We need your help to test new hardware prototypes


We’ve always valued our community’s feedback and thrived thanks to your input—whether through our annual survey or your comments on Reddit. Now we want to go a step further and involve the ProtonMail community in the testing of early stage prototypes.

June 21st Update – We have now received enough applications for testers (over 2000 people)! We want to thank everybody that applied. Your support is invaluable for making ProtonMail better and better!

Today we invite you to join our first community usability testing for some of our new prototypes. We’re looking for anyone who loves ProtonMail and wants to try out a new product. For the first stage, testers will get to meet the team in Zurich (Switzerland) this summer. For the second stage, scheduled for later this year, testers can be located anywhere in the world; we’ll send the prototypes to you. Space is limited, so apply today following the form below.

This is ProtonMail’s first hardware prototype, and it’s the first time we’ve invited our community to provide us with in-person feedback. Last year, we partnered with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), one of the leading technical universities in the world, and applied for a research grant from Innosuisse. Our proposal was accepted, and with this support we have been studying how to use hardware to secure digital communication and empower you to secure your digital identity.

After many months of research and development, we are now looking for users to test a variety of early stage prototypes and give us feedback about their impressions while using them. For this project, testing will be performed in two or more phases over the coming months, explained in more detail below.

Besides the chance to directly influence the development of our latest features and products, you will get the chance to talk to some of our team members about your hopes for future Proton Technologies products.

Stage 1: on-site usability testing

For the first phase, we would like to invite a handful of you to visit us on site in Zurich to participate in a preliminary usability test. These usability tests will take place in a lab at ETH Zurich. Each will last roughly 40-50 minutes.

On the day of the test, you will meet with one of our team members, who will guide you through the test. In the first half, we will discuss some of your habits when using our products to give us an idea what kind of user you are. Next comes the fun part: You’ll get hands-on time with some of our early stage hardware prototypes. We will ask you to complete a set of interactions and then tell us about your experience doing it. We will analyze your feedback and take it into account for later prototype iterations.

While we are not able to cover travel costs, we will give each of our first stage testers a voucher for credits equivalent to a year’s worth of our ProtonMail Plus subscription.

Stage 2: field usability testing

During this stage, scheduled for later this year, we will ask a larger group of testers to play with newer iterations of the hardware prototypes.

Testers will receive exclusive access to these devices to use in their daily lives during the testing period. Afterward, we will ask them to answer a set of questions to gather feedback about their experience. This feedback will again be used to further refine the prototype.

Again, anyone is welcome to apply for testing, though slots for Stage 2 testing are limited by the number of prototypes we will produce.

We hope you will apply to join our first-ever testing program. Please fill out the form below to submit your application, and we’ll contact you shortly with more details.

The applications limit has been reached and the sign up form has been removed.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,
Your Proton Team

About the Author

Proton Team

We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. Ensuring online privacy and security are core values for the ProtonMail team, and we strive daily to protect your rights online.


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22 comments on “We need your help to test new hardware prototypes

  • I would love participating in stage 1, however, I need to know what dates are preferable for you. My holidays are extremely limited, but weekends might be okay for me, except for cases when I am in the oncall duty.

  • Traveling to Switzerland July 2-7, 2018. Available to meet. Will be in Zurich, Geneva and several other cities.

  • I really really really want to be a tester (2nd phase), I don’t care about payments or rewards. I just want to be part of the testing.

    • Hello Simon! Our Zurich office is handling this project and they have received quite a lot of requests, so cannot promise anything. I wish you best of luck! Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get in. There will be other opportunities in the future.

    • Thank you for applying! We cannot promise you will be chosen for the testing as we got many applications in the first couple of hours and the spots are limited. I wish you good luck!

  • I hope to be a tester at least in the second stage in Argentina. Thank you for the service to all internet users.

  • All the users that applied will be contacted (at least saying something like: “You weren’t selected for the phase X” )? Or only the ones selected will be contacted?
    There is any prediction when the contacts will happen?

  • I noticed (and confirmed with several other peers) that Protonmail was down today for at least half an hour. Will there be any official post-mortem?

  • Thanks for your answer. That and today’s newsletter pretty much answers it.

    Would you care to comment if what happened is described here https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/protonmail-ddos-attacks-are-a-case-study-of-what-happens-when-you-mock-attackers/ correctly? Particularly the Protonmail’s response part.

    It’s understandable that in the heat of a battle people lose their temper, but it would probably save a lot of us some trouble if something like that wouldn’t happen, don’t you think? Were any measures taken to prevent similar situations from happening in future?

    Protonmail is trying to be very high profile, among other things that’s what attracts ambitious hackers. So it would help your users to feel safer knowing that extreme situations are handled in a professional matter.

    • Thank you for your understanding. That tweet was not thought through and we apologize for it. However, the fact that the attackers use this to justify their behaviour is just a decoy. Attacks have started before that tweet and we have seen proof on their Twitter accounts where they state someone is paying them to attack us. Moreover, the attackers who claim to be offended by us are not actually the ones responsible for our intermittent network issues. There is a more sophisticated attacker that we are currently dealing with. The initial group (Apophis Squad) is not a threat to us anymore.

    • Only the first batch of the first stage. Because of a high number of applications, we will only be able to contact the chosen participants. Thanks for understanding.

  • I hope one of the products is an internet router, with 2 outgoing network connections. One using your VPN infrastructure and one connected to the onion network.
    2 models one with wifi and one without

  • It’s a carefully but quickly constructed product that targets the most fundamental and dangerous assumptions on the roadmap. It may not be the product with which you achieve product-to-market fit