Crossed wires: Investigating the problems of end-user developers in a physical computing task

Tracey Booth, Simone Stumpf, Jon Bird, Sara Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages3485-3497
Number of pages13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016

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