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WAD: A Feasibility study using the Wicked Audio Debugger

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4 Author(s)
Stefik, A. ; Sch. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA ; Alexander, R. ; Patterson, R. ; Brown, J.

Contemporary programmers have a predominately visual experience. Computer code is read from sophisticated text editors, analyzed using visual tools, designed using UML, and debugged using a watch window. Little research has attempted to create tools for the non-sighted programmer, using either haptic or aural feedback. In this paper, we present WAD, the wicked audio debugger, a new debugger for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 that sonifies computer code as an aid to the programmer. This paper has two primary contributions, namely the tool itself and the results of a feasibility study. We conducted this feasibility study to test participants' ability to comprehend dynamic program behavior, including tracking the value of state variables and control flow. Results of our feasibility study show that participants were able to comprehend approximately 86% of dynamic program behavior using audio only.

Published in:

Program Comprehension, 2007. ICPC '07. 15th IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

26-29 June 2007