Making Webmaker: what’s next?

Matt Thompson

Mozilla India community members made this by hand on Saturday using beautiful festival colors called "rangoli"

A lot has happened since we launched Webmaker. Since the initial launch announcement on May 22, we’ve seen:

More important than the numbers: we’re building global community. New people are showing up in our community calls. Photos and projects are coming in from around the world. We’re gathering valuable feedback on how to make the new Webmaker tools and projects better.

Who’s participating?

  • People from 68 different countries. People like this.
  • Learners with a broad range of web skills. Erin Knight’s early survey data suggests most users are coming in with more expertise than we originally anticipated — but still report learning new things.

  • Communities of mentors and instructors. As Jacob highlighted in yesterday’s community call, we’re seeing mentors and community instructors grab onto our tools and curriculum (like Popcorn and StoryCamp) and adapting them to their local programs and needs — a key goal for all our work.
  • Partners. Two of the most popular projects on webmaker.org have come from partners: the “Customize your Tumblr theme” project, for example — made possible by our partnership with Tumblr — and the Awesome Animal Builder from the London Zoo. And great partners like Black Girls Code and others are running events under the “Summer Code Party” banner all summer long, deepening relationships with Mozilla and teaching us.

Black Girls Code #MozParty in Oakland, June 30

  • High-profile speakers and mentors. Like Cory Doctorow and OK Go’s Damian Kulash.
  • Lots of new people introducing themselves on the Webmaker newsgroup. New community members have been sharing their background and experience there daily.

What’s new and improved?

Better Summer Code Party search. Users asked for improved ways to search for Summer Code Party events. This week we shipped them. They include:

Great stories and projects on the new Webmaker Tumblr. The Mozilla Webmaker tumblr has become one of the best ways to grok the overall story. And also shows some of the best examples of what people are making using Thimble, Popcorn, the X-Ray Goggles and other tools. Like using your first lines of HTML to tell someone important you love them:

Love hidden in the code. Thimble project from #MozParty

Coming soon:

  • A refresh of the Webmaker.org front page. To showcase the new global reach of the project, reflect our community more, and push participants to the right channels for conversation.
  • Easier ways to see and share what people are making. We need to make it easier for people to share and submit great work into the Webmaker Tumblr. And eventually through more automated user-generated galleries.
  • Incorporating user  and community feedback into a larger Webmaker.org re-design effort. Chris Appleton will share more on this in Tuesday’s community call. (Here’s a sneak peek.)

Click this image to watch this Summer Code Party Invasion video -- then make your own using Mozilla Popcorn.

What are people making?

Mozilla Webmaker projects and beyond. Some highlights:

  • Robot Invasion videos. The new Popcorn templates make it easy to produce a winning result fast. It feels like people are now intuitively “getting it” and seeing the creative potential for Popcorn in ways that were harder before. (See Jacob’s latest post on the sights and sounds of Popcorn’s StoryCamp, for example.)
  • Customzing Tumblr templates. As a gateway to learning HTML and CSS.
  • Making the web physical. MozParty Dundee, in Scotland, focused on hands-on hacking that blended the digital and the physical. From a physical blue bird that flaps its wings every time someone tweets “#MozParty,” to maneuvering Google Maps street view with a joystick. (This mix of physical and web hacking feels super rich — lots to think about for this year’s Mozilla Festival in November.)

Every time you tweet #MozParty, this bird flaps its wings

  • Making mobile apps. At MozParties in Zurich and Bucharest.

  • Tying in Mozilla’s larger mission and work. The Mozilla India team and ReMo members, for example, have been using the Summer Code Party as a tie-in and jumping off point for Firefox localization work and more.

What do the numbers tell us?

So far we’ve got:

  • Survey feedback on the new Mozilla Thimble projects. Erin Knight’s post tells the story and take-aways from the survey feedback we’re getting.
  • Social media and email growth. We continue to see good growth, plus the addition of Tumblr, with 2000+ followers in our first two weeks. Not bad.

Mozilla Webmaker social media channel growth

  • Early web metrics. Ross shared some early metrics from webmaker.org in yesterday’s community call. But we have lots of work to do on improving how we collect this data and make it actionable.

What’s next?

Roadmapping. Mark Surman has outlined some thinking, questions and next steps around the roadmap for Webmaker tools. In Tuesday’s community call, we’ll dive into this in more depth.

The Popcorn, Thimble and Webmaker.org teams have been doing roadmap work as well. More on that in the coming weeks.
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