, you can try out Popcorn Maker if you’re interested in hacking on interactive video.
  • Sprint to a minimum viable prototype. Work in teams to transform your idea into a prototype. In the Popcorn example, teams sprint to convert a filmmaker’s vision into an interactive demo for the web. Share what you made.

Pop Up — Build a community

10 – 100 people. A half day. In a school gymnasium, community space, or public library.

Recently we’re in touch with an fantastic network of people looking to seed a learning network in their city. From London to Tokyo and Toronto, and now San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, Hive Pop-Up events are happening everywhere.

Rising from the very real need to document the format, we recommend this agenda for throwing a learning party:

  • Curate stations. Find local organizations and individuals who care about your topic and complement one another. Get them to propose table-top activities that take 5min, but can expand to more.
  • Sample the offerings. Gather everyone in a large space with activities spread across stations. Invite participants to try out the different offerings.
  • Play as long as you like. Participants stay at the stations as long as they like. Share back what you made at the end of the day.

I can haz learning

Laura Hilliger has written extensively about Mozilla’s learning philosophy and how it intersects with research-backed pedagogical methods.

She describes that a good lesson contains three parts:

  • an orientational activity (icebreaker)
  • an instructional activity (demo)
  • a practical activity (design challenge)

And we realized that these learning categories fit neatly with our three agendas.

Each agenda, depending on its primary goal, focuses more or less attention to each of these activity types. A kitchen table gathering focuses on the instructional most, while a hack jam works on the design challenge. And since all of our events contain all of these learning activities, as the Mozilla Learning team continues to build out webmaker curricula, the event menu is set to grow with it.

Sweet Mockup

When it comes to mullets, it really helps to have a talented hairdresser on your team. Someone to style up the ‘do just right and get you past your skullet.

Thankfully, Jess Klein led the way and designed this landing page:

It’s not done yet, but what we really like so far is:

  • a big, colorful image for each event conveying the scale and vibe
  • simple navigation to toggle event types and discover the supporting materials
  • a map that zooms into your location to show nearby events
  • one-click event importer & creator to add to the shared calendar

And we already have a few tweaks for the next version:

  • better visualize the “participation ladder” of the three events. Kitchen table is the smallest, then hack jam followed by pop up. The navigation should reflect this scale more intuitively.
  • lead with what you’ll do at the event, rather than our shorthand names. For example, rather than say “kitchen table” in the nav, it should be “learn with friends”.

Obviously we’re in need of a copywriter, but that’s another story. ^^

If you click on “Find”, it’ll bring you to this page, which displays our shiny event aggregator as a huge map:


When people want to organize or attend an event, we’ve got to provide a simple way for them to “say, I’m doing this.” Ben Simon and I blogged before about how we need a good third-party solution and what the key feature requests might be.

We walked through our user stories again, discussing what our aggregator should support:

  • A participant finding and signing up for an event
  • An organizer creating an event
  • An organizer importing an existing event
  • Organizers and participants sharing what they made and giving suggestions for improving the program

There are deeper cuts of course to each, and I’m happy to share the details to anyone that’s curious, but the main conclusion was:

  • No solution out there fits our feature requests 100%
  • We need to support federated solutions. If an organizer has an online presence for an event already, it needs to be super simple to import it to the Mozilla calendar, if they choose.
  • We need super simple event creation. If an organizer doesn’t have a page yet, we need a low-barrier, localization-friendly and HTML-ifable way to create an event.
  • Participants must be able to search events by topic, event type, location, and date.
  • Organizers must be able to communicate with participants before and after the event.
  • Mozilla must be able to communicate with organizers before and after the event.
  • Participants should have an easy opt-in to join the Mozilla mailings.
  • The platform we use must abide by Mozilla’s rigorous privacy policy.

Given those criteria and a close examination of BlueStateDigital, the platform we currently use for Mozilla’s membership program and mailings, Ben & I realized that we already have our solution at hand.

It’s not perfect, and it will no doubt have its limitations, but given the demand to get a good aggregator up and running, plus already supporting our main user stories, BlueStateDigital (BSD) + a customized event importer seem like our solution.


Another aspect of running events is not only getting the right agenda, but getting help with all the nuts & bolts that go into it.

We looked at a number of event toolkits from other organizations: Maker Faire, TEDx, Mouse Corps, even Tupperware.

Our resounding conclusion was that these how-tos are way too wordy and often not relevant. People aren’t stupid, so we don’t have to explain every minute detail. But there are some frequently asked questions and places where you might get stuck.

Led by Laura and inspired by the Gidsy guide we’ve got a simple-to-use and eye-pleasing set of event how-tos, covering everything from how to get the right space, to mitigating budget items, to facilitation and documentation suggestions. (Link coming soon!)

There’s still a ways to go, especially on the road to pretty Gidsy-esque design. And I’m sure this is a resource we constantly revise. But it’s great that we can provide these how-tos as part of the event kit.

Summer campaign

And now, with all those bits above, we asked ourselves: how are people going to find out about this? How are we going to create momentum around webmaking events? How are we going to test our agendas and resources?

We’ve got a plan for a testing round from now until May, followed by a summer campaign.


Each event agenda will be taken for a spin. Feedback and tweaks to the agendas will be rolled into the kit before launching the campaign in May.

  • Kitchen Table: In late March, Mozilla staff & any interested community members will host kitchen table sessions at home with friends. Share back how it went.
  • Hack Jam: Throughout March and April there are a number of Popcorn, Hackasaurus, and OpenNews hack jams on the calendar. We’re going to document how the events went in London, Cannes, Berlin, Lüneberg, Warsaw, and Buenos Aires.
  • Pop Up: We’ve also got a round of pop ups on the horizon. If all goes well, we’ll have at least one tester in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Pittsburgh before May.

Campaign Time

From now until June, Ben & I will recruit and engage partners who might be interested in the campaign.

In early May we’ll announce the campaign officially with the /events site. Sign-ups and on-going recruitment until mid June.

In June (exact date TBD) there will be a day of webmaker action where people all over the globe host kitchen table sessions, hack jams, and all sorts of learning & making events for the web. It hopefully becomes part of the summer spirit, and people continue learning together with friends & family.

The summer will conclude with a final burst of activity with larger events in Mozspaces and with Hive networks.


All this webmaking action brilliantly sets up the Mozilla Festival, which will be Nov. 9 – 11 in London. Organizers and learners will come to London, share their experiences, and facilitate massive kitchen table sessions all throughout the venue.

What do you think about that plan?


It was a very productive week. A huge thanks to fellow sprinters: Jess Klein, Laura Hilliger, Ben Simon, Michelle Levesque, Lainie DeCoursy, and of course Mark Surman & Allen Gunn.

*Images: “Mullet” by Kyle Plante / CC BY-SA 3.0, and Event Site Mock-ups + Characters in Event Menu by Jess Klein.

Mozilla Popcorn Learning Lab in London

Next up in the round of event recipes, Brett & I wrote up a Popcorn learning lab.

Since publishing the Popcorn hack jams how-to, we’ve been in touch with film festivals, coder communities, and video labs from all over about running events about Popcorn.

Skill up the community

At the moment, we’re still in a resource-crunch. Even though we can help event organizers to plan and facilitate their hack jam, there’s a shortage of people who know how to use Popcorn.

The options we currently have are:

  • fly around Team Popcorn, based primarily in North America
  • or, skill up web developers the world over, empower them to code and facilitate, and reward core contributors with trips to cool places like Cannes and Cape Town.

The more we can train the trainers, the more we can scale these open projects.

Test Round in London

To test out the recipe and grow the European community, we’re throwing a learning lab on Sunday, March 25 in London.

We’re looking for Javascript developers and filmmakers bold enough to dabble with code. Drinks, code, and good ideas are in the mix at this one-day event led by the Mozilla Popcorn team. Please sign up to join!

Want to know what we’ll do in London, or how to host your own Popcorn learning lab? Read our howto.

HowTo: Mozilla Popcorn Learning Lab

Popcorn Learning Lab

A Mozilla Popcorn Learning Lab is an event to introduce developers and filmmakers to Popcorn.js, an HTML5 javascript library that integrates the web into media production.

Participants will create plugins, hack templates, and code a demo that easily remixes web content into video, using open tools and collaborative design.

You can organize a learning lab with this guide! (A huge shout-out to Julia for translating this into French)

Why Popcorn?

Well, besides it being fun Javascript library to play with, it’s a powerful tool to create web-enabled video. Christian Heilmann did a great job describing its strengths and opportunities:

  • Video is typically hard to edit and change
  • Video is often a black, unindexed hole on the web
  • Separation allow for easier maintenance, enhancement, accessibility, and discovery
  • HTML5 video is just another page element
  • The timestamp is the glue
  • Tap into the real-time web using Popcorn.js

Demos also speak loudly about Popcorn’s possibilities. Take a look!


Participants will get their hands dirty by sharing hacks and peer-reviewing projects. Demos from the Popcorn community provide inspiration and running code to build from.

The motto: Learn by sharing and making!

Learning Labs can be hosted in partnership with Mozilla, who provides facilitation experience and extensive knowledge of the software, and by community members versed in Popcorn.

Mozilla will work with partners to ensure participants leave with a deeper understanding of Popcorn’s possibilities and how to teach others.

Learning Labs can also be self-organized following this handy guide!


Teams consist of:

  • Web developers skilled in Javascript
  • Bold filmmakers wanting to play with cod
  • Experienced Popcorn.js contributors

Small teams of web developers are paired with experienced contributors. Facilitators and web designers are also key roles at the learning lab.


Pre-Learning Lab Engagement

Mozilla and partners contact Popcorn community members, Javascript developers, and filmmakers in the area. Through lightweight interviews with sampling of participants, the organizers calibrate the skill levels and interests of the group, fine-tuning the agenda around what people want to learn and make.


All the participants and facilitators meet for a group demo. Popcorn contributors walk through the basics of the Javascript framework, highlighting use cases and possible avenues of development.

In the first hacking session, depending on technical skill, participants choose to:

  • play with Popcorn Maker — an authoring environment for interactive video — and turn a video interactive.
  • or dive into coding a plugin, a powerful way to bring in another service, like Flickr, OpenStreetMap, DocumentCloud or many others, to respond to video.

After busting a hack, the group shares back what they made. Participants give feedback, file bugs, offer help, and note ways to improve the experience.

In the second hacking session, you can:

Participants code their project, giving feedback and checking in with more experienced contributors if they get stuck.

At the end of the day, a screening and party is held. Each group demos their final code, evaluates the process, and celebrates all the hard work.

Afterward, participants sign up for activities they’re interested in: joining upcoming events, contributing code to Popcorn.js, teaching other developers, or just staying informed about the project.


  • At least one computer per team.
  • Video-editing software as well as a fast, modern browser.
  • Popcorn.js installed.
  • Video files for each demo.
  • Reliable wifi.
  • Power outlets.
  • Projector with suitable adapters
  • Meals – events should be catered
  • Amenities such as coffee, water, and snacks.
  • Travel support to the learning lab, where needed.

Case Studies of Popcorn Events

Independent Television Service (ITVS) + Mozilla, San Francisco. Video:

“ButterCamp”, NYC, March 2011.

Mozilla Festival, London. November 2011.

Photos: CC BY-NC-SA by Jonathan Mcintosh

Mozilla Event Menu: Testing Continues

It’s been really helpful to hear feedback from colleagues & the community about the Mozilla Event Menu (see Version 0.2), and here’s a shoutout to Gianfranco for his thoughtful input & article about the menu on Conference Basics!

Version 0.3

Rolling in the feedback, the latest version of the event menu is simpler still:


We decided to go for the Holy Triple. The menu should be streamlined and simple. There are places to share all the other crazy formats in development (see below), but when people come to Mozilla for the first time, having clear calls to action help.

The new menu now contains three event types: meet-up, learning lab, and hack jam.

Importantly, we removed the fireside chat from the core offering. I think this decision is keeping with our philosophy of interactive events (you’ll have more decentralized conversations at a meet-up than in a fireside chat). Plus we continue to face technical challenges to online discussions.

We also omitted the Mozilla Festival, as it’s not (at least at this time and in its current format) an event that an organizer would come across and run on their own.

Other changes in this version include a clearer call to action: “What do you want to organize?” and an invitation to hack the menu. We always planned for the menu to be bendable to suit an organizer’s appetite, but including an explicit invitation to do so is more with the Mozilla spirit and hopefully helps people see this tool as a guide, not a prescription.

With William Quiviger from the Mozilla Reps program, we talked about iconizing information like prep time, participant size, and estimated cost. I still think this is smart information to include, but failing good design, I wasn’t able to work it in without distracting from the menu. Perhaps the next version can play with those elements.

Very keen to hear your thoughts on this!

Mozilla Menu Extras

Seeing the success of the Hive Pop-Ups, most recently in Tokyo and forthcoming in Toronto, we’ve talked about how to better offer additional event formats that may not be our core calls to action, due to complexity, resources required, and other reasons, but still very powerful and templatable.

I see these as advanced formats, or in keeping with the menu metaphor, “extras” that can spice up a meal. There is a huge opportunity to develop resources & communities of practice that drive these formats as well, and therefore, here’s a cut at the Mozilla Menu Extras:


The extras include: fireside chat, idea jam, science fair, pop-up, and the Mozilla Festival.

What do you think?

Where from here?

We’re continuing to collect feature requests for an online event platform as well as conducting an audit of 3rd party event sites.

There will also be a sprint at the end of the month in San Francisco to 1) wireframe our online event presence and 2) create a punchlist of resources for event organizers.

In the meantime, Laura Hilliger is leading efforts to adapt the Hacksaurus Hacktivity Kit and our event resources to P2PU. The platform is home to a learning community that could help share and vet these resources, plus build in the peer-to-peer mentoring model we hope to grow towards. Laura is also thinking deeply about how to overlay Mozilla’s webmaker curriculum onto the event menu, which is quite exciting.

As this loooong post shows, there are lots of places where the input from experienced organizers and community members would really help focus and improve these efforts. We’d love to hear from you if this is on track, and if these tools help serve your needs!