UXFund: Okthanks

September 24, 2019
 Snapshot image of okthanks' exploratorium page
Snapshot image of okthanks' exploratorium page

Okthanks, an organization focused on user experience and human-centered design, received a 9 month grant from the USABLE project to expand their capacity working with open-source privacy and security tool teams and digital security trainers around the globe. With this grant, Okthanks worked with tool teams to provide direct support in organizing user engagements, collect feedback from at-risk users, and guide future development of the tools.

Over the last 9 months, Okthanks has worked with other UXFund grantees such as KeePassXC and the Guardian Project to achieve these goals.

KeePassXC (KPXC): The Okthanks team hosted an in-person study, bringing together 12 participants for a “First Use” activity of KeePassXC. The goal behind the feedback session was to find how easy it was to use the tool and any barriers users faced when trying the tool for the first time. Feedback from this activity informed the KPXC team of necessary changes and led to the creation of the Quickstart Guide, a resource designed to help first time users navigate the tool.

Guardian Project: A long-time partner of the Guardian Project, Okthanks worked with the team to create individual activities (translated into Spanish) for three tools they would be introducing in digital security trainings in Colombia- ProofMode, Haven, and Circulo. The theme of the trainings, which were hosted in the capital city as well as two rural communities, was focused on “creative ways to use your phone to keep yourself, your community, and your territory safe.” Once the trainings were complete, Okthanks created insight reports for each tool to share back with the Guardian Project and their respective partner organizations, Witness and Article 19.

Additional Engagements

With funding from this grant, the Okthanks team was able to attend the Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, Spain, where they co-facilitated a session with the USABLE project team, entitled “The Power of Personas.” During this session, the Persona Builder activity was piloted and the Okthanks team was able to receive feedback on other activities shared at the event, ultimately guiding activity updates and improvements for their new exploratorium.

The Persona Builder activity was developed by the Okthanks team and facilitates a step-by-step process to create a user persona. This activity is useful for tool teams and digital security trainers hoping to better understand the needs of their users, and community members seeking to map their risks and behaviors.

At IFF, Okthanks also deployed activities including:

  • Witness & Guardian Project, ProofMode: First Use
  • Greenhost & Free Press Unlimited, Totem: First Impression Cards
  • Center for Digital Resilience: First Impression Cards and I’m Interested Cards
  • OpenArchive, Save: 5 minute flyer
  • Article 19 & Guardian Project, Circulo: My Story (Improved User Story)
  • IF Community, General understanding: Narrative cards and Persona activity

Following IFF, the Persona Builder activity was shared with the Tor UX designer for their use in creating personas for their team. Okthanks also worked with Greenhost and Free Press Unlimited to generate activity ideas and present ways feedback could be gathered either through physical trainings or within their online tool, Totem.

The Okthanks team was also able to provide resources to Localization Lab for their Thai language sprint, including new activities “One Liners,” “Quick Reactions: What’s your Impression?” and “Emoji’s: Will you use it?”

Website Update and Exploratorium

During the last quarter, the Okthanks team focused on making changes and improvements to the frameworks and preparing content for the website. This included a review of all activities developed so far and updating them with any feedback received. They finalized the webpage layout, access to the individual activities, facilitator guides for every activity with instructions on how to run the activity, and for some provided a “no paper trail,” or digital deployment option!

The Exploratorium is now live and all 12 activities and instructions are ready for download and use. A ‘Guiding Principles’ document was also created, outlining important considerations when conducting user research such as the threat model of a community, which can inform the appropriate way to deploy the activities.

Additional community resources are also linked on their website, and will continue to be updated as more resources become available.

Check out their new Exploratorium!