CSC 395 (Fall 2021)

Demonstration Exercise 7

Heuristic Evaluation of Your Programming Environment

With your weekly group, you will perform a short heuristic evaluation of the Sonic-pi programming environment for live music coding this Friday. For this demonstration exercise, you will perform a heuristic evaluation of your own development environment. You may choose any development environment that you use on a regular basis, e.g., for programming in your primary language of choice or developing documents in LaTeX.

Like the weekly activity, follow the recipe for conducting a heuristic evaluation from the reading:

  1. Gather the heuristics of interest you want to consider. You may use Nielsen and Molich heuristics from the reading, heuristics that you find in other resources, e.g., on the Wikipedia article for heuristic design, or heuristics that might be unique or relevant to your context.
  2. Because you are the evaluator and you are likely already familiar with the environment, you can immediately identify three elements of the environment you wish to evaluate In this case, you might think of the “elements” in terms of larger feature sets that accomplish a major goal, e.g*, code editing, project management, debugging, compilation, or settings management. If you can readily identify other meaningful elements of the environment that interest you, feel free to explore them!
  3. For each element, perform one or more tasks using that element and evaluate the element using the heuristics you identified in the first step. Identify for each task which of your heuristics was relevant and for each such heuristic, whether the element satisfies that heuristics or not. You should spend a few sentences justifying each of your decisions, ideally by appealing to a concrete example of success or failure from your experimentation.
  4. Finally, from your list of successes and failures, describe in a paragraph a piece the three most impactful ways (in your opinion) that your development environment could be improved and what such an improvement might look like.

Write up your results in a PDF and submit this report to Gradescope.