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

Sukhbir Singh azadi at riseup.net
Wed Nov 4 18:18:49 UTC 2015

Hi Greg,

> 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.
> ///////

Thanks for the feedback. We know we can do a lot better with the UI/UX, so any
feedback is appreciated.

> 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)

This is a concern and the Tor Browser team is in the process of getting the
certificate to sign Tor Browser. Once they have that, we will coordinate with
them to sign Tor Messenger releases. We are tracking this in #6540 and #17452.


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

That's unexpected. Did you only experience this the first time you ran Tor
Messenger or on subsequent runs also?

> 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
> protocol.

We currently do not support DMs (Instantbird doesn't) and that is one of the
(top) things in our to-do list.

> 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.

The protocol list was more of an arbitrary decision, so the first screen lists
the top four protocols we think most users would care about, and then follow
up with two more (Twitter and Odnoklassniki). Thinking about it now, I think
it's a good idea to display only one screen since we are doing the same thing.
I have reopened #13323 to discuss this.


> 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".

Yes, this has been pointed to us. We will work on the UI to add hints in cases
where the terminology may not seen apparent.

> 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)

We discussed this and it was recommended that we should probably disable
Twitter until we can support DMs. (Because once we do support DMs, we support
OTR over DMs, which will be a nice thing to have.) Let's see, it's up for
discussion on how we can make the Twitter experience a bit more pleasant.



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