An empirical investigation of menu design in language-based editors

Toleman, Mark A. and Welsh, Jim and Chapman, Alan J. (1992) An empirical investigation of menu design in language-based editors. Software Engineering Notes, 17 (5). pp. 41-46. ISSN 0163-5948


In program visualization some form of graphics is used to represent some aspect of a program. However, graphics are necessarily expensive with respect to 'screen real estate'. Alternatives, therefore, may be required for presentation of certain concepts fundamental to the programmer's model of a program. For example, one graphical representation of a program, written in a block-structured language like Pascal or Modula-2, is the structure chart model of the hierarchical structure of the blocks or modules making up the program. This graphic may be the most appropriate but it may not be conveniently implemented as a menu and a means of 'directly' selecting blocks of program code to view or edit. Such graphics are used extensively, for example, in the Garden environment developed at Brown University. An alternative is a text-based list of block names indented to summarize the program's structure. UQ1, a language-based editor developed at the University of Queensland, implements the concept in this manner. Both types of menu structure were examined and compared for efficiency in a direct manipulation style of interaction. In general, there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in time taken by subjects to select items from either style of menu.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version unavailable. The published version of the paper can be found at: Also published in: Software Engineering Symposium on Practical Software Development Environments: Proceedings of the fifth ACM SIGSOFT symposium on Software development environments Virginia, United States. ACM, 1992. pp. 41 - 46 ISBN:0-89791-554-2.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2009 06:45
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2013 01:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: menu design; software editors; language editors, UQ1; software engineering
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0803 Computer Software > 080305 Multimedia Programming
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080103 Computer Graphics
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0803 Computer Software > 080309 Software Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8902 Computer Software and Services > 890299 Computer Software and Services not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1145/142868.142911

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