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Cognitive Design Elements to Support the Construction of a Mental Model during Software Visualization

By M.-A. D. Storey, F. D. Fracchia and H. A. Müller


The scope of software visualization tools which exist for the navigation, analysis and presentation of software information varies widely. One class of tools, which we refer to as software exploration tools, provide graphical representations of software structures linked to textual views of the program source code and documentation. This paper describes a hierarchy of cognitive issues which should be considered during the design of a software exploration tool. The hierarchy of cognitive design elements is derived through the examination of program comprehension cognitive models. Examples of how existing tools address each of these issues are provided

Year: 1997
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