The Firefox Marketplace has the facility to list Mobile-optimized websites (MOW) — simply websites that work well across mobile devices and platforms — right next to apps. This article explains what this new feature entails, how you can make use of it, and what the different future release phases will make available.
The goal of MOW is to improve the discoverability of content on mobile devices, and change the mobile app ecosystem for the better.
The Web has a huge amount of quality content in it. Rather than try to convert this content to an app store model, we should try to allow the app store to be more compatible with the existing web in addition to apps, making quality web content easier to discover and submit to Firefox Marketplace. Standard websites have just as much value as "installable apps", therefore they should be just as discoverable via Firefox Marketplace.
The Firefox Marketplace will provide access to:
- Responsive sites optimized for the mobile web (i.e. as viewed on Android, iOS, Firefox OS, etc.)
- Top sites globally and by different country/locale.
- Sites provided with the new W3C manifest for web apps, including linked manifests and pinnable apps.
We will continue to make Firefox Marketplace APIs available; going forward these will now support MOW. MOW will also — depending on user feedback — enable new features for content discovery in future versions of Firefox Marketplace that will offer opportunities for the community to contribute and review submissions.
Where can I find Mobile Optimized Websites?
Mobile Optimized Websites for your region and device are available in the Firefox Marketplace. To see them easily:
- Open the Marketplace app.
- Tap the “change filter options” button to open the “Filter” panel.
- In the “Filter” panel, tap the “Content” filter (which by default should be displaying “All Content”) and select “Websites only”.
- Back in Marketplace, tap a listing title to see more detailed information, or tap the launch button to open the website in your browser.
Note: You can tell the difference between a website and an app because Mobile Optimized Websites will have a “Launch” button. Apps will have an “Install” button.
In the next few months, community participation will also become a key part of the MOW experience — we want to utilize the collective wisdom of our community, for the benefit of our community, to bring the best of the Web to everyone. We will be piloting community-based submissions with willing community members in order to get feedback and learn how we can make the submission process scalable and available to all. If you wish to participate in this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also plan to have a community-driven content curation system that will allow participants to share their local or subject matter expertise to end users of the Firefox Marketplace. This is in the planning stages. You can follow the progress on the Wiki.
Current and future release plans
This section discusses what's coming up on the MOW roadmap.
The first release will populate the Firefox Marketplace with a small number of sites (increasing in number as we go along.) The current scope of work is to:
- Build in UX to expose MOW sites to consumers.
- Create content standards, guidelines and review process.
Phase 1 (coming later in 2015) will involve a pilot process with an assembled curatorial board to collect new mobile-optimized sites, and expose these to consumers. In detail:
- Enhance the UI on the homepage to include MOWs.
- Enhance & deploy collection tools, instate curatorial board.
- Create a “needed sites” wiki for content specialists to contribute to a list of desired sites.
- Create rudimentary submission tools available to volunteers who wish to pilot the submission program.
- Implement a simple review process.
- Learn from feedback and correct issues in UX, tools, and processes.
- Implement simple publishing process (collect > review > accept/reject > go live.)
- Integrate new tools into existing marketplace editorial tools.
Phase 2 (end of 2015) will test the desire of the wider Firefox Marketplace user community to submit sites and participate. We will:
- Test the appetite and interest of the community for contributing, and find out how best to include them.
- If warranted, deploy MOW tools to a wider audience of contributors.
- Add contributor profiles to Firefox Marketplace.
- Focus on the process of enhancing content.
- Improve the UI to include new modes of discovery that include community submissions.
- Enable and encourage wider contributions from community across all aspects of the project.
A future phase will then provide more sophisticated submit, review, and publishing tools, if users and the wider community desire it.