An automated marking system for graphical user interfaces

Gray, Geoffrey Richard (2008) An automated marking system for graphical user interfaces. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This research investigates the feasibility and effectiveness of assessing students programming solutions to Graphical User Interface exercises in an automated fashion. Automated marking systems ease the burden on the staff involved in running a course and allow students to get results and feedback in a timely fashion. Several automated marking systems exist but are currently unable to mark GUIs. The inherent complexity of GUIs and the need for aesthetic analysis has rendered GUIs beyond the scope of most marking systems.

The marking approach described in this thesis implements a number of novel concepts. By exploiting language design properties such as the hierarchical relationship between components, it was possible to develop a framework capable of testing and marking students' GUI programs. Introspectively analysing the interface enables the marking system to obtain access to the intrinsic elements contained within the GUI. Once access has been obtained, the tests can be performed on the actual interface components themselves rather than a mere representation. GUI assessment is more than functional testing, aesthetics play a major role in the creation of an interface. Existing aesthetic metrics do not provide the analytical capabilities required due to their failure to include colour. The distractive effects that colours have were quantified and incorporated into the metrics.

The results of the dynamic and aesthetic testing show that through the implementation of the novel components detailed, the creation of a GUI marking system is feasible and its marking both consistent and effective. The design enables the system to return results in a timely fashion and the effects that colour has can be seen in the results of basic aesthetic testing.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Higgins, C.A.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Graphical User Interface, GUI, automated marking systems
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:2361
Deposited By:Ms. K EVANS
Deposited On:16 Dec 2011 09:50
Last Modified:16 Dec 2011 09:51

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