[tor-project] A little bit about tor browser user path + user feedback on it!
isabela at torproject.org
Thu Nov 16 14:44:51 UTC 2017
USABLE project from Internews collected some feedback [attached a
summary of it] from a group of 10 East African digital security trainers
that they met earlier this year. They will be doing more of these and we
hope to coordinate with them as well, giving feedback on their process,
getting their help to test improvements we will be working on and so on.
I decided to take this opportunity to talk about the user path for tor
browser :) I would like to start to use the areas of this path when
describing user actions so we can think by those different moments of
the user experience. For instance, this feedback Internews collected is
more focus on the 'acquisition' part of this path.
So what are these moments for Tor Browser? Before Montreal I was working
with TB team, helping them prep stuff for their roadmap session. I asked
them to organize tickets by 'awareness','acquisition' and 'retention'.
These are very common phases that you can identify on any product. But
for Tor Browser, this is how I think of them:
Is the moment someone hear, read, learn about Tor. That can be at a
talk, training, social media or through a friend. So our presence on
social media, our support to trainers, our outreach efforts, all goes
The common next step for someone here is to either search for Tor to
find our site or try to go directly to our site. Or in some cases search
for Tor on app stores.
So our work on what information is displayed at search results, our work
on our app store pages and most important, our work for solutions when
these common paths are censored, like Get Tor, is very important.
Here is an example of improvement focus on the above, we changed the
copy of the search results to give a tip to the user in case they can't
open our site .
Looking at data early this year (specially from our play store analytics
page  we are not doing bad here, most people who comes to the store
downloads the app. And looking at the steady number of downloads of the
desktop browser  is not that bad either. Of course we need to improve
a lot, our sites are not localized and are terrible. But in general we
are doing better here than in other areas of the user path.
If this was a social media app, acquisition is the 'sign up flow' the
user goes through. For Tor, the way I think of it is that acquisition
are all the steps the user goes from being able to download the browser
and install it, then being able to launch and connect to the Tor
network. Once the user has the browser open and can browse the internet,
they are done with their acquisition path.
You will see at the Internews feedback pdf, the tasks they asked the
user to perform are around this area.
Even though this feedback is not a big surprise for us, it does help us
build a baseline to support our reasons to change things :) and of
course, with this baseline we can later on, validate if our changes
actually helped user. If their perspectives related to the experience
For instance, problems related to tasks #3 and #6 of the attached pdf
are things we are working on or has already on our roadmap. With this
baseline, we can test our changes and compare if we have improved from
BTW - we assume we are loosing a lot of people here by looking at
download numbers of clients and actual connections at the network. that
said, this are assumptions, we can't prove anything :P
This is one of the most important and hard parts of the user experience.
For one we have no idea who we are retaining today, because we don't
track that. We don't know if the 2M connections on the network today are
users and if they are, we have no idea if they are the same ones that
were there yesterday, or the day before and so on.
This part of the path starts with the about:tor page and is everything
else that is related to enable the user to understand what is going on
and have control to customize their experience so they can have the
results they are looking for.
The more frustration the user has on any of the above, related to things
not working or not knowing how to use things or not understanding what
is going. Is a good enough reason for them to close the browser and
maybe not open it again.
That is a lot of work to be done here, and we do have items on TB team,
Network team and UX team roadmaps related to it. And face to face user
testing will help us validate if what we are doing is indeed helpful for
Tor doesn't do this. Like, the moment a user gets frustrated with TB and
closes it, we can't contact that user, send them an email saying 'hey we
got a new feature, give us another chance' which is what resurrection
means hehe getting someone who left your product to come back.
But we should be pro-active in telling the world about our improvements.
Specially visible changes improvements. That is our moment to reach
people who have tried Tor and gave up, to give it another chance.
I have been talking about this with the comms team and with their help
we will start doing more of this type of work.
This is just a little summary of how we are organizing our thoughts and
tasks related to helping the user.
Is a work in progress too :) we are always talking and reflecting about
these things. I wanted to share these thoughts with a broader audience,
I have done it before but have been a while, so I thought of doing it again.
Thanks for those who read so far!
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: APPENDIX_example_observer-tor-browser (1).pdf
Size: 581827 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the tor-project