Improving Circumvention Tool Usability Through Outreach

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Improving Circumvention Tool Usability Through Outreach
Presenter(s) Sami Saeed, Sina Kouhi
Title(s) Arabic Outreach, Farsi Outreach
Organization(s) ASL19
Social media
2017 theme Communications & Design

The Arabic Outreach program out of ASL19 is coming to town and it’s called Mada19!

Mada 19 has been helping Arabic-speaking MENA citizens assert their digital rights and provide them unrestricted internet access for the last year and a half. In this relatively short period of time we learned a lot that we’d like to share with IFF community.

How did we gain users’ trust to download solutions we suggest, or to contact us for user support? How do we connect users in Saudi Arabia to developers in Toronto to resolve a wide scale functionality issue with a tool? What black magic are we using to get users to spend 6 minutes on average reading a digital security article on our blog?

We will first start with a brief presentation of our work. Then, we will divide the participants into 3 groups to explore topics in depth, relating to design, outreach, user support, localization and tool improvement.

Here are the questions we will try to answer in our open discussion:

Outreach/User Support: Choosing the right words: demystifying security/ privacy and raising awareness. How do we contribute to making security and privacy more attainable? How to choose a way of speaking to our users that is friendly, trust-inducing and opens doors for conversations, but also raises awareness around the complexities of security and open source software?

Design: How do we reach users in the Middle East and gather pertinent feedback when our development team is based outside of MENA and when security and anonymity are major concerns? How do we include the communities we are serving in the design process from the beginning? What are inclusive processes for remotely designing and developing tools for MENA communities? How do we bridge the divide and bring in the voices of the people we are trying to serve to the foreground of our work?

Localization and tool Improvement: Do you laugh every time you read the google translated Arabic (or any other language) on your VPN? Why are very effective and trusted circumvention technologies falling short on giving a user-friendly experience? How to create a feedback loop that results in improving a tool?

At the end of the session, we will bring everyone together to identify common themes and discuss them.

Format Conversation
Target Groups All audiences
Length 1hour
Skill Level Novice

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