Opened 6 months ago

Last modified 6 months ago

#33282 new defect

new window: increase max width

Reported by: Thorin Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: tbb-usability, tbb-fingerprinting-resolution
Cc: Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


new window sizes are only applied to non-android devices (AFAIK). Android will use LBing when ready.

new windows are calculated with a max width of 1000px (and then steps down in 200px increments). Note: height is similar (max 1000m steps of 100)

Somewhat relevant, LBing has reduced the number of combos of wxh: but assuming there was no accidental window sizing, and ignoring anything from bugs (toolbar showing, dpi etc)... just focusing on new windows

desktop/laptop screens are likely to be widescreen (approx 16/9), and even the old 1.33/1 (e.g. 1024x768) is not square

Lets say 99% of heights used are [600,700,800,900,1000]. Increasing the max width to 1200 theoretically increases the number of entropy buckets by 5 (1 new x number of heights) and to 1400 by 10, etc. But in reality, it's not going to affect actual entropy (but there may be some edge cases): e.g.

  • if you can do 1000px high, you can almost certainly do 1200 wide (or you never could do 1000 wide anyway: e.g 1024x768)
  • if you're limited to 600 high, you can't do 1200 anyway

Obviously there are a lot of desktop/laptop screen aspect ratios out there, and we don't have any hard data - but my point is:

why are we square on desktops/laptops? - a lot of webpages cause a horizontal scroll bar which is quite annoying (and you know just how upset users can get with visuals: see LB introduction) - so I'll just label this as a usability issue: not just the scrollbar, but wastage of available screen real estate / productivity.

Without some real hard data, we can only guess (but we can look at Firefox telemetry or real world screen stats). My instinct tells me 1200 max is "safe" (as its below both 4/3 and 16/9), and if 4/3 is an edge case, then 1400 or 1600 is also "safe"

I know 1000px seems the safer bet, but 1200px = more usability = more users/uptake .. and, it shouldn't affect actual real world entropy

Class, discuss!

Child Tickets

Attachments (1)

sidebar.png (79.8 KB) - added by Thorin 6 months ago.
and even MOAR usability - the sidebar becomes useful (e.g history, bookmarks...) You could always force the sidebar width to 200px as in the pic

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (3)

Changed 6 months ago by Thorin

Attachment: sidebar.png added

and even MOAR usability - the sidebar becomes useful (e.g history, bookmarks...) You could always force the sidebar width to 200px as in the pic

comment:1 Changed 6 months ago by Thorin

Mozilla released a study back in Jan 2018:

Here is the presentation:

  • slide 15: 2100 users in the RFP branch (9 branches total, equal sized branches)
  • slide 30: look at the color strips on the RFP column (pretty sure the blue one is screen)
  • slide 32: screen issues was the top deal breaker .. layout is up there too
  • slide 33: screen is only in RFP (1 of 9 branches) and yet it was the top deal breaker for the entire study (see slide 32)
  • slide 41: RFP was the third highest cause of users leaving the study

I don't exactly know what screen entails: could be lack of real estate: i.e forced new window being too small, or the browser not starting maximized. Look at the brouhaha that ensued when LBing was turned on. People are very picky about "how" things should "look" (size, position, etc)

I don't browser the clearnet much in TB: but I see scrollbars a lot: for example a google search at 1000 wide causes a horizontal scrollbar, and buttons are off screen. At 1200px no scrollbar, and buttons are visible.

  • slide 26: don't break top sites (look at the email ones: this ties in with workflow below)

More width helps workflow (well, to be more precise: from a tiny square to having some reasonable width - am I being biased here?)

  • slides 28 + 53: messing with workflow is a no-no!!

Anyway: enjoy. Class, discuss!

I still don't think 1200 as max is enough. I think 1400 is better. And one key to entropy outliers is to get more users

comment:2 Changed 6 months ago by Thorin

It would also allow extra space on the urlbar to add a button to reset window size to default (see #16364)

Are you guys seeing a theme here? Or do you want MOAR reasons? :)


Even if increasing the width to 1200 or 1400 created 3 or 6 new buckets of 'w'x'h', those buckets still wouldn't be unique - they would be populated with more than enough users. In other words, it's still useless as a FPing measure.

Would you like me to do an analysis on the top 300 screen resolutions? Are there even that many for laptops/desktops? Yes, I know factors such as task bars should be taken into account. If you want, I'll do one.

Note: See TracTickets for help on using tickets.