Crossed Wires: Investigating the Problems of End-User Developers in a Physical Computing Task

Booth, T., Stumpf, S., Bird, J. & Jones, S. (2016). Crossed Wires: Investigating the Problems of End-User Developers in a Physical Computing Task. Paper presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 7-12 May 2016, San Jose, USA.

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Abstract

Considerable research has focused on the problems that end users face when programming software, in order to help them overcome their difficulties, but there is little research into the problems that arise in physical computing when end users construct circuits and program them. In an empirical study, we observed end-user developers as they connected a temperature sensor to an Arduino microcontroller and visualized its readings using LEDs. We investigated how many problems participants encountered, the problem locations, and whether they were overcome. We show that most fatal faults were due to incorrect circuit construction, and that often problems were wrongly diagnosed as program bugs. Whereas there are development environments that help end users create and debug software, there is currently little analogous support for physical computing tasks. Our work is a first step towards building appropriate tools that support end-user developers in overcoming obstacles when constructing physical computing artifacts.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: © Stumpf, S. | ACM 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858533
Uncontrolled Keywords: end-user development; physical computing; debugging; electronics; end-user programming; end-user support; arduino
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: School of Informatics > Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14844

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