[guardian-dev] Improving the UI/UX of ChatSecure

Liron Tocker lirontocker at gmail.com
Mon Jan 6 16:02:16 EST 2014

Thanks for the warm welcome and for introducing me to some of the issues you guys are currently working on.

I’ve only been using ChatSecure for about a week so I’ve got some catching up to do, but perhaps my perspective as a new user might be valuable as well. 

A few thoughts off the top of my head:

Telegram are essentially following the same basic design patterns that most modern instant messaging systems use. The decision if ChatSecure should do the same boils down to the goal of the project and what it’s ultimately trying to accomplish. As far as I see it, If we want to introduce new users to encrypted messaging it’d be a good idea to create an interface with a minimal learning curve - which means: A) adhering to the UX a user would expect from an instant messenger and B) introducing unfamiliar interactions (such as verifying an OTR session) in a way which users can easily learn and keep in mind (sorry for this being totally vague, I can’t be more concrete before hacking at wireframes for a while).

I’d say that both iOS and Android should have a very similar user experience (each adhering to the interface guidelines of their respective platform), unless it’s not technically feasible. It is the same product on both platforms, but of course there’s always the possibility of taking advantage of the unique hardware/software of a specific platform in order to do something cool. At first, though, I’d concentrate on getting a consistent and user-friendly interface running on both.

I think what I’d like to do would be to talk one-on-one with the iOS and Android devs to get a better understanding of what thoughts and ideas they have regarding the interface - I’d also like to hear your thoughts regarding the reasoning of some of the design decisions you’ve made. I’d then go ahead and start working on some paper sketches so I can form some more concrete ideas regarding specific improvement of user flows and layouts. I’d make sure to send you guys frequent updates - I’m a fan of releasing early and often :)

If you guys are okay with group voice chats, that’d be a great way for me to get feedback as well.

Greetings from Hamburg,



On 06 Jan 2014, at 20:39, Nathan of Guardian <nathan at guardianproject.info> wrote:

> On 01/06/2014 02:13 PM, Liron Tocker wrote:
>> I’ll cut the rambling - thanks for reading this far. Please let me know
>> if you guys think that this kind of work would be useful for you, and if
>> it is - we can figure out how to get the ball rolling.
> Yes, absolutely, and it seems you would be a great fit to get that ball
> going! We currently have three developers working on ChatSecure Android
> and two working on iOS. Most of us are on this list.
> Here are a few question / areas to begin with:
> 1) Should we follow Telegram.org path and essentially just clone the
> WhatsApp / Line / WeChat user experience? How closely should the Android
> and iOS experience match? Again do existing popular messaging apps
> provide a guide here?
> 2) We have been working recently on indicating encryption/security state
> using more subtle color bar indicators, but how can we make the
> security/privacy aspects of using the app more existing and compelling
> (both visually and experientially)? Verification of OTR session is
> critical, but most people don't do it still... how do we change that?
> 3) While I personally love our swipe-based interface for moving between
> open chats, I know some do not. I feel it provides a rapid mechanism for
> moving between multiple active conversations, and provides a bit of
> unique flair, beyond the typical contact list / conversation type flow.
> 4) How do we simplify the setup process so that people can get connected
> to their existing identities/accounts (google, facebook, jabber.ccc.de)
> or create an entirely new one in a streamlined friendly manner?
> Thanks and excited to have your help.
> +n
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