Open ITP (Internet Tools Project) hosted a User Experience design sprint this past weekend, as part of the RightsCon conference currently going on in the Bay Area. It invited designers and others to help improve existing privacy and anonymity tools. The goal was to bring a focus on usability, use cases, and good user experience design to the budding world of privacy tools.
In China, end-users use free software security and privacy tools to access censored content. In Egypt, activists use them to avoid surveillance. In the United States, individuals use them to protect their privacy.
The UX Sprint will focus on improving the user interface of these tools, which must be customized for different languages and cultures, and thus present significant design challenges. This is tremendously important considering that a bad interface can put end-users living under oppressive regimes seriously at risk. In addition, it can also negatively affect the adoptation of tools.
Some of the tools that were redesigned include Martus, which human rights and justice organizations use to protect their information and documentation of human rights abuses. It also included People’s Intelligence, which allows individuals to report and verify abuses through tech.