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Menu Item Usage Study: Aggregated Data Samples

Test Description

  • Test name: Menu Item Usage Study.
  • Test duration: 5 days
  • Test type: Global
  • Firefox versions covered: 3.5 and above
  • Data submission: 8600 users, between Feb 8 and Feb 28, 2010

Test Results

There's a lot more we can do with this data. If you have questions about it, ideas for how to analyze it, or derived metrics that you would be interested in seeing, please join the Test Pilot Discussion Group . If you generate any statistics or charts from the data, we would of course look forward to seeing those posted in the discussion group as well.

Test Data

Anyone is welcome to download and use the aggregated data files below.

FilenameDownload SizeN (Number of users)Description
menu-item-usage-10.csv12 Mb933 users10 percent sample
menu-item-usage-30.csv31 Mb2795 users30 percent sample
menu-item-usage-50.csv51 Mb4666 users50 percent sample
menu-item-usage-70.csv76 Mb6534 users70 percent sample

All of this data has been collected and is being shared under the terms of the Test Pilot Privacy Policy from Mozilla Labs. We license this data for use by anyone under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.. This license allows derived works as well as commercial use, as long as you give attribution for the source of the data.

There is no personally-identifiable information, and no URLs, contained in this data set.

How to read the data

Data is in CSV (comma-separated value) format. The first line of the file is the header and gives the names of all the columns. After that, each line contains a summary of a single menu interaction event. A menu interaction event is defined as one of the following:

  • The user used the mouse to open the menu bar, and either chose a menu item, or closed the menus without choosing an item.
  • The user used a keyboard shortcut which is listed in one of the menus. Firefox keyboard controls not listed in the menus as keyboard shortcuts were not recorded: e.g. we recorded the use of Ctrl-F to do a search, but not the use of the forward-slash key to do a search.
  • On Windows, the user used the Alt key to open the menus, and then navigated through the menus visually using the keyboard, and either chose a menu item, or closed the menus without choosing an item.
The right-click context menu was not instrumented. Here are the names of the columns in the data files, and an explanation of each one:

Column Name Explanation
userAll rows that have the same user number came from the same submission, and so represent sequences of interaction events that were probably (but not definitely) executed by the same user. These user numbers have no meaning or correlation to anything outside of the aggregated data file in which they appear. Their order has been randomized, so the numbers do not correspond to the order in which submissions were received.
osUser's operating system. This is in full string format; example values are "WINNT Windows NT 5.1" or "Darwin Intel Mac OS X 10.6".
fx_versionString giving user's Firefox version, e.g. "3.5", "3.6", "3.7a2pre".
ui_methodShows whether this menu interaction was done via the mouse or by a keyboard shortcut: 0 = mouse; 1 = keyboard shortcut. (Windows alt-key-based menu navigation was treated as a mouse-based interaction.)
start_menu_idA menu ID code (see table below) identifying the menu where the user began the menu interaction. Because a user can click on one menu and then move to a different menu before picking an item, the start_menu_id may be different from the menu that was actually chosen.
explore_msThe amount of time, in milliseconds, between when the user first clicked on the menu bar and when they finally selected an item (or gave up and closed the menu without picking anything). Only applies to mouse events; for keyboard shortcut events, it is always 0.
explore_numThe number of menus that the user opened between the first click and finally selecting an item. Only applies to mouse events; for keyboard shortcuts, it's always 0.
menu_idA menu ID code (see table below) identifying the menu that the user actually chose an item from.
item_idAn item ID code (see table below) identifying the specific menu item that the user chose.
timestampA timestamp (milliseconds since epoch) giving the time at which the menu item was chosen, or when the user closed the menu without picking anything.

Filtered Extensions

The following extensions are known to cause major changes to the behavior of Firefox menus. Data submissions from users who had one of these extensions installed have been filtered out of the data sets provided on this page, to ensure that the data sets are as representative as possible of default Firefox behavior:
  • TinyMenu
  • Menu Editor
  • Compact Menu
  • More Tools Menu
  • Extended Copy Menu
  • Personal Menu

Menu ID and Item ID codes

The table below shows each of the menu ID codes. These codes are used in the start_menu_id and menu_id columns of the data files.

Menu IDMenu NameComments
-3UnknownFor some reason, the menu chosen was unidentifable.
-1AbortedNo menu was chosen (e.g. user closed the menu without picking any item - only for mouse interactions).
0File
1Edit
2View
3History
4Bookmarks
5Tools
6Windows(Mac only)
7Help

The table below defines each of the item ID codes. These codes are used in the item_id column of the data files. Note that in some cases, multiple items all have the same ID code - for instance, every user has a different list of bookmarks in their Bookmarks menu (and we wouldn't want to record their names anyway, since we consider what bookmarks a user visits to be private information). So we have a single ID code which is used for all user-specific bookmark menu items; therefore, any time the user picked any bookmark, it will show up as this code.

Also note that due to some known bugs in the study code, there were a few menu items whose use we were unable to detect. These items are listed along with their codes in the table below, but they do not show up at all in the data files since we could not detect them. There are also some items which we could detect when the user picked them with the mouse, but we could not detect when activated by a keyboard shortcut. These items are marked as such in the table below. They will show up in the data files only as mouse events; the number of times they were used as keyboard shortcuts is unknown.

Item IDMenu Item NameComments
-3UnknownThe user picked a menu item that we could not recognize. It may have been an item added to the Firefox menus by another extension.
-1AbortedThe user closed the menu without picking any item. (This only happens with mouse interactions, obviously). On Mac only, there is a known bug that makes some events incorrectly show up as Aborted, in which case the correct item ID will appear on the next line after that one.
0New Window
1New Tab
2Open Location
3Open File
4Close Window
5Close Tab
6Save Page As
7Send Link
8Page Setup
9Print PreviewWindows Only
10Print
11Import
12Work Offline
13Exit(AKA "Quit Firefox" on Mac)
14UndoCan't detect keyboard shortcut
15RedoCan't detect keyboard shortcut
16CutCan't detect keyboard shortcut
17PasteCan't detect keyboard shortcut
18CopyCan't detect keyboard shortcut
19DeleteCan't detect keyboard shortcut
20Select AllCan't detect keyboard shortcut
21Find
22Find Again
23Special CharactersCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard). Mac Only.
24Toolbars
25Toolbars/Customize
26Status Bar
27Sidebar/BookmarksCan't detect keyboard shortcut
28Sidebar/HistoryCan't detect keyboard shortcut
29StopCan't detect keyboard shortcut
30Reload
31Zoom In
32Zoom Out
33Zoom/Reset
34Zoom Text Only
35Page Style/No Style
36Page Style/Basic Page Style
37Character Encoding/Autodetect/*All items in this submenu are lumped together into this code.
38Character Encoding/More Encodings/*All items in this submenu are lumped together into this code.
39Character Encoding/Customize ListCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard)
40Character Encoding/Western
41Character Encoding/UTF-16
42View Source
43Full Screen
44Back
45Forward
46Home
47Show All HistoryCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard)
48(User History Item)All user-specific items in History menu are lumped together into this code.
49Recently Closed TabAll recently-closed tab items are lumped together into this code.
50Restore All Tabs
51Recently Closed WindowAll recently-closed window items are lumped together into this code.
52Restore All Windows
53Bookmark This Page
54Subscribe to This Page
55Bookmark All Tabs
56Organize BookmarksCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard)
57(User Bookmark Item)All user-specific items in bookmark menu are lumped together into this code.
58Web Search
59Downloads
60Add-Ons
61Error ConsoleCan't detect keyboard shortcut
62Page Info
63Private Browsing
64Clear Recent History
65Options(AKA "Preferences", in the application menu, on Mac)
66MinimizeCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard). Mac only
67ZoomCan't detect at all (mouse or keyboard). Mac only
68(User Window)Mac only. All user-specific items in the Windows menu are lumped together into this code.
69Firefox Help
70For Internet Explorer UsersWindows Only
71Troubleshooting Information
72Release Notes
73Report Broken Web Site
74Report Web Forgery
75Check for Updates
76About Mozilla Firefox


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