No half-measures: A study of manual and tool-assisted end-user programming tasks in Excel

Rahul Pandita, Chris Parnin, Felienne Hermans, Emerson Murphy-Hill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The popularity of end-user programming has lead to diverse end-user development environments. Despite accurate and efficient tools available in such environments, end-user programmers often manually complete tasks. What are the consequences of rejecting these tools? In this paper, we answer this question by studying end-user programmers completing four tasks with and without tools. In analyzing 111 solutions to each of these tasks, we observe that neither tool use nor tool rejection was consistently more accurate or efficient. In some cases, tool users took nearly twice as long to solve problems and over-relied on tools, causing errors in 95% of solutions. Compared to manual task completion, the primary benefit of tool use was narrowing the kinds of errors that users made. We also observed that partial tool use can be worse than no tool use at all.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC)
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
Editors J. Cunha, J.P. Fernandes, C. Kelleher, G. Engels, J. Mendes
Place of PublicationRed Hook, NY
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-4235-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-5386-4236-8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2018 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 1 Oct 20184 Oct 2018


Conference2018 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2018

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