Visual attention and representation switching in Java program debugging: a study using eye movement tracking

Roman Bednarik; Markku Tukiainen

This paper describes a study of Java program debugging using a multiple window software debugging environment (SDE). In this study we have replicated an earlier study by Romero et al. (2002a, 2002b, 2003), but with the difference of using both the Restricted Focus Viewer and the eye tracking equipment to track the visual attention of the subjects. The study involved ten subjects debugging short Java programs using the SDE. The SDE included three different representations of the Java programs, those of the program source code, a visualization of the program, and its output concurrently in three separate panels in SDE. We used the Restricted Focus Viewer (RFV) and a remote eye tracker to collect the visual attention of the subjects. A with-in subject design, similar to Romero et al., employing both RFV/no-RVF task conditions was used.

The overall results of the time distributions over three different representations of the programs agree with the study of Romero et al. But the results of visual attention switching raise some questions to be considered in later studies. 

Type of Publication: Paper
Conference: PPIG 2004 - 16th Annual Workshop
Publication Year: 2004
Paper #: 16
TitleVisual attention and representation switching in Java program debugging: a study using eye movement tracking
Publication TypePaper
AuthorsBednarik, R, Tukiainen, M
PPIG Workshop: 
2004-04-16th