PPIG 2019 - 30th Annual Workshop
Probes and Sensors: The Design of Feedback Loops for Usability Improvements
Luke Church, Emma Söderberg
Abstract: The importance of user-centric design methods in the design of programming tools is now well accepted. These methods depend on creating a feedback loop between the designers and their users, providing data about developers, their needs and behaviour gathered through various means. These include controlled experiments, field observations, as well as analytical frameworks. However, whilst there have been a number of experiments detailed, quantitative data is rarely used as part of the design process. Part of the reason for this might be that such feedback loops are hard to design and use in practice. Still, we believe there is potential in this approach and opportunities in gathering this kind of ‘big data’. In this paper, we sketch a framework for reasoning about these feedback loops - when data gathering may make sense and for how to incorporate the results of such data gathering into the programming tool design process. We illustrate how to use the framework on two case studies and outline some of the challenges in instrumentation and in knowing when and how to act on signals.