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Development and evaluation of a visual development environment for Tablet-PCs or Pads

Diploma Thesis
Alexander Friesen

Context

 
In the Informatics School Laboratory „InfoSphere“(external link), pupils are able to learn about computer science in a self-paced and explorative way. In one module, pupils program LEGO robots using a C-like programming language on a conventional PC.

Studies have proven that visual programming languages, like Alice(external link) or Scratch(external link), ease the first steps in learning a programming language and thus achieving fast learning success. Tablet-PCs or Pads enable a direct interaction with the user interface; due to their size, they ease the collaborative work of the pupils.

Task

Within this project, a visual programming environment for mobile devices with a touch-screen is to be developed; these devices employ the operating system Android. Appropriate interfaces have to be developed to enable communication to other devices. As a proof-of-concept, the visual programming of LEGO robots should be possible. The developed solution is to be evaluated with real users, concerning the aspects learnability, operability and acceptance. The thesis can be written in English or German.

Requirements

  • Experience in object-oriented programming with Java
  • Good knowledge in programming for Android-systems
  • If possible, knowledge in user-centered design

 

A brief project description

 
The aim of this work was to examine the question of whether the block programming
language metaphor is suitable for touch interfaces, by
creating a working prototype of a block programming language
for Android OS driven tablets.

Block programming language was chosen as a development environment for this project, because
they are well qualified to learn the
basics of programming, since they are capable to prevent the
user from making syntactical errors, if the logical constraints are
used properly. This is important, because touch interface does not provide the efficiency of desktop programming environments, and so the programming novices were considered as the target group of this project.

The accentuation was made on the
design and development, however in the last chapters of this work the initial evaluation on whether the users are more
motivated by using block programming language on tablets,
than on static desktop computers are made too.

The outcome of this project is a prototype, which has passed the
first user tests and the evaluation of the prototypes interface and
it’s effect on the user tests participants. The participants showed
a great motivation on the project idea, the prototype was graded
as exciting during the final user study.

This video demostrates a user, working with the tablet-development-environment prototype.

Flash player not available.

 

Contact

  • Philipp Brauner,
  • Hendrik Thüs,

Created by Philipp 'Lipflip' Brauner. Last Modification: Thursday, 22. March 2012 10:12:37 by friesen.