[Freedombox-discuss] Initial User Experience (was: Tor .onion domains)

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Mon May 9 17:49:38 UTC 2011

On 11-05-09 at 05:59pm, Michael Blizek wrote:
> On 15:50 Mon 09 May     , Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > On 11-05-09 at 02:39pm, Michael Blizek wrote:
> ...
> > > Why does the *box* need a name???
> > 
> > To be reachable.  MAC address or IP number is less user unfriendly.
> OK, this explains some things. But I disagree at one point here. The 
> box should not have one name/address. It should have several - one for 
> each identity

We perfectly agree here.

I just only described _initial_ user experience (hence the subject), not 
how to later _extend_ the box with additional personalities. :-)

> - or none if the user wants to be invisible.

If the user wants to be invisible then the user will avoid [c], and 
possibly [b] as well.

[c]: proactively advertise name of the box
[b]: passively reveal name of the box when addressed

This leaves [a] which makes no sense to avoid: you do need to ensure it 
is your own box you connect to tommorow.

[a]: you alone can interact with the box

A user wanting to be invisible, and therefore chose [a] or [b], will 
mostly be supported in that choice.  When the fuzzy proposal mechanism, 
or curious exploration leading to that full page of all services both 
suitable and unsuitable for the chosen personality, cause the user to 
select a service conflicting with prior selected restraints, then those 
restraints are first asked to be explicitly changed.

Visually that could be a big warning dialog.  So perhaps we are in fact 
not very far from each other here...?

> It is not having a domain which is dangerous. But having a dyndns name 
> which links your name with your IP address is. The user may think he 
> is at least somewhat anonymous due to a dynamic IP.

I wrote "name" (not "dns").  A relationship *must* be established 
between the box and you(r laptop or cellphone or whatever).  I propose 
as user expecience for that to baptize the box.

I deliberately avoid the underlying technical details (tying a name to a 
cryptography token) as I want to discuss User Experience here, not 
technical implementation.  Think "WebID" everywhere I write "name" if 
you really really must have a concrete example, but please stick to 
general principles, not specific implementations, in this discussion: 
Some followers on this list are UX designers, that are helped if such 
discussions are uncluttered from noisy details about other aspects.

> I put publication things high on the risk scale, because I think users 
> really should be aware what they are doing when they publish things. 
> In many countries there is no free speech. Even in countries with free 
> speech there are often tons of restrictions. Actually I do not think 
> we should categorise publication into any "risk class" at all. I 
> proposed using it for ressource sharing only.

Ahh, your focus is on anonymity.  Thanks.  Makes more sense now.

In my opinion humans should be aware not only when publishing things, 
but also when having sex.  Or baptizing their FreedomBox (hence my note 
earlier on using creditcard pin code as box name).

Our task is to help non-geeks be in control of their own digital tools. 
But not try prevent them shooting themselves in the foot with it: 
FreedomBox _is_ a powerful device - just as a pencil is, when cleverly 
used.  So I disagree we should avoid offering blogging tools because 
they are dangerous or illegal in some situations.  Ressource sharing is 
dangerous and/or illegal too in some situations.  As are pencils.

> > I see no contradiction.  Makes perfect sense to me to provide the user 
> > with _both_ fuzzy (a.k.a. "complex and confusing") suggestions at an 
> > initial summary page (if we for a moment assume that we are talking 
> > about a web-based user interface) and _also_ provides a link to a page 
> > listing all available services, sorted by some sensible yet static 
> > grouping.
> You could ask the user questions like:
> [ ] I want to stay in contact with friends
> [ ] I want to publish
> [ ] ...

Yes.  Looks quite close to what I proposed.

> and then suggest applications and set up dns *as* *needed*. But please do not
> start with:
> Enter your DNS name:____________________
> ( ) I want everybody in the world to know me
> ( ) I want it public
> ( ) I do not want it public
> ... and then discard(?) the dns when the user says "I do not want it public".

I did not propose to first setup dns and then tear it down again.


 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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