Guided Exploration: A Method for Guiding Novice Users in Interactive Memory Monitoring Tools
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer InteractionVolume 5Issue EICS
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Many monitoring tools that help developers in analyzing the run-time behavior of their applications share a common shortcoming: they require their users to have a fair amount of experience in monitoring applications to understand the used terminology and the available analysis features. Consequently, novice users who lack this knowledge often struggle to use these tools efficiently. In this paper, we introduce the guided exploration (GE) method that aims to make interactive monitoring tools easier to use and learn. In general, tools that implement GE should provide four support operations on each analysis step: they should automatically (1) detect and (2) highlight the most important information on the screen, (3) explain why it is important, and (4) suggest which next steps are appropriate. This way, tools guide users through their analysis processes, helping them to explore the root cause of a problem. At the same time, users learn the capabilities of the tool and how to use them efficiently. We show how GE can be implemented in new monitoring tools as well as how it can be integrated into existing ones. To demonstrate GE's feasibility and usefulness, we present how we extended the memory monitoring tool AntTracks to provided guided exploration support during memory leak analysis and memory churn analysis. We use these guidances in two user scenarios to inspect and improve the memory behavior of the monitored applications. We hope that our contribution will help usability researchers and developers in making monitoring tools more novice-friendly by improving their usability and learnability.