SecureDrop usability interviews and sessions at IFF


@ei8fdb from Open Source Design suggested that sessions are organized while at IFF to practice SecureDrop with a scenario that would help find useability issues.

I’ll be there and can bring with me the necessary hardware to do so, i.e. one laptop and four USB keys (SVS, admin, journalist, transfert). I will run the source and journalist interface from the staging environment of my own laptop so I can debug and reset as necessary. I will also write a checklist derived from the existing documentation to not forget anything.

As for the scenario we should follow, where and how to take notes… I have no experience at all :slight_smile:


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Hi Loic!

It’s great you’ve posted this. I’ll be at IFF from Tuesday morning til Friday.

It’ll be important that @belenbarrospena and I can get SecureDrop running before so we can get a good understanding.

About IFF, there are a number of ways to approach it:

  1. We can use the opportunity to meet and talk with newroom journalists at IFF to learn how they work.

  2. We can do some usability testing sessions with them, based on a scenario .

About what scenario to use - that’s what I’d like to learn about too. Is there an idea of the kinds of problems people have?

We can discuss that here, if possible. Are there Secure Drop users here? For both of the above (1 + 2) it’d be great to get an idea of how many Secure Drop users will be at IFF.

I’m happy to discuss all that here. Thanks!

I do not know. But Harlo Holmes will be at IFF and she may know more.

If SecureDrop is selected to participate in the sprint, could it be a opportunity to get UX feedbacks ?

Hi @dachary, yes, it would certainly be a good place to meet some current SecureDrop users. I’d be happy to go along to the LocLab sprint.

Is Harlo in here? If not I’ll try to contact her. Harlo and I know each other. If anyone is speaking to her in the meantime, I’d appreciate it if they’d mention it to her.


Small world :slight_smile: I don’t think Harlo is subscribed to this forum but I’ll invite her.

Harlo will be available for a usability session at either March 6th, 5pm or March 7th, 5pm @ IFF. She is an expert SecureDrop user but it would be very interesting (at least for me) to observe how she actually uses it. Would one of these two times/dates work for you @ei8fdb @belenbarrospena ?

Hea @dachary,

The 7th at 5PM would be great for me. I don’t think @belenbarrospena will be at IFF, as much as I’m trying to persuade her. :wink:

I’m going to mail Harlo to have a chat with her.

Before we get into specific usability scenarios, it would be very good to have some exploratory discussions with people who are familiar with SD. This would allow us to establish the kinds of problems people have, and the kinds of scenarios we can test.

If we were able to meet with some SD users it would be very good. :+1:

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I won’t be at IFF, so I’ll let @ei8fdb deal with that one.

@ei8fdb any chance of recording the research sessions you run there?

@belenbarrospena Yep, as long as the participants give me their consent to record the session, I will record it. I’ll have to make sure they understand this is “legit” research being carried out for Secure Drop.

@dachary will there be a Secure Drop stand, or area? If so, could I get permission to sit there for a few hours during IFF?

I’m afraid not. How difficult is it to find a place to sit down ?

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@dachary No not at all. :wink: It’s more for people to feel comfortable that “the guy asking about how we use Secure Drop” is a good guy! It’s important that users are able to trust UX designers when they are asking indepth questions.

Otherwise…people don’t know who the UX designer is, and so often you don’t get the important understanding of their problems.

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The sprint would be an opportunity to get unstructured feedback on the tool during the demo period, but the rotating demos will only last about 10 - 15 minutes each, so they won’t be effective for in depth walk-throughs or scenario exercises. The remaining time at the sprint will allow for further discussion with translator-users, but will generally focus on actual localization.

If you would like to do small group or individual exercises with contributors, maybe you can share the user profile you would like to engage in the feedback session and we can reach out to collaborators fitting that profile.

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@bmeson since you’re a SecureDrop user, would you agree to a 30 minutes usabitlity session while at EFF ? Ideally March 7th from 5:30pm to 6:00pm, i.e. right after Harlo, would be super convenient.

Of course you’re not the typical SecureDrop user and your level of expertise twists things. But we don’t have the luxury of being picky: it’s super difficult to find SecureDrop users attending EFF. If you have ideas on how to improve that, it would be welcome. I think even journalists who are not (yet) SecureDrop users would be good candidates for this usability session.

What do you think ?

@dachary I vote yes. However I will be at IFF for only the first two days, so it would have to be then.

@bmeson cool, what about tuesday 4pm ?

@dachary Works for me

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