[tor-project] Tor Browser Vision Brainstorm

isabela isabela at torproject.org
Mon Feb 11 13:53:48 UTC 2019

Hi there,

I really liked the discussion last Friday, thanks for organizing it! I
wanted to share some thoughts I have in relationship to being User First
or not.

It got me by surprise that folks did not thought we are already User
First. I think by the time we are investing so much on learning about
our users and applying improvements that focus on making their
experience better we are being User First.

Getting a full dedicated team (UX) just to support this development
process, all the 8.0 work and getting ourselves to mobile to reach more
users are things we are doing because we are prioritizing our user.

At the discussion I saw folks had questions regarding the direction we
should be thinking, becoming a full browser or keeping doing what we are
doing. And to do what we are doing might not include things that are on
Arthur's doc. Also, how we deal with other browsers trying to provide a
private experience with Tor network, like we do.

This is how I see it. First, I don't think we (the Tor Project) are in
the business of competing in the Browser market. We are in the business
of providing anonymity and privacy technologies, and that is what we are

We should own this, use our Tor Browser to show how the experience can
be for all different types of use cases with anonymity and privacy as
the main drivers for this experience.

I know there has been (and will always be) discussions on how we should
build a feature, stuff like what settings should be pre-configured or
not. And that is normal, we are building experience for a diverse user
base. Some people will need all security features we can provide, and
some will want a subset of it. At the end of the day, our mission should
be to provide users choices for customizing their experience. Retention
comes from one being able to control their experience.

We should allow this control to our users. And of course, should make
sure we are providing education for them to make such decisions.

What is on Arthur's doc does not make us less or more user first. It's
part of an organic process we are going through as we invest more and
more on our users.  So, this got me thinking, the question here is not
should we be 'user first' or not. We are already. The question here is:
what are the principles that will guide us while making the decisions on
our product?

For instance, I think that one of our principles is that if we can
provide a secure way of doing something, that should exist for our user
by default. Be that something like the backend fix for the window
resizing suggestion from Arthur doc, or an 'opted-in' configuration that
allows our user to save their browser history.

So my suggestion here is for us to brainstorm our principles. Review Tor
mission but also think of the TB as a team mission on what y'all are


ps1: regarding how we deal with other browsers adopting tor - we should
do our best to influence them to adopt all our standards for security
and privacy but as well as the experience we are shaping. If we are
successful with that then we will have different problems to think about
:) which should not influence this vision exercise because I don't think
that will happen in the next 2 years or so. which is the timeframe this
exercise is focusing on.

ps2: Arthur's doc:

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