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Visual attention patterns during program debugging with an IDE

ETRA 2012Eye Tracking Research & Applications
Abstract: Integrated Development Environments (IDE) generate multiple graphical and textual representations of programs. Co-ordination of these representations during program comprehension and debugging can be a complex task. In order to better understand the role and effectiveness of multiple representations, we conducted
an empirical study of Java program debugging with a professional, multi-representation IDE. We analyzed gaze patterns by segmenting the debugging sessions into three, five and fifteen minute intervals, and classifying gazes into short and long gazes. Novel data mining techniques were used to detect high frequency patterns from eye tracking data. Visual pattern differences were found among participants based on their programming experience, familiarity with the IDE and debugging performance.

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