[tor-dev] A quick and dirty UX evaluation of Tor Messenger

Greg Norcie gnorcie at cdt.org
Tue Nov 3 18:38:02 UTC 2015

Hi all,

First of all, great work on Tor Messenger - it's awesome to see Tor pushing
to be more accessible to non-technical folks.

I decided to take some notes when installing + using for the first time,
hopefully this will be helpful.

While there are some minor issues, I'd like to stress that this is a great
first step and considering this is the first general public release it's a
very good design.

I'm on an OSX machine, so the first thing I see after clicking on the icon
is a message that Tor can't be opened because it's from an unidentified
developer. This would raise an eyebrow at least for most users. (And
lessens the effectiveness of the warning if we are going to train users to
ignore it)

I right click and select "open" and there is a longish pause (>10s) which
could frustrate new users, then the wizard appears.

I don't chat often - I usually text my friends, and I don't want to use FB
chat since it's tied to my real name. I remember that Twitter now has no DM
limit. But it's not on the main list. I don't have any data to support this
intuition, but I suspect that after XMPP, Twitter would be a popular

I click once on "show all protocols" and click continue. There's only a few
additional, Twitter being one of them. Not sure why this list wasn't
present from the beginning.

I get options for a local alias and "tracked keywords". I have no clue what
the latter is, but it sounds like the concept of a taboo in Harry Potter,
so for a laugh I put in "Voldermort".

Now I'm authorizing Instabird. Fairly straightforward.

Now I'm receiving a texted 2f code from twitter and entering it.

Now I'm in, and I can see my Twitter timeline, which is interesting. I was
expecting just a buddy list to send DMs, not timeline access. I post a
tweet to my timeline, then want to send my boss a test DM. But I follow
>1500 people, and have to scroll a lot to find him.

I locate his name and double click, but nothing happens.

At this point, I suspect a less security minded user might abandon the app.
(I end up digging around a bit to find the functionality I need)

[1] ("Your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the
Mac App Store and identified developers.")


*Greg Norcie (norcie at cdt.org <norcie at cdt.org>)*

*Staff Technologist*
*Center for Democracy & Technology*
1634 Eye St NW Suite 1100
Washington DC 20006
(p) 202-637-9800
PGP: http://norcie.com/pgp.txt


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