Mozilla’s vision for the evolution of the Web
Note: this is a brief summary of the full document
The Web is the most important communication system in the world today and is an essential part of the daily lives of many. The Web gets many things right — hence its wild success — but is nonetheless imperfect. Our objective is to preserve what is good about the Web while improving what is less good and fixing what is actively harmful.
Our vision starts with three basic values for the Web, rooted in the Mozilla Manifesto:
- Openness: Everyone can access the Web, and use it to reach others.
- Agency: Once individuals reach the Web, they are empowered to accomplish their goals effectively and on their own terms.
- Safety: The experience of using the Web must not put individuals in danger.
Applying these values to the Web as it is today reveals a number of things we can do to make it better:
- Protect user privacy: Essentially all user behavior on the Web is subject to tracking and surveillance. A truly open and safe Web requires that what people do remains private; this requires gradually shifting the ecosystem towards a new equilibrium without breaking the Web in the process.
- Protect users from malicious code: Users must be able to browse without fear that their devices will be compromised, and yet every Web browser routinely has major security vulnerabilities. The technologies finally exist to significantly reduce this kind of security issue; we are increasing our use of them in Firefox and look forward to others doing the same.
- Encrypt everything: All user communications should be encrypted. We are near the end of a long process to secure all HTTP traffic, and encryption needs to be retrofitted into existing legacy protocols such as DNS and built into all new protocols by default.
- Extend the Web... Safely: New capabilities make the Web more powerful but also create new risks. The value added by new capabilities needs to be weighed against these risks; some applications may ultimately not be well suited for the Web and that's OK.
- Make the Web fast enough for any use: While Web browsers are much faster now than they were five years ago, we still see major performance issues. Fixing these requires making both browsers and infrastructure faster, and also making it easier and more attractive for people to build fast sites.
- Make it easy for anyone to publish on the Web: While early websites were relatively simple and easy to build, the demands of performance and high production values have made the Web increasingly daunting to work with. Our strategy is to categorize development techniques into increasing tiers of complexity, and then work to eliminate the usability gaps that push people up the ladder towards more complex approaches.
- Give users the power to experience the Web on their own terms: The Web is for users. In order to fulfill that promise we need to ensure that they, not sites, control their experience, whether that means blocking ads or viewing content in accessible form. This requires building a browser that displays the Web the way the user wants it — rather than just following instructions from the site — as well as strengthening the technical properties of Web standards that enable this kind of reinterpretation.
Provide a first-class experience for non-English-speakers: The technical architecture and content ecosystem of the Web both work best for North-American English speakers, who are a fraction of the world. We want the Web to work well for everyone regardless of where they live and what languages they speak.
Improve accessibility for people with disabilities: As Web experiences have grown richer, they've also become more difficult to use with assistive technology like screen readers. We want to reverse this trend.
Powerful economic and technological forces have combined to make the Web the way it is today and some of these problems won't be easy to fix. Parts of the road ahead are clear and others – especially how to address monetization and centralization – are much murkier, but we see ample opportunity to work together as a community to make a Web that is truly open and accessible to all.