Building an Ecologically valid, Large-scale Diagram to Help Developers Stay Oriented in Their Code

My paper on the CodeMap project was recently published in the IEEE explorer. The paper was presented by Gina Venolia during the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing.

Cherubini, M., Venolia, G., and DeLine, R. Building an ecologically-valid, large-scale diagram to help developers stay oriented in their code. In Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC’07) (Coeur d’Alène, Idaho, USA, September 23-27 2007), IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 157–160. [pdf]

This paper presents the creation, deployment, and evaluation of a large-scale, spatially-stable, paper-based visualization of a software system. The visualization was created for a single team, who were involved systematically in its initial design and subsequent design iterations. The evaluation indicates that the visualization supported the “onboarding” scenario but otherwise failed to realize the research team’s expectations. We present several lessons learned, and cautions to future research into large scale, spatially-stable visualizations of software systems.

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