PPIG 2023 - 34th Annual Workshop
Influencing Code Reading Through Beacons: an Eye-Tracking Study
Alan McCabe, Diederick C. Niehorster, Emma Söderberg
Abstract: When interacting with other humans, we attempt to develop a shared understanding using various means. One such method is through our eyes: when someone is looking at something, we understand that their attention is focused on that object. In this work, we present the results of an eye-tracking study built upon the Progger tool, in which we used additional code highlighting in an attempt to influence the gaze behaviour of a human programmer, thereby focusing their attention. We found that though it is possible to draw attention towards areas of particular interest to the compiler, this has no apparent effect upon performance when confronted with a bug-finding code comprehension task. We conclude that although this strategy may be of use in the future when attempting to humanise the process of programming, further research is required to establish the efficacy of such interventions.