I’m moving…

From now on, instead of posting on blogs.gotdotnet.com, I’ll be posting to weblogs.asp.net/stevencl instead. If anyone is interested in catching up on the series of postings on how to use the Cognitive Dimensions to evaluate your own API, I’ve added a couple of new posts there.

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Using the Cognitive Dimensions – Progressive Evaluation

Here’s the next in the series of posts for using the Cognitive Dimensions framework… For each user goal that the API supports, describe the tasks that the user has to implement to accomplish that goal. For example, in the System.IO namespace one goal might be to append a line of text to a file. For…

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Using the Cognitive Dimensions – Work Step Unit

Continuing my series of posts on using the cognitive dimensions framework. I have a few to catch up on…here’s the next on how to evaluate the work step unit for your API.   For each user goal that the API supports, describe the tasks that the user has to implement to accomplish that goal. For example,…

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Should collection based properties be read only?

An interesting question came up today on the issue of making all collection based properties read only. In the usability studies we’ve done up to now, we’ve primarily focused on collection based properties where the class exposing the property can truly claim responsibility for populating the collection (e.g., the Files collection of a Folder object)….

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Using the cognitive dimensions – working framework

  The next installment in using the cognitive dimensions… For each user goal that the API supports, describe the minimum amount of information that the user needs to maintain while working with the API. This is different to the learning style which refers to the way that the user gains the information they need. Working…

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System.Xml or System.XML?

Brad Abrams recently asked me if I knew of any research that investigated whether or not mixed case words (WebClient) are easier to recognize than all upper case words (WEBCLIENT).   I wasn t immediately aware of any research on this issue so I turned to the folks on the PPIG discussion list (sign up…

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Sidebar API usability study

We just finished up a usability study investigating the new Sidebar and Tile APIs. We asked participants to write code to accomplish the following: Create a tile that says ‘Hello World’. Create a tile that displays an image covering the whole tile and that additionally displays a smaller image on top, only whenever the user…

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Using the cognitive dimensions, continued – learning style

Here’s the next howto on how to analyse an API using the cognitive dimensions framework. As always, your comments are much appreciated!   For each user goal that the API supports, describe the minimum understanding of the API that the user needs in order to accomplish that goal. The minimum understanding lists the classes or…

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More cognitive dimensions links

I should have posted these a while ago… Alan Blackwell works on the cognitive dimensions framework as part of his larger research program on the psychology of programming and has many useful links to papers etc on his page. Thomas Green originally developed the framework and has been the inspiration for a lot of the recent…

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Sign up for a usability study

If you’d like to get the chance to participate in an API usability study and give us your feedback about Avalon, Indigo, WinFS or other APIs, sign up as a usability participant at http://www.microsoft.com/usability/. We’re running studies fairly regularly (for example, next week we are running studies on the Avalon Sidebar API and on the…

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