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Firefox Accounts Ecosystem

Integrated over a dozen teams’ services of all form factors, like VR, with the account system.

Soon after we created the Firefox Account system, we began connecting new and existing Firefox services. This included websites, but also browser add-ons, mobile apps and even the short-lived Firefox OS.

My Role

Senior Product Designer

Teammates

PMs, EMs, PMMs, dozens of teammates in every time zone

Challenges

Herding cats
All form factors
Lack of standards
Multiple time zones
Locally synced encrypted data

Methods

User Flow Diagrams
Wireframes
Prototypes
User Testing
Data Science

Many of the devices and services that connected to the account system sorted chronologically with devices on top, and all other services below

The problem and how it was solved

Firefox is most known as a web browser, and Chrome’s rise was due largely in part to their perceived (and deliberate) compatibilities with Google properties like Search, Docs, YouTube, etc.

In order to lean into its reputation for user privacy, Mozilla began building out an ecosystem of services that integrated natively with Firefox. I was asked to integrate these into the account system, and into the browsers’ native interfaces. This involved deep discussions with the product and engineering teams, as well as coordination with the principal designers of the browsers. My process typically begins with detailed user flow diagrams, and thanks to a robust design library, I was able to move directly into designing browser and account system interfaces.

Allowing for flexibility

Supporting simple web properties was easy, but some relying parties like browsers or VR headsets were more complicated. We need to work with various teams to ensure the system worked for them, including security features.

Research Findings

The most powerful learning was that there is no intrinsic value in having a Firefox Account. Users may have affinity for Firefox, but ultimately an account is begrudgingly created in an exchange of value. When there was a powerful value proposition (e.g. Sync) users would create an account. When brand affinity was foregrounded, or account requirements were implied, users would respond by skipping, or worse, inputting bad data.

Impact

20M MAU and the future of Firefox connected applications, which today even includes paid offerings.