[tor-dev] First-time tails/tor user feedback

warms0x warms0x at riseup.net
Wed Apr 25 06:31:23 UTC 2012

> I spent the past week in Sweden, attending the Stockholm Internet
> Forum, http://www.stockholminternetforum.se/, for part of it. I made a
> number of tails 0.10.2 usb sticks for people on request. I also asked a
> lot of people their impressions of Tor and Tails. I received a plethora
> of feedback. All 8 people are involved in the Internet Freedom policy,
> technology, or freedom of speech communities. They had very different
> levels of self-assessed technical skill. The 8 people represented 6
> countries.

Very interesting user study (of sorts)! If you were to guage each of the
user's level of familiarity with Tor conceptually from 1 (never heard of
it) to 5 (I use Tor often!), where would these 8 people fit?

I'm also curious how much explaining of Tails or Tor conceptually you did
before the users started to interact with the system.

> # Sixth issue: no flash, no warning
> 2 of 8 people had flash apps on their website. 4 of 8 had ad banners
> that used flash. All were surprised at the red outline with a snake in
> it appearing instead of their flash apps. None understood what
> happened.
> After an explanation, one person suggested changing the red outline
> with snake to an actual message written inside, along the lines of
> 'this app blocked for your protection. click here to unblock it.' I
> explained why that wouldn't work (because there is no flash, java,
> silverlight plugins installed) and their answer was 'then do not show
> it at all'. Inside noscript, I unchecked the 'show placeholder..'
> option and had them browse again. they were happy. It seems if the user
> cannot do anything about the blocked apps, not showing them may be
> preferred.

This is a tricky usability minefield in my opinion, it's a really hard
line to navigate between hiding something from a user they probably won't
miss (ads) and hiding something from a user that would confuse the hell
out of them (site flash intro .swf).

All that said, I might have to replicate your experiment and see what I
can come up with :)

- warms0x
xmpp: warms0x at riseup.net
http: http://warms0x.github.com

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