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Programming may be more di$cult than necessary because it requires solutions to be expressed in ways that are not familiar or natural for beginners. To identify what is natural, this article examines the ways that non-programmers express solutions to problems that were chosen to be representative of common programming tasks. The vocabulary and structure in(More)
We present an evaluation of a multimedia educational software system that includes text, graphics, animations, and simulations. When compared with an informationally equivalent control environment that used text and carefully selected still images, we found little evidence that the dynamic presentations enhanced student understanding of the declarative(More)
A programming system is the user interface between the programmer and the computer. Programming is a notoriously difficult activity, and some of this difficulty can be attributed to the user interface as opposed to other factors. Historically, the designs of programming languages and tools have not emphasized usability. This paper describes the process we(More)
Over the last six years, we have been working to create programming languages and environments that are more natural, or closer to the way people think about their tasks. Our goal is to make it possible for people to express their ideas in the same way they think about them. To achieve this, we have performed various studies about how people think about(More)
We combined previous research on GOMS modeling with some simple assumptions about visual search strategies to make zero-parameter predictions of the time necessary to perform a task on four different graphic and textual displays. We compared these predictions to empirical measures of performance time and obtained an absolute average percent difference of(More)
HANDS is a new programming system for children that was designed for usability. This paper examines the effectiveness of three features of HANDS: queries, aggregate operations, and data visibility. The system is compared with a limited version that lacks these features. In the limited version, programmers can achieve the same results but must use more(More)
This product is part of the RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment but have not been formally edited or peer reviewed. Unless otherwise(More)