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

Nathan of Guardian nathan at guardianproject.info
Wed Jan 8 10:06:43 EST 2014

On 01/06/2014 04:02 PM, Liron Tocker wrote:
> 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. 
Yes, for sure. It is difficult to clear your head and see with new eyes,
when you are thick in the fog of code.
> 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).
Do you think there is a difference between a Mobile Messaging app
("texting") and an Instant Messaging app ("chat")? When we began work on
Gibberbot/ChatSecure, they were quite different things. Until recenlty,
Google had two apps Messaging and Hangouts/Talk, now those have merged.

I think there is a subtle difference between "I want to send a one off
text message" vs "i want to start a chat with someone I know is online".

Also, another point to consider is that we expose the
online/offline/away status of users, while many of these new-style
messaging apps completely hide presence as an aspect. Sometimes, I feel
like we should completely hide it as well... just focus on whether the
message was delivered or not, and don't display any other on/offline
connection or presence information. However, then I get back to the core
question - is "chat" different than "messaging"?

We also have the issue of having multiple accounts and identities, which
is an important one. Most of the messaging apps out there only allow one
identity, tied to your phone number or some other public identity. A key
differentiator of ChatSecure is the ability to have multiple identities
that you can easily switch between.

> 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 :)
There are some nice online design sites where you can build interactive
mobile wireframes. Proto.io ( http://proto.io/) for example. We are also
happy with pictures of paper drawings.

As for design decisions, I think we have already started down that road,
but I can also share some of the directions we want to go. In short, I
do want to move towards a more people and message centric system, where
we do a better job hiding all of the plumbing of accounts, buddy lists,
etc, and just focus on connecting to another person in a secure manner.

We also have some exciting stuffing coming down the road in terms of
data sharing... moving beyond just photo and voice messaging, and
supporting more social apps features... so again, the tasks become "I
want to securely share a set of photos with these friends" instead of "i
want to chat with this person and attach a photo".

> If you guys are okay with group voice chats, that’d be a great way for me to get feedback as well.
We use Google Hangouts for that mostly, at least for non-sensitive,
public discussions. We can also use our Ostel.co service with Jitsi to
do an encrypted conference call. Either way... maybe next week?

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