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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Explanations for command recommendations : an experimental study Jiresal, Rahul


Recently, evaluation of a recommender system has been beyond evaluating just the algorithm. In addition to accuracy of algorithms, user-centric approaches evaluate a system’s effectiveness in presenting recommendations, explaining recommendations and gaining users’ confidence in the system. Existing research focuses on explaining recommendations that are related to user’s current task. However, explaining recommendations can prove useful even when recommendations are not directly related to user’s current task. Recommendations of development environment commands to soft- ware developers is an example of recommendations that are not related to the user’s current task, which is primarily focussed on programming, rather than inspecting recommendations. In this dissertation, we study three different kinds of explanations for IDE commands recommended to software developers. These explanations are inspired by the common approaches based on literature in the domain. We describe a lab-based experimental study with 24 participants where they performed programming tasks on an open source project. Our results suggest that explanations affect users’ trust of recommendations, and explanations reporting the system’s confidence in recommendation affects their trust more. The explanation with system’s confidence rating of the recommendations resulted in more recommendations being investigated. However, explanations did not affect the uptake of the commands. Our qualitative results suggest that recommendations, when not user’s primary focus, should be in context of his task to be accepted more readily.

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