Research

You can (or will) find a list of my research on this page. This includes published work, calls for theses projects and other opportunities to collaborate. This site is always work-in-progress. If you have questions, best just reach out to me.

About Me

I am a doctoral candidate at the Informatics (or Computer Science as Non-Germans would call it) department of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich and the Usable Security Group of the CODE institute at the University of the Bundeswehr. There I am researching on how we can build usable cryptocurrency wallets . Since end of 2020 I am pursuing a second doctoral degree in parallel at TUM's Chair for Strategy and Organization trying to figure out what makes entrepreneurship education work .


I am pursuing my research next to my work at the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM), where I run the add-on study program (Honor's Degree) Technology Management. Together with my colleagues we aim to connect, educate and empower 25 motivated students – future innovators – each semester.


To find out more about me, feel free to have a look at my private website as well.

Publications

Below you find scientific papers I co-authored that are either published or in press. You also might want to check-out my profiles on Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, Research Gate, ORCID, and ACM.


Proceedings of the International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI) (in press)
“Secure settings are quick and easy!” – Motivating End-Users to Choose Secure Smart Home Configurations
Sarah Prange, Niklas Thiem, Michael Fröhlich, Florian Alt
While offering many useful features, novel smart home devices also provide an attack surface to users' allegedly secure place: their homes. Thus, it is essential to employ effective threat mitigation strategies, such as securely configuring devices. We investigate how users can be motivated to do so. To foster secure actions, we designed two types of nudges based on the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT): one with low and one with high level of detail. As such, our nudges particularly target users' threat appraisal (including perceived severity and likelihood of threats) and self-efficacy to take action. In a randomized online experiment (N=210), we simulated a smart home setup procedure. Participants chose significantly more secure configurations when being provided with detailed nudges, and indicated higher perceived threat and coping appraisal (i.e., higher protection motivation) after the experiment. Based on our results, we discuss the design and deployment of nudges for (future) smart home setup procedures. Our work can help to a) increase users' threat awareness in general, and b) motivate users to take actions such as securely configuring their devices.
Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (preprint)
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in Human Computer Interaction: A Systematic Literature Review and Research Agenda
Michael Fröhlich, Franz Waltenberger, Ludwig Trotter, Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt
We present a systematic literature review of cryptocurrency and blockchain research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) published between 2014 and 2021. We aim to provide an overview of the field, consolidate existing knowledge, and chart paths for future research. Our analysis of 99 articles identifies six major themes: (1) the role of trust, (2) understanding motivation, risk, and perception of cryptocurrencies, (3) cryptocurrency wallets, (4) engaging users with blockchain, (5) using blockchain for application-specific use cases, and (6) support tools for blockchain. We discuss the focus of the existing research body and juxtapose it to the changing landscape of emerging blockchain technologies to highlight future research avenues for HCI and interaction design. With this review, we identify key aspects where interaction design is critical for the adoption of blockchain systems. Doing so, we provide a starting point for new scholars and designers and help them position future contributions.
Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (preprint)
Designing Trustworthy User Interfaces for the Voluntary Carbon Market: A Randomized Online Experiment
Klaudia Guzij, Michael Fröhlich, Florian Fincke, Albrecht Schmidt, Florian Alt
The voluntary carbon market is an important building block in the fight against climate change. However, it is not trivial for consumers to verify whether carbon offset projects deliver what they promise. While technical solutions for measuring their impact are emerging, there is a lack of understanding of how to translate this data into interface designs that mediate the establishment of trust. With interaction between users and offset projects mainly happening online, it is critical to meet this design challenge. To this end, we designed and evaluated interfaces with varying trust cues for carbon offset projects in a randomized online experiment (n=244). Our results show that content design, particularly financial and forest-related quantitative data presented at the right detail level, increases the perceived trustworthiness, while images have no significant effect. We contribute the first specific guidance for interface designers for carbon offsets and discuss implications for interaction design.
Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Blockchain Technology and Applications (ICBTA) 2021
Under Pressure. A User-Centered Threat Model for Cryptocurrency Owners
Michael Fröhlich, Philipp Hulm, Florian Alt
Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity in recent years. However, for many users, keeping ownership of their cryptocurrency is a complex task. News reports frequently bear witness to scams, hacked exchanges, and fortunes beyond retrieval. However, we lack a systematic understanding of user-centered cryptocurrency threats, as causes leading to loss are scattered across publications. To address this gap, we conducted a focus group (n=6) and an expert elicitation study (n=25) following a three-round Delphi process with a heterogeneous group of blockchain and security experts from academia and industry. We contribute the first systematic overview of threats cryptocurrency users are exposed to and propose six overarching categories. Our work is complemented by a discussion on how the human-computer-interaction community can address these threats and how practitioners can use the model to understand situations in which users might find themselves under the pressure of an attack to ultimately engineer more secure systems.
Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Is It Better With Onboarding? Improving First-Time Cryptocurrency App Experiences
Michael Fröhlich, Charlotte Kobiella, Albrecht Schmidt, Florian Alt
Engaging first-time users of mobile apps is challenging. Onboarding task flows are designed to minimize the drop out of users. To this point, there is little scientific insight into how to design these task flows. We explore this question with a specific focus on financial applications, which pose a particularly high hurdle and require significant trust. We address this question by combining two approaches. We first conducted semi-structured interviews (n=16) exploring users' meaning-making when engaging with new mobile applications in general. We then prototyped and evaluated onboarding task flows (n=16) for two mobile cryptocurrency apps using the minimalist instruction framework. Our results suggest that well-designed onboarding processes can improve the perceived usability of first-time users for feature-rich mobile apps. We discuss how the expectations users voiced during the interview study can be met by applying instructional design principles and reason that the minimalist instruction framework for mobile onboarding insights presents itself as a useful design method for practitioners to develop onboarding processes and also identify when not to.
Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Don't Stop Me Now! Exploring Challenges Of First-Time Cryptocurrency Users
Michael Fröhlich, Maurizio Wagenhaus, Albrecht Schmidt, Florian Alt
Cryptocurrencies have increasingly gained interest in practice and research alike. Current research in the HCI community predominantly focuses on understanding the behavior of existing cryptocurrency users. Little attention has been given to early users and the challenges they encounter. However, understanding how interfaces of cryptocurrency systems support, impede, or even prevent adoption through new users is essential to develop better, more inclusive solutions. To close this gap, we conducted a user study (n=34) exploring challenges first-time cryptocurrency users face. Our analysis reveals that even popular wallets are not designed for novice users' needs, stopping them when they would be ready to engage with the technology. We identify multiple challenges ranging from general user interface issues to finance and cryptocurrency-specific ones. We argue that these challenges can and should be addressed by the HCI community and present implications for building better cryptocurrency systems for novice users.
Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Don't lose your coin! Investigating Security Practices of Cryptocurrency Users
Michael Fröhlich, Felix Gutjahr, Florian Alt
In recent years, cryptocurrencies have increasingly gained interest. The underlying technology, Blockchain, shifts the responsibility for securing assets to the end-user and requires them to manage their (private) keys. Little attention has been given to how cryptocurrency users handle the challenges of key management in practice and how they select the tools to do so. To close this gap, we conducted semi-structured interviews (N=10). Our thematic analysis revealed prominent themes surrounding motivation, risk assessment, and coin management tool usage in practice. We found that the choice of tools is driven by how users assess and balance the key risks that can lead to loss: the risk of (1) human error, (2) betrayal, and (3) malicious attacks. We derive a model, explaining how risk assessment and intended usage drive the decision which tools to use. Our work is complemented by discussing design implications for building systems for the crypto economy.

Theses

Are you a student at LMU or TUM ? Below you find open and ongoing master and bachelor theses I am supervising. I have supervised 10+ theses and enjoy moving research projects forward through collaboration. If you are interested in any of these topics – or have ideas on your own – feel free to reach out to me.


I am interested in how we can

  • build usable cryptocurrency wallets (coding experience needed)
  • evaluate the impact of entrepreneurship education
  • figure out what factors excellent entrepreneurship courses have in common
  • understand whether grit is predictive for startup success

open
Development of a short scale for measuring Entrepreneurial-Self-Efficacy (ESE)
Being able to reliably measure individuals' believes in their capability to succeed as entrepreneurs is critical to evaluate entrepreneurship training and education. The goal of this thesis is to develop and validate a short scale for measuring Entrepreneurial-Self-Efficacy as a multidimensional concept.

Show Completed