An Evaluation of Using Programming by Demonstration and Guided Walkthrough Techniques for Authoring and Utilizing Deocumentation

Much existing documentation is informal, and serves to communicate “how-to” knowledge among restricted working groups. Using current practices, such documentation is both difficult to maintain, and difficult to use properly.

In this paper, we propose a documentation system, called DocWizards, that uses programming by demonstration to support low-cost authoring, and guided walkthrough techniques to improve document usability. We report a comparative study between the use of DocWizards and of traditional techniques for authoring and following documentation. The study participants showed significant gains in efficiency and reduction in error rates when using DocWizards. In addition, they expressed a clear preference for using the DocWizards tool both for authoring and for following documentation.

By: Vittorio Castelli; Madhu Prabaker; Lawrence Bergman

Published in: RC23800 in 2005


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .