PPIG 2006 - 18th Annual Workshop
An Experiment on the Effects of Program Code Highlighting on Visual Search for Local Patterns
Tuomas Hakala, Pekka Nykyri, Jorma Sajaniemi
Abstract: Many current program editors use syntax highlighting but effects of various coloring schemes are not known. This paper presents the results of an experiment where three coloring schemes were used by intermediate programmers in visual search tasks for local patterns in Java programs. Differences between the coloring schemes were small and not statistically significant. Especially, in contrast to intuition, the control scheme, black text on white background, resulted in the same overall search performance as the other coloring schemes. Differences be- tween search target types were statistically significant and each coloring scheme turned out to be best for some target type but the interaction was statistically only almost significant.