Using Spoken Text to Aid Debugging: An Empirical Study
Department or Administrative Unit
Comprehending and debugging computer programs are inherently difficult tasks. The current approach to building program execution and debugging environments is to use exclusively visual stimuli. We present an alternative: the Sonified Omniscient Debugger (SOD), a program execution and debugging environment designed to output carefully chosen spoken auditory cues to supplement visual stimuli. Originally designed for the blind, earlier work suggested that SOD may benefit sighted programmers as well. We evaluate the SOD environment in a formal debugging experiment comparing 1) a visual debugger, 2) an auditory debugger, and 3) a multimedia debugger, which includes both the visual and auditory stimuli. Our results indicate that while auditory debuggers on their own are significantly less effective for sighted users when compared with visual and multimedia debuggers, multimedia debuggers might benefit sighted programmers under certain circumstances. Specifically, we found that while multimedia debuggers do not provide instant usability, once programmers have some practice, their performance improves under certain metrics.
Stefik, A., & Gellenbeck, E. (2009). Using spoken text to aid debugging: An empirical study. 2009 IEEE 17th International Conference on Program Comprehension. https://doi.org/10.1109/icpc.2009.5090034
2009 IEEE 17th International Conference on Program Comprehension
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