Please don't make me draw (eKnow 2010)


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Please don’t make me draw!
Lesson learned during the development of a software
to support early analysis of object-oriented systems.

This paper describes the development of a software tool to support rich pictures creation for Object Oriented Analysis (OOA). This software should be useful both as an e-learning tool for bachelor-level students, as well as for practitioners working with agile methodologies. Since the transposition of manual rich picture practise into software proved difficult, we decided to follow a user-centered approach, design and implement a prototype with basic functionalities, then run a usability test with a few students and professionals. The feedback collected in the test validated the design of our prototype, and forced us to re-consider the relationship between concrete examples and abstract concepts in rich pictures and in our tool. This unexpectedly helped us realize how to implement support for behavioral description (i.e. events), an elusive feature before the test. Moreover we gained a deeper insight on programmers’ perspective on their practise.
At a more general level we realized how modern object-oriented development methodologies, such as agile methods, are informed by design, and sometimes assume design skills that programmers do not have or do not value. An important lesson to consider carefully to keep our tool usable.

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Please don't make me draw (eKnow 2010)

  1. 1. Please don’t make me draw!Lesson learned during the development of a software to support early analysis of object-oriented systems. Andrea Valente Department of Electronic Systems, Automation & Control, Aalborg University - Esbjerg Institute of Technology Esbjerg, Denmark Emanuela Marchetti Mads Clausen Institute of Product Innovation, University of Southern Denmark Sønderborg, Denmark
  2. 2. Rich picturesRich pictures represent knowledge about a domainKnowledge acquisition during OOAHelp in construction of the system’s early prototypesA rich picture provides ”a broad,high-grained view of the problem situation”: structures processes concernsUsually: rich pictures are created with low-tech support (whiteboards, pen and paper) students use non-specific diagram- drawing tools need for acquiring knowledge incrementally FROM: A. Monk and S. Howard, Methods & tools: the rich picture: a tool for reasoning about work context.
  3. 3. Concept Maps and Text Graphs Rich pictures are related to Concept Maps (Novak) How can concept maps be made more visual ? What happens when text is replaced with pictures, in a text graphs? How to represent: structures (static aspects) and events (dynamic aspects)- A Text Graph - - A Concept Map -
  4. 4. The (prototype) toolThe new tool is called Free Sketch for Software Engineering (FSSE) minimalistic prototype FrameName : List of Tags supports rich pictures construction knowledge acquisition during the OOA phase name : TagList incremental definition of both instances and types multiple hierarchy (provides code generation)
  5. 5. DEMO
  6. 6. The TestProblem: transposing the manual rich picture practice into a software tool was difcultSolution: follow a user-centered approach -> involve students (EARLY) in a usability testAim of test: evaluate how users may perceive a tool for rich pictures easy to use if it adequately supports work-ow (for individuals and groups) collect suggestions for new features (to expand minimalistic prototype) Icons provided for the test
  7. 7. (testing methods and ... ) ResultsFindings: dont make me draw! especially on paper provide pre-made icons support for arrows keep focus on knowledge modelling works like "think aloud" -> nice for team work software tool is good -> given iterative nature of OOA, paper requires (re)drawing tags VS types (?) tags VS frame names (?) emergent usage pattern: prototypes and prototype clustering -> EVENTS!Standard qualitative methodologies from the Design fieldQuestions: method of situated interviews (interview users in their context of practice) start with open questions, then gradually focus on details of users’ statements. Ask for examples. Interviews VS questionnaires: give more possibility to express freely show them that we cared for their contribution -> more direct feedback leverage on reection in action (a process of critical thinking while performing a skilled practice)
  8. 8. Quick look at newfeatures and GUI
  9. 9. EVENTS = arrows between prototypesMain window Palette window Frames Tags Arrows between frames Prototypes = typical frames Events = arrows between prototypes new features! :Tree growInto seed stem growIntoseed1:Tree
  10. 10. Conclusion / future work No tools to support rich pictures creation, for object-oriented analysis How to validate and complete the initial prototype of the tool? involve users (i.e. students) -> usability test small group is not a problem -> we got meaningful feedback for new iteration Emergent patterns of use suggested new/better features: e.g. events Discovery: programmers values/skills do not include drawing!Long term plan: improve FSSE and test it further propose FSSE as the main tool for the OOA&D courseFuture work: Free external painter VS internal painting capabilities: provide a more uniform environment for drawing rich pictures Events will be used to validate one’s understanding of a system Plug-in mechanism: users will dene their own mapping from rich pictures to external formats/code multiple (remote) users -> CSCW