Cognitive ergonomic research at SAPU, Sheffield

  • T. R. G. Green
Cognitive Aspects
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 178)


This is a report on recent research by myself and my colleagues, Max Sime, Stephen Payne and David Gilmore. Where I say "we" and "our" it refers to all of us. I hope I have not misinterpreted their ideas too much.

Previous research at this Unit into the causes of difficulty in comprehending programs led us to the conclusion that it is useful to regard programs in the same light as other forms of presentation of complex information, and to ask how easy is it to extract necessary information from them. This view point emphasises the role of structure: the program structure must be easily perceived, and it must make it easy to perform the user's task given the usual human abilities and disabilities. Structure must be well-specified, visible, and appropriate.

In the first section of this paper I shall briefly outline the course of our work on program comprehension, in order to establish our views on structure. The following sections describe recent research at this Unit into the causes of difficulty in learning and using text editors. We believe that the notations of command languages and of programming languages need to satisfy very similar requirements as regards visible and appropriate structure. The final section offers some conclusions, necessarily tentative.


Text Editor Mismatch Condition Command Language Parameter String Conditional Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. G. Green
    • 2
    • 1
  1. 1.MRC/ESRC Social and Applied Psychology UnitUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldU.K.
  2. 2.Henceforth, MRC Applied Psychology UnitCambridge

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