An Empirical Study of a Decentralized Identity Wallet: Usability, Security, and Perspectives on User Control


Maina Korir, University of Bedfordshire; Simon Parkin, TU Delft; Paul Dunphy, OneSpan


User-centric digital identity initiatives are emerging with a mission to shift control over online identity disclosures to the individual. However, there is little representation of prospective users in discussions of the merits of empowering users with new data management responsibilities and the acceptability of new technologies. We conducted a user study comprising a contextual inquiry and semi-structured interviews using a prototype decentralized identity wallet app with 30 online participants. Our usability analysis uncovered misunderstandings about decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and pain points relating to using QR codes and following the signposting of cross-device user journeys. In addition, the technology did not readily resolve questions about whether the user, identity provider, or relying party was in control of data at crucial moments. We also learned that users' judgments of data minimization encompass a broader scope of issues than simply the technical provision of the identity wallet. Our results contribute to understanding future user-centric identity technologies from the view of privacy and user acceptance.

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@inproceedings {281274,
author = {Maina Korir and Simon Parkin and Paul Dunphy},
title = {An Empirical Study of a Decentralized Identity Wallet: Usability, Security, and Perspectives on User Control},
booktitle = {Eighteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2022)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-30-4},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {195--211},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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