[Tails-dev] results for usability tests of first-time use (#…

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Author: sajolida
To: The Tails public development discussion list
Subject: [Tails-dev] results for usability tests of first-time use (#18074)

Last week I did usability tests of downloading, installing, and starting
Tails with 5 people. I recruited them through friends of friends in
activist circles. None of them had heard about Tails before.

I handed them a Tails leaflet (in Spanish) and asked them to go ahead
and use it. They all installed and started on a MacBook Pro that I provided.

Unfortunately, VLC didn't record any audio for some mysterious reason so
I can't share any video clips with you.

We hadn't tested this entire flow since 2015 and so many things happened
since then.

You can see the detailed findings and the 19 issues that I created from
in this rainbow table:



- Download and install

3 of them had a pretty good installation experience of 10-20 minutes
(download excluded).

Tons of kudos to the USB images that made this process so much easier!

2 of them went a very bad route and took more than 1 hour to install
despite me rescuing them. The good news is that I think we could help
these people with only changes to the website.

- Verifying

Only 1 of them verified her download! She was the one who followed the
instructions most diligently. All the other participants didn't verify
for various reasons.

Most surprisingly, some people didn't verify because they didn't
understood that they had to select their download from the "Verify..."
button in the download instructions. One of them even ended up in the
design doc linked from the toggle section in search for verification
instructions :)

To solve this, I'll explain better the verification (#18776) and add
it as a step in the overview (#18774).

- Install

The 2 people who took more than 1 hour to install were the kind of
people who only follow instructions when in trouble -- and sometimes
not even that :) For example:

* They tried to open the USB image from the browser or macOS.

    I'll document this error message. (#18777)

    We could also distribute our images in ZIP files with help. (#18057)

  * They tried to copy the USB image on the USB stick because they
    didn't think that there were other installation steps.

    I'll clarify this in the steps in the overview. (#18774)

    Merging the overview, download, and steps will also help. (#16808)

  * Once they had the image on the USB stick, Etcher didn't let them
    install Tails on the same USB stick.

    Etcher should clarify their error message. (#18783)

Persistent Storage

Then I asked them to download a picture from the Internet and save it to
their Tails in a way that protects it if their USB stick is stolen.

Only 3 participants had some time left. They all failed miserably.

- The reference to the Persistent Storage on the leaflet didn't stick in
their mind, and wasn't even clear when I told them that there was a
clue in the leaflet. Until #15586, people won't find out about the
Persistent Storage without external help.

The Spanish translation said "volume", which didn't help. (#18767)

- 2 of these 3 participants had a very hard time even download an image
from the Tor Browser. They tried drag-and-drop, didn't find "Save Page
As..." in the hamburger menu, didn't use the contextual menu (being on
Mac probably didn't help), etc.

- I'm not even mentioning the nightmare of saving to a folder permitted
by Tor Browser. The low-hanging fruit for that is #15768, already in
the shortlist of our UX debt.

- Other than that, the new Persistent Storage interface worked fine!

It was far from being stress-tested but I don't think it's worth it to
test it more until we have more improvements of the blueprint


We only found a serious bug in the shortcut to the Persistent folder.

Tails — https://tails.boum.org/
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