Opened 12 months ago

Closed 8 months ago

Last modified 8 months ago

#32460 closed defect (implemented)

download page has confusing flow, especially with donate banner

Reported by: arma Owned by: hiro
Priority: High Milestone:
Component: Webpages/Website Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: ux-team
Cc: hiro, antonela, mcs, traumschule, trac-dip-importer, ggus Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


We just had a user in #tor who was trying to download the Windows version of Tor from our website, but it wasn't downloading.

After much debugging, we discovered that they had clicked on "download" from our front page, and ended up at
and then waited for the download to begin.

They didn't realize that they needed to scroll down, look for the windows icon, and click on it.

Pastly says he has talked to a half dozen other users in the past few weeks who reported the same "download doesn't work" issue.

It would seem that we should improve the UX of our download page so it is more clear that you need to click on one of the pictures.

I also theorize that the big donate banner on the top of the page is adding to the confusing flow of the page -- maybe people are used to seeing a banner like that on a page that has already auto triggered a download.

mcs points out yet another confusion on that page: once you scroll down past the donate banner, the first thing you find is a box labeled "Download Tor Browser" with a down arrow signaling that you'll begin a download if you click it. And when you click it, it brings you to the download page, and does not begin any download.

Child Tickets

Change History (18)

comment:1 Changed 11 months ago by arma

We just had another user in #tor who got bit by this:

<person> fdfdnewb question
<person> can't download tor on mac - safari or chrome
<person> clicking download button but nothing happens
<person> have downloaded before on old computers

(person anonymized because there's no reason to say the original nick here.)

In this case it seems very likely that mcs's guess is correct: they were clicking on the "download tor browser" button -- the one with the down arrow -- which doesn't download anything, it just reloads the download page.

comment:2 Changed 11 months ago by pili

Keywords: ux-team added

Seems like a UX issue that we need to investigate further to me.

Would removing the arrow icon help matters? Or not making it look like a button? I guess users are expecting us to automagically know their operating system and download the correct version... or don't realise that there are OS specific versions of software.

How do other popular pieces of software do it?

comment:3 Changed 11 months ago by emmapeel

I think maybe the 'download' buttons in the footer and the banner should not appear on the download page, as those are links useful only on other pages.

comment:4 Changed 11 months ago by pastly

Another (extremely difficult to work with) #tor user hit this today. Please do something :( I don't know what. Maybe the solution is as simple as "CLICK ON THE APPROPRIATE LOGO BELOW" and removing the "Download Tor Browser" buttons.

comment:5 Changed 11 months ago by pili

We are looking into doing some research on this, we don't want to change things and make them even worse :)

comment:6 Changed 11 months ago by nah

Hi everyone!
We have very good points here. I'm going to try to sum up.

On previous training&research people said they are not used to know the icons of their OS, so they didn't know where to click to download the Tor browser. With the banners it seems the problem have escalated. We will have the opportunity to test the download page with different audiences in the following two weeks. So far, as I see here, we have the following hypothesis:

  1. Download usually start by itself in other websites - is it possible to make it happen without tracking users? If not - how about making a "warning" like: we do not track your device, please choose your compatible OS to download Tor.
  1. Users don't know the icon of their OS -- if that is true, maybe labeling the icons would be an alternative? do you have other thoughts on that?
  1. Donate banner seems to make the download page more confusing. What do you think about removing the banner only from the download page? Is it possible to bring it back once the download is completed?

Am I missing something? Do you have other points?

comment:7 Changed 11 months ago by mcs

The list in comment:6 includes some very good points. Here is one more item (which has been mentioned a few times already):

  1. Remove the "Download Tor Browser" button from the download page header. That button has no effect except to reload the download page itself. This is especially confusing because that button contains a downward pointing arrow, which on most sites indicates that clicking the button will start the download.

Also, I do not think we need to wait for results from a user research study before we improve the download page/flow. Even small changes as are being discussed here might help a lot, and I think enough smart people are paying attention that we are unlikely to make things worse. Research should then be used to make further improvements. That said, I fully understand if no one has time to work on the website this month!

comment:8 Changed 11 months ago by ggus

I have been answering users on Frontdesk and they believe that:

a) They need to donate to Tor Project to download - "I already donated to Tor Project and I still can't download";
b) Their connection are censored or Tor Project is blocked
c) Website isn't working

I created an article in RT to reply these tickets with the direct download link. They all answered thanking and were able to install.

Options 3 and 4 looks a good combination that we could try now.

Other changes might need some UX research.

comment:9 Changed 11 months ago by gk

Priority: MediumHigh

More users are showing up having this problem (I just helped one on IRC). Can we implement something quickly to rectify this problem and think about smarter, longer term solutions later on?

comment:10 Changed 11 months ago by pili

Step 1 will be to remove the fundraising banner from the download page. We will let that bake in for a while to see if it helps while we do some more user research and before making any more drastic changes.

We are still evaluating:

  1. Changes to the download button e.g removing the arrow, making it scroll down to the OS icons in the download page
  2. Adding in text to the OS icons to make the OS clearer
  3. Sniffing the OS to provide the relevant download to the user <- I personally don't like this one and we need to evaluate the usability vs privacy tradeoffs

comment:11 Changed 11 months ago by antonela

Based on last week's discussion, I've pushed these changes to staging.

We still have a to-do pending. This is a WIP

Last edited 10 months ago by antonela (previous) (diff)

comment:12 Changed 11 months ago by mcs

Please replace "apple" with "macOS", i.e., Download for macOS.

comment:13 Changed 11 months ago by core

Antonela, I would suggest the download page either not having the banner or scrolling to the downloads part. Because an issue arises on computers with low screen resolution where they only see a bit of the purple part and when they click on "Download Tor Browser" the user doesn't notice that the page actually changed

comment:14 Changed 11 months ago by opara

Just an idea, it would be useful if an id="choose-platform" attribute was added to the "Defend yourself" text. That way when someone has difficulty downloading the browser, someone can point them to "" and the page will automatically scroll to the correct location. It doesn't solve some of the usability problems above, but might provide a simple way to help users while bigger changes are being worked on.

comment:15 Changed 10 months ago by steph

Now we just need to remove the banner from all pages entirely as the campaign is over.

comment:16 Changed 8 months ago by antonela

Resolution: implemented
Status: newclosed

We deployed a new iteration of the download page


  • remove EOY campaign banner
  • add a better label to the download button, mentioning the OS. Eg. Download for Windows
  • add an ? icon near to the signature link for people to learn more about what it is and why it is important
  • removes the top navigation to avoid confusion with multiple links and retain focus in one user flow.

comment:17 in reply to:  16 ; Changed 8 months ago by mcs

Replying to antonela:

We deployed a new iteration of the download page

Nice! One possible issue: the top banner is displayed on the download page if I switch to a different language (e.g., from en to es) before I go to the download page. Is this a bug?

It would also be good to make the language switcher control available on the download page somehow (enhancement request).

Last edited 8 months ago by mcs (previous) (diff)

comment:18 in reply to:  17 Changed 8 months ago by antonela

Replying to mcs:

Replying to antonela:

We deployed a new iteration of the download page

Nice! One possible issue: the top banner is displayed on the download page if I switch to a different language (e.g., from en to es) before I go to the download page. Is this a bug?

It is a bug. Thanks!

It would also be good to make the language switcher control available on the download page somehow (enhancement request).


Filed for both.

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