OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Improving the Design of Visual Programming Language Experiments Using Cognitive Walkthroughs

TitleImproving the Design of Visual Programming Language Experiments Using Cognitive Walkthroughs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsKo, A. J., M. M. Burnett, T. R. G. Green, K. K. Rothermel, and C. R. Cook
JournalJournal of Visual Languages & Computing
Volume13
Issue5
Pagination517 - 544
Date Published10/2002
ISSN1045926X
Abstract

Visual programming languages aim to promote usability, but their usability is rarely examined scientifically. One reason is the difficulty of designing successful experimental evaluations. We propose the Cognitive Walkthrough (CW) as an aid to improve experiments' designs. The CW is an HCI technique designed for evaluating interfaces. The technique focuses on the potential difficulties of novice users and is therefore particularly suited for evaluating programming situations that arise in visual programming language experiments performed in laboratory settings. We first describe an empirical study performed without benefit of a walkthrough and show how the study was improved by a series of walkthroughs. We also describe two other empirical studies and how they were improved with the help of the CW. We found the method to be quick to use, effective at improving the experimental design, and usable by non-specialists.

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DOI10.1006/jvlc.2002.0245
Short TitleJournal of Visual Languages & Computing