[tor-dev] Tor Launcher settings UI feedback request

Mike Perry mikeperry at torproject.org
Fri May 3 20:58:23 UTC 2013

Thus spake Tom Ritter (tom at ritter.vg):

> Sweet!  However I think this Wizard is a super-technical version of
> something that should be much simpler if we intend to be targeting
> non-technical users.
> Feedback:
> http://trial.pearlcrescent.com/tor/torlauncher/2013-05-03/SetupWizard/screen1-proxyYesNo.png
> Question 1 (this is literally the first thing a user will see when
> launching, right?) is a super-technical question.  How is a user
> supposed to know if they're using a proxy?  If we're targeting users
> who barely know what a browser is, I don't think these instructions
> are good enough.  But any instructions would be wrong IMO.  Surely
> there's some way to query this information from the system, no?  On
> linux, looking at environment variables; on Windows there are system
> functions.

This is made more difficult by the fact that a proxy+Tor (or even
proxy+bridge) sometimes works in places that censor Tor.

In those situations (which are the real reason we're asking *before*
connecting - we don't want those people to touch the public Tor network
before giving them the option not to), simply checking their system
proxy settings might not be sufficient. The user only needs their proxy
to make Tor work.

I'm not sure how common this still is anymore. DPI gear may have all
advanced enough by now to automatically unwrap the proxy header?

> http://trial.pearlcrescent.com/tor/torlauncher/2013-05-03/SetupWizard/screen3-firewallYesNo.png
> What percentage of users are a) affected by this question and b)
> understand it?  I suspect it's very, very low, and therefore not worth
> dedicating a screen to.  Every additional screen is a monumental
> amount of pain for a non-technical user to read, try to think through,
> and then ultimately guess at hoping they get something right.  If
> something, anything, doesn't work - they will think back through all
> the screens they guessed at, and give up figuring it's way too hard to
> figure out.

This is a good point. I see no harm in dropping this question on
first-run until bootstrap fails, or otherwise get it out of the
way or make it an optional step somehow...

> http://trial.pearlcrescent.com/tor/torlauncher/2013-05-03/SetupWizard/screen5-bridges.png
> I don't think this represents sufficiently that this is *Optional*.
> That (most) users will not need to fill this in.

That's true. We should indicate to users that if they are not censored,
they can click Connect.

Perhaps like Naif said, we can simply ask them that at the beginning
somehow, too. Might clutter things, though.. I'd rather first try to
think harder about which wizard panes are truly optional for a
first-run, like you have done.

> So I think the best course of action would be to try and handle
> everything except to bridge screen automatically, with perhaps some
> [Advanced] button in the bottom left that these settings are hidden
> behind.  Get the proxy settings automagically, and try some port
> probing.

I'm inclined to agree (I was hesitant to split up the initial dialog
into a full 3 pane wizard if we could find a way to avoid it), but we
need to get someone who is studying censorship systems or aware of the
situation on the ground to chime in here and tell us that the Proxy+Tor
or Proxy+Bridge approach is becoming significantly less effective at
evading censorship systems these days.

Mike Perry
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