2019 Summer Usability Study:

Testing the Usability of Desktop Wallets for Staking PoS / DPoS Cryptocurrencies With Non Crypto-Savvy 18-25 Year Olds


The purpose of the study is to identify the usability issues, if any, that non crypto-savvy 18-25 year olds experience when setting up desktop wallets for staking PoS (Proof of Stake) or DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake) cryptocurrencies. Here, the study will focus on each participant’s ability to complete nine specific objectives on one of (potentially) ten wallets selected for the study. These objectives include:

  1. Downloading the wallet application

  2. Installing the wallet application

  3. Adding / Creating a wallet within the wallet application

  4. Securing the wallet (i.e. encrypting, backing up, etc.)

  5. Synchronizing the wallet (i.e. downloading & verifying a copy of wallet’s respective blockchain)

  6. Funding the wallet (i.e. transferring in cryptocurrency)

  7. Staking funds within the wallet

  8. Voting within the wallet (applies to DPoS)

  9. Redeeming rewards within the wallet

The ultimate goal of this study is to translate applicable findings into publicly available design guidelines and suggestions. Such information is important to the community as these wallets are just one part of an emerging yet esoteric technology working towards mass adoption. From a design perspective, understanding what does and does not work for the non crypto-savvy user will help the community create more user-friendly interfaces for a demographic associated with the next wave of adoption.


Summer of 2019. However, exact itinerary will be dependent on a number of still-to-be-determined factors including, but not limited to: testing location, testing materials (i.e. wallets), research assistants, and funding. 


The target demographic for this study will be 18-25 year old college students who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Here, each wallet tested will require five unique participants matching this demographic. Funding for this study will go towards participant incentives ( ~ $50-$100 each). If funding allows for all wallets to be tested, then a total of 50 unique participants will be required for this study.


Cryptocurrencies / Desktop Wallets:



NEO (Neon wallet)

Stellar (BlockEQ wallet)








Mac Mini


Screener / Recruitment Service:

A screener or recruitment service will be used to identify participants matching the target demographic.

Pre-Test Interview:

A pre-test interview will be used (conducted right before usability test) to ascertain each participant’s level of understanding of how blockchain and cryptocurrency works.

Usability Test:

A usability test, where each participant is tasked with completing the nine aforementioned objectives with one of the ten aforementioned wallets, will be used to identify what objectives are the most problematic for users to complete both within and across the wallets tested. Here, each participant’s screen interactions as well as their person will be recorded for analysis.

Post-Test Interview:

A post-test interview will be used (conducted right after usability test) to ascertain each participant’s thoughts / reflections on their interactions with the wallet as well as if their level of understanding of how blockchain and cryptocurrency works has changed.

Qualitative Data Coding:

Qualitative Data Coding will be used to analyze each participant’s interactions, commentary, and body language while attempting to complete the nine objectives with their respective wallet.

Known Risks:

The only known risk is the possibility for a participant to accidentally send testing funds (cryptocurrency) to an incorrect wallet address resulting in permanent loss. However, the funds used for each wallet will be minimal as well as re-used with each participant. Therefore, any loss will not be detrimental nor affect the study.


The study will leverage three UMD student interns as research assistants: two graduate students and one undergraduate. The two graduate students will assist with the facilitation of the study, data analysis, and reporting. The one undergraduate student will assist with data analysis and reporting.


A report reflecting the findings from this study (all data anonymized) will be published on both Chockablock’s website as well as a web-based platform such as Medium. Students would be allowed to publish beyond this if / where applicable.