Re: [Tails-ux] [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the termino…

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Author: sajolida
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Old-Topics: Re: [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminology around "persistence"
New-Topics: Re: [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminologyaround "persistence"
Subject: Re: [Tails-ux] [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminology around "persistence"
To understand better the context of this discussion, see the archive of
this tread on:

I'm putting tails-ux in copy again once but please answer on

> 3. Finish the usability testing on the new explanation of Tails.
>    This should happen in 2019Q1 but might depend on the milestones
>    agreed with Sponsor 1 (still in the pipe).

On January 11 and 18 I did some usability tests of the wording
"Persistence". I interviewed 7 people. People were Spanish and Catalan
native speakers that I recruited through friends-of-friends and who
didn't know what Tails was before the tests.

I asked them to read the following text (or slightly modified version of
it) as part of a more comprehensive explanation of Tails:

                *   *

Encrypted Persistence

You can save some of your files and configuration in an encrypted
Persistent Storage on the USB stick: your documents, your browser
bookmarks, your emails, and even some additional software.

The Persistent Storage is optional and you always decide what is
persistent. Everything else is amnesic.

                *   *

For them the terms "Persistence" or "Encrypted Persistence" were really
not self-explanatory. Most people got it after reading the description
of what it does. So basically, it could be named "Foo" or anything else
and work as good :) I'm exaggerating a bit but not that much:

- The root word "persistent" also meant other things for people, like
the fact of trying over and over again, being very strong, etc.

- Writing it "Persistence" felt to some people that it was the name of a
tool, application or algorithm; in other words an agent, while it's
actually an object or a place.

Here are some notes I took from the people I interviewed:

For P1, they could read the title and the description at once.
For P4, P5, and P7, I only showed them the title and asked them to guess
what it was about.

P1: - "I don't understand this concept of "persistent encryption" (in
    - (after reading the description) "You can save some of your stuff
      in a 'storage' (in English) or something like that"
    - Me: "So what does "Persistencia" mean to you?"
    - "I don't know." (even after he said that it's a kind of 'storage')

P2: - (after reading the description) "I'm not sure what this means: is
      it a program? an online server? or saving stuff to the USB?"
    - (I already clarified in the text that it's on the USB stick)

P3: - (after reading the description) "This is not clear to me."
    - "Persistence: I understand that it's a tool"
    - (When prompted, understand the relationship between Amnesia and

P4: - (computer scientist, only shown the title) "Everything you do will
      be saved encrypted"
    - "Persistence sounds to me like trying to encrypt over and over

P5: - (only shown the title) "You need some kind of key to be able to
       use Tor and everything else"
     - "'Persistence' is something that stays, a data that sticks with
     - (shown the description) "It's an algorithm for encryption with
       which you can save some of your stuff"

P7: - (only shown the title) At first, thinks that everything is
     - "'Persistence' means 'during a lot of time' or 'very strong'"
     - Thinks that you can decide to encrypt the whole USB stick or not
     - "Sounds like a system of very strong passwords to make it even
       stronger to open your Tails"
     - "I would call it 'top security encryption'"
     - (shown 'Encrypted Persistent Storage' instead) "'storage' are
       things that you save. It's like a suitcase that stays forever"

It felt to me that "Persistence" was missing a complementary word that
made it clear that it was an object. Though it's a bit longer and wordy.

Since P1 called it 'storage' spontaneously and since 'Persistent
Storage' made immediate sense to P7, I'm now proposing to use
"Persistent Storage" instead.

I tried to rewrite our examples with "Persistent Storage" and it was
pretty easy to do. See:

For the record, it's also how we called it back in 2012 when we first
wrote about it (1513e71cc4) before switching to "persistent volume" for
English correctness (da75d22109). Our argument back then was that
writing "a persistent storage" was incorrect as a noun.

I checked this with Cody, the native English speaker in our Technical
Writing team, and it also seemed the best option for him. The words
themselves are descriptive while at the same time the capitalization
suggests Persistent Storage is a feature and not just descriptive words.

Based on muri's feedback, I understand that using "Persistent Storage"
will also make it easier for German translators by adding a
complementary word that makes it clear that it's an object:

We also considered "Persistent Memory", "Persistent Volume", "Persistent
Drive", "Persistent Vault", and "Persistent Locker" but both Cody and I
preferred "Persistent Storage".

So yeah, I feel a bit silly to be back to square one after 8 years but
back then we had no native English speaker in the team nor good
user-centered practices.

Any objection?

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