Two User Perspectives in Program Comprehension: End Users and Developer Users (bibtex)
by Roehm, Tobias
Abstract:
Recent empirical studies identified an interest of software developers in high-level usage information, i.e. Why and how end users employ a software application. Furthermore, recent empirical work found that developers of interactive applications put themselves in the role of users by interacting with the user interface during program comprehension. This paper presents an exploratory case study investigating these two user perspectives in detail. The study focuses on information needs regarding software usage and developers in the role of users during program comprehension. 21 developers from six software companies were observed during program comprehension tasks and interviewed. The resulting observation protocols and interview minutes were analyzed using coding. We found that developers are interested in information about use cases and user behavior, user goals and user needs, failure reproduction steps, and application domain concepts. But such information is rarely available to them during program comprehension. This mismatch indicates a potential to improve program comprehension practices by capturing such information and providing it to developers. Furthermore, we found that developers interact with the user interface of an interactive application to reproduce failures, to find relevant source code, to test changes, to trigger the debugger, and to familiarize with an unknown part of the application. Also, developers conceptually map elements of the user interface to source code, data structures, and algorithms. We call this behavior "UI-based comprehension" and argue that it is part of a broader comprehension strategy together with comprehension activities like reading source code or debugging.
Reference:
Two User Perspectives in Program Comprehension: End Users and Developer Users (Roehm, Tobias), In IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, IEEE, volume 2015-August, 2015.
Bibtex Entry:
@inproceedings{Roehm2015,
abstract = {Recent empirical studies identified an interest of software developers in high-level usage information, i.e. Why and how end users employ a software application. Furthermore, recent empirical work found that developers of interactive applications put themselves in the role of users by interacting with the user interface during program comprehension. This paper presents an exploratory case study investigating these two user perspectives in detail. The study focuses on information needs regarding software usage and developers in the role of users during program comprehension. 21 developers from six software companies were observed during program comprehension tasks and interviewed. The resulting observation protocols and interview minutes were analyzed using coding. We found that developers are interested in information about use cases and user behavior, user goals and user needs, failure reproduction steps, and application domain concepts. But such information is rarely available to them during program comprehension. This mismatch indicates a potential to improve program comprehension practices by capturing such information and providing it to developers. Furthermore, we found that developers interact with the user interface of an interactive application to reproduce failures, to find relevant source code, to test changes, to trigger the debugger, and to familiarize with an unknown part of the application. Also, developers conceptually map elements of the user interface to source code, data structures, and algorithms. We call this behavior "UI-based comprehension" and argue that it is part of a broader comprehension strategy together with comprehension activities like reading source code or debugging.},
author = {Roehm, Tobias},
booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension},
doi = {10.1109/ICPC.2015.22},
isbn = {9781467381598},
keywords = {case study,comprehension strategy,empirical study,information needs,program comprehension,software evolution,software maintenance,software usage,ures,user interface (UI) comprehension},
mendeley-tags = {ures},
pages = {129--139},
publisher = {IEEE},
title = {{Two User Perspectives in Program Comprehension: End Users and Developer Users}},
volume = {2015-August},
year = {2015}
}
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