Mozilla has identified the Conscious Choosers as a cohort of people who exhibit signs of “everyday activism” in their offlines lives, and express those through the product and services they choose and use. At the same time, these same people don't apply similar values and behaviours in their online lives, where they often use services that don't reflect their ethical choices. Starting from the assumption that the Conscious Choosers are a good audience for Mozilla and Firefox, it was still unknown what arguments and product features could better engaged them (e.g. How do they make their online decisions? What's their perception of privacy? What are their main concerns nowadays?).
A combined digital and traditional ethnographic approach allowed to discover more about the Conscious Choosers. We used web ethnography to explore the main topics and actors connected to each of the five Internet Health issues (data privacy and security, decentralization, web literacy, digital inclusion and open innovation) based on what appear as result during searches on Chrome and DuckDuckGo. This helped creating a broader set of themes and keywords to be discussed during the specific qualitative research. In parallel, a mixed quantitative and qualitative research study allowed to identify different types of Conscious Choosers and conduct in-depth interviews with about 24 of them in the USA (in Atlanta, Kansas City and Austin) and the same amount in Germany (in Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich). The in-depth interviews were essential to assess their online and offline behaviours across a variety of contexts, understand their mental models around data privacy, and explore their knowledge of Internet-related issues. The interviews were complemented by direct observation in specific spots of each town with high presence of Conscious Choosers (e.g. co-working spaces, artist galleries, social innovation hubs, etc.) and by organizing small events with local experts to get their opinion on the current beliefs and behaviours related to technology. The research tour lasted three weeks in each country, and brought to a very complete understanding of the initial open points.
Three American and four German personas emerged during the study, for a total of seven different approaches that Conscious Choosers may have, considering their value system and use of technology. Each persona has been described in depth, detailing the motivation behind their online and offline choices and their point of view on Internet and technology in general. Each description covered specific insights connected to the way in which Mozilla and Firefox teams are organized (from browser features to communication), so that every department could already link the persona to their own activities and find inspirations. The descriptions also included a map showing the personas along a continuum that goes from unaware to aware, active and advocate: there could be different enabling and blocking factors that help Conscious Choosers moving further in that journey and those need to be considered in order to engage them more and more.