[ux] How we work on usability and design at GP

Nathan of Guardian nathan at guardianproject.info
Wed Jun 1 18:18:51 UTC 2016

During the UX team meeting, it came up that we should find ways to more
fully involve UX work in Tor efforts from the beginning and not as an
afterthought. I mentioned that over the years at Guardian Project, we
have learned this lesson through good and bad experiences, and have been
fortunate to be able to afford to pay smart, talented people to work on
this with us. 

One example is with our work on the F-Droid project in creating the "app
swap" device to device app sharing feature. I think our process isn't
that unique overall, but it might be helpful to see some of the steps we
take, and the tools we use to do the work. 

As often it goes, we start with user stories based on mix of inputs
including actual reports from people in need, quantative data tracking
"things people seem to be doing with their smartphones", and cohesive
creative ideas that make sense within our own roadmap and capabilities:

which leads into a design, discussion thread that interleaves text and
mockups, with practical feedback on the possible:

Threat modeling is often done here, to ensure new features don't expose
users to an unacceptable level of risk, but I can't track down any
public product we have of that for this effort. Trust me, they exist,
and we do them! Here is some technical info on the wiki along these

Then from this, out of this come various products produced by design

Interactive mobile app screenflow:

Nearby Design Patterns Guide (PDF):

Technical ideas for specific feature implementations:

and finally, the actualization of concepts into code and minimally
viable solutions:

Work in Progress documentation:

YouTube demo videos of successfully implemented features for review and

Code, issues, commits, patches, code review, continuous integration,

If we can manage, we try to do user focus group testing at various
conferences and workshops, and document the outcomes as publicly as
possible for others to learn from:

At some point, once we have done enough internal testing and auditing,
as well as at certain milestones external audits, we can merge these new
features into the main app, and ship it!

Hope this helps, and would love to hear from everyone about steps we
might have missed, or other tools, techniques, and processes we or the
Tor community might utilize.


  Nathan of Guardian
  nathan at guardianproject.info

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