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UMINF 14.17

Exploring self-efficacy in end-user programming – a feminist approach

Digital services and devices are today more spread than ever, forming a basis for new innovations, even among ordinary people. And yet, producers of such services and devices are mostly men with programming skills. Women's participation in development and design of digital products is thus not yet as influential as that of men.

An approach to this situation is to offer web-based environments for end-user development where people with no programming experiences have the opportunity to develop their own smartphone applications. The SATIN project, a collaboration between universities and IT-companies, has taken such an approach, with a focus on supporting female end-users. This project has been serving as a case in this research with the purpose of exploring and understanding end-user programming related to self-efficacy and female strategies.

Experiences from being a member of the SATIN project are accounted for as well as results from qualitative observation studies capturing subjects’ reactions to the system. In the first set of observations, 9 subjects tested a mock-up version of the so-called SATIN editor, where the actual app building takes place. Later on a second set of observations with 11 subjects focused on how to support computer self-efficacy and end-user programming strategies that women prefer to a higher degree than men.

Observations indicate that the women where as positive to making use of the editor as the men. The test subjects also showed signs of motivation as well as creativity while exploring the system. An observation related to design aspects of the system was that the quality of the components that form the smartphone apps seems to be crucial if the system is expected to truly support strategies that women request.

Supporting women's own perceptions of self-efficacy related to developing computer-based systems is challenging, still indications of acceptance and enthusiasm for the system were observed. From a design perspective, using strategies and self-efficacy sources as an evaluation framework in the development process shows potential for improved design, and not only when designing for female users, but for diverse groups of users, hopefully paving the way for a more diverse community of producers of computer-based products.


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Lena Palmquist

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Entry responsible: Lena Palmquist

Page Responsible: Frank Drewes