Why and how to investigate interaction design of software development tools

Juliana Jansen Ferreira, Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza, Renato Cerqueira


The existence of some relationship between the usability of software development tools and the quality of end users’ interaction with the product these tools contribute to build would not be surprising. Should this be the case, a developer's problematic use experience with these tools would increase the workload of HCI experts, whose aim is to promote high quality user experience with software products. Yet, this connection has not deserved much attention from researchers, and it is unclear how investigations should be conducted to verify if it is true. Our contribution in this paper is a first step in this direction. We propose an inspection method to characterize communicability and usability aspects of software modeling tools. By combining both aspects and articulating our analysis around tool, notations and people, we provide valuable conceptual links that, we argue, may in the long run of subsequent research contribute significantly to verify the (extent of the) relation between HCI quality of development tools and developed products.


Human-computer interaction; software development tools; notations; cognitive dimensions of notations; usability; communicability; semiotic engineering

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