Help Mozilla visualize how people use Firefox

November 11, 2010

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

You might recall we posted a couple of weeks ago this chart summarizing the times of the day Firefox users switch on Private Browsing mode:

Private mode
The chart, based on data from the Mozilla Test Pilot program tells an interesting story about the habits of Web users. But what other interesting stories could be told, to reveal more insights into how people interact with the Web via a browser?

To drive discussion around that question, Mozilla has launched an open data visualization competition, How Do People Use Firefox? Participants in the competition will have access to Test Pilot data from more than 1 million volunteer Firefox users, and will use those data to create, in the words of the organizers, "compelling visualizations that tell detailed, meaningful and yet easy-to-interpret stories about interesting user activities". 

The competition begins on November 17 when the data are made available, and the deadline for submissions is December 5. Winners will be announced on December 1. I am honored to have been asked to serve as one of the seven judges, along with members of Mozilla Labs and Mozilla Metrics.

For inspiration, check out the examples under "What we are looking for" on the competition page. Two of the four examples were created in R, including Heike Hoffman's "Flying over the USA" contribution to the ggplot2 visualization competition. And if you need more inspiration, the Grand Prize is a $300 Amazon gift card, with Tufte books for the runners-up. 

Check the competition page at the link below for full details, follow @MozTestPilot on Twitter for updates, and get those R graphics devices fired up!

Mozilla Design Challenge: How Do People Use Firefox

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