PPIG 2010 - 22nd Annual Workshop
A logical mind, not a programming mind: Psychology of a professional end-user
Alan F. Blackwell, Cecily Morrison
Abstract: This paper reports a case study of a specific end-user programming context, in which an electronic patient record system was being customised by a healthcare professional. Our research involved making an unusual intervention, employing a professional programmer as a quasi-experimental participant, in order to explore and contrast the different ways that the same situation was conceived by an end-user programmer and by a professional programmer. We found a range of pragmatic strategies that were employed by the end-user, causing her to resist some conventional views of how programs and source code should be interpreted. Rather than different ‘cognitive styles’, we believe these differing mental models can be accounted for by the context of the practical work the two need to achieve, and the organisational contexts within which they work. We make some observations and recommendations about the design of tools for end-user programmers, extrapolating from our in-depth observation of one particular product.