[Standards] Easy XMPP

Sam Whited sam at samwhited.com
Mon Jan 16 15:07:50 UTC 2017

On Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 10:04 AM, Georg Lukas <georg at op-co.de> wrote:
> in the last weeks we've seen that XMPP is too hard for the WhatsApp
> generation. Instead of blaming them for not understanding federation, we
> should make it as easy as possible to use XMPP (IM) in a secure fashion.

I recently ran an experiment with a non-Technical friend where I gave
them some prompts, and then answered direct questions without hand
holding them through anything and more or less recorded a transcript
of what was said and what they clicked on.

The first prompt was "I'm using XMPP to chat, you should sign up forn
an account and add me!"

The important parts of the next 5 or so minutes before they gave up were:

- Google "xmpp"
- Click on xmpp.org
- Say out loud "where's the download button?"
- Dig around on xmpp.org for a few minutes
- Give up

Maybe just having a "Get Started" link in big bold text right at the
top of xmpp.org would help a lot. People who know that's not really
what xmpp.org is for would ignore it.
Of course, the prompt was arguably misleading, but I suspect that's
what a lot of people are given in introduction to XMPP and don't
understand that the XSF has nothing to do with what they want other
than writing the standards that back it.

Beyond that I also gave them a more specific prompt to sign up at
jabber.at (it wasn't the smoothest onboarding flow, but they got there
in the end) and then told them to "download an XMPP client" at which
point they remembered the "clients" page from xmpp.org, went back
there, looked around until they saw something that said "Windows" (it
ended up being gajim), downloaded and installed that, and then sat
there and couldn't figure out how to make an account. When I prompted
them to "look for the accounts menu and hit add and enter the details
you got on jabber.at" they were able to figure it out, but they were
suprised that on first launching gajim it didn't walk them through
adding an account and instead just immediately gave them popups about
plugins that needed updating.

All very unscientific and told us what we already know, but it's
always fun to do this none the less.


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