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

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Author: alienpup
To: sajolida, Public mailing list about the Tails project
Old-Topics: Re: [Tails-ux] [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminology around "persistence"
New-Topics: Re: [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminology around "persistence"
Subject: Re: [Tails-project] #8948: Reconsider the terminologyaround "persistence"
sajolida wrote:
> 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
> tails-project@???.
> sajolida:
> > 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
>       Spanish)
>     - (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
>       Persistence)

> 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
>       again"

> 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
>        time
>      - (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
>        encrypted
>      - "'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:
> "Persistenzspeicher".
> 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?
> --
> sajolida


As an english speaker, "Persistent Storage" sounds like a good candidate.

However I remain concerned that no one has brought up the fact that, "Persistent Storage" is limited to specific folders - folders that are not the default storage place for *any* Tails application. For example, Tor Browser defaults saving everything to the "Tor Browser" folder. Everything saved while using TB and *not* moved by the user to the "Tor Browser" or "Persistent/Tor Browser" folder, is lost at shutdown/reboot.

Both the Tails Greeter and the "Persistence Wizard - Persistent volume creation" dialog fail to inform the user on this point. Both accept a user password, but say nothing about where files/data *must be placed* in order be persistent.

The concept of persistence is really more complex that our discussion has made it. "Persistent Storage" is indeed a Tails feature, but it:

- is available only to data stored in one of two user visible two folders

- is dependent on the user manually moving data to these folders.

So perhaps we should be thinking in terms of a user option that creates "persistent folders". This is in fact what users experiences, as the "Persistent" and "Tor Browser (persistent) folders do not appear until Tails persistence is configured.