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[tor-talk] Why Johnny Can't Blow the Whistle

Hi all,

A couple summers ago, I published a usability evaluation of the TBB at hotpets, where myself and my coauthors IDed several usability issues in the TBB:


Afterwards, several changes to the TBB were made (for example, changing the Firefox icon to a custom icon).

I recently published a follow up to the HOTPets paper at USEC where we redid the usability experiment to verify that the changes that had been made to the TBB after our initial publication actually did increase usability:


We also explored the idea of a pop up informing users that delay was happening, and that is normal. We saw a decrease in complaints about browser delay in the second study, but it wasn't statistically significant. We think the fact that users found the number of pop ups excessive may explain why this issue didn't decrease as much as we'd hoped. We'd like to look at this in more detail in the future... we strongly think that reframing expectations will make users less frustrated with Tor's speed.

While our pop up ideas didn't work out as planned, we're still happy that we can now point to empirical data that shows our suggested changes do increase usability.

I've also uploaded the slides from USEC, which have some graphs not present in the paper due to space issues that help visualize some of the data. All the data is in the paper, but it's presented a little nicer here: http://www.slideshare.net/gregnorc/why-johnny-cant-blow-the-whistle
Greg Norcie
PhD Student, Security Informatics
Indiana University
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