Design of Crypto

A guest post by mkhandekar on 09 Jan 2014

Winter Break of Code, Day Three

We are at the halfway point of Winter Break of Code. We have two homes near the beach shared by 12 people. 10 of us are working on the apps & website and 2 are leading up delicious dinner efforts. We’ve spent time on the beach, in the ocean, in the mountains, and of course working. Concepts for future startups and tactics about self-publishing books are brewing, and conversations are lined with politics and activism. Work sessions are focused on making cryptography usable in existing Android apps and soon-to-be-released iPhone apps.

Working in the living room

My work this week has been discerning what the Open Whisper Systems website needs to communicate and to create a user experience for it, particularly for the new user. I began by reading Karen McGrane’s book on content strategy. One of its major takeaways is that content should be written so that it can be reused anywhere. It’s the same as creating partials and mixins in markup. It’s helpful to do the hard work up front because we want to make things that are future friendly.

I’m new to concepts of cryptography, using and designing for privacy tools. I appreciate brief and simple explanations of how crypto works and why I should be using one tool over another. Much of the new content for the website will be geared for visitors who are curious about trying something new, who want to make a personal response to the Snowden leaks, and to provide some grounding for people completely new to the abstract nature of cryptography and privacy tools. We want to give people on the fence a reason to use our apps.

Below are a few screenshots of what we’ll be implementing for the website.

Screenshot of wireframs for the new website

The rest of the week will entail: a product photoshoot, quick brand & logo refresh and integrating the design elements into the new web site design. And of course to enjoy this beautiful scene:

View across Hanalei bay from the beach.


Kauai, Hawaii

9 January 2014