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Designing Interactive User Interfaces for Reflective Data Donation


  • Required: Experience in Web development (html/css/javascript, python)
  • Desirable/preferred: Completion of the lecture on "User-Centered Design"/"Human-Computer Interaction I", the seminar on “Interactive Intelligent Systems” and the lecture on "Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten in der Informatik"
  • Proficiency in German & English
Academic Advisor
Reflective Technologies, Explanatory User Interfaces, Interaction Design, Participatory Design, Interactive Systems
Master of Science (M.Sc.)



This MSc. takes place in the context of the research project WerteRadar. In this project, we focus on the complex interplay of reflective and technical data literacy by mediating the effects of privacy-preserving technologies (especially differential privacy) in sharing sensitive data. By providing an explanation interface, we aim to enable patients to handle personal data in a self-determined and reflective manner and make an informed decision regarding their data donation, i.e., providing their digital sovereignty. The interactive software WerteRadar will be designed, implemented, and evaluated in the clinical context.


A reoccurring problem in patients' admission in the clinical context is that patients are not sufficiently informed about the consequences of their data transfer, which hinders an informed and reflected decision. This situation serves as a starting point for redesigning an informed decision-making process for patients by considering the available data privacy levels [3]. However, enabling digital sovereignty relates not only to the personal interaction between doctors and patients but also to technical services. Thus, we distinguish the receptive data competence, which is supported by technical means, and the sovereign reception competence, which relates to a reflexive perspective on data donation and its social embeddedness.

Objectives of this thesis

This thesis should provide an explanation interface for differential privacy, enabling a reflective data donation. To strengthen digital sovereignty, the exploration of explanatory mechanisms serves as a basis to design a user-oriented interaction process supported by visual metaphors. A prerequisite is the identification of explanation needs for making the inner-working of differential privacy understandable by users [1]. Appropriate explanatory mechanisms and visual metaphors for identifying user needs serve as the basis for designing the user interface to enable data donation through (positive) nudges by means of reflective descriptions [2, 3].

Possible procedure

  1. Literature study on approaches on explanation interfaces for interactive systems, with a focus on the CHI, CSCW, DIS community (available in the ACM digital library) for identifying state-of-the art
  2. Semi-structured interviews or Participatory Design Workshops for capturing explanation needs
  3. Iteratively developing and testing Lofi-Prototypes
  4. Implementing Hifi-prototype
  5. Conduct experimental studies to evaluate a privacy preserving UI design


[1] Pieters, Wolter. „Explanation and Trust: What to Tell the User in Security and AI?“ Ethics and Information Technology, Bd. 13, Nr. 1, März 2011, S. 53–64. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1007/s10676-010-9253-3.

[2] Valdez, André Calero, und Martina Ziefle. „The Users’ Perspective on the Privacy-Utility Trade-Offs in Health Recommender Systems“. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Bd. 121, Januar 2019, S. 108–21. arXiv.org, doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.04.003.

[3] Masaki, Hiroaki, u. a. „Exploring Nudge Designs to Help Adolescent SNS Users Avoid Privacy and Safety Threats“. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, 2020, S. 1–11. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1145/3313831.3376666.