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Communications of the ACM


Designing UIs for Static-Analysis Tools

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Past research has shown that static-analysis tools suffer from common usability issues such as a high rate of false positives, lack of responsiveness, and unclear warning descriptions and classifications. Although these tools have grown more complex and their industry usage has spread, those issues have remained prominent.6,7,9,11,13,15,19,20

To address the usability issues of static-analysis tools, Lisa Nguyen Quang Do et al.20 proposed a user-centered approach to designing these tools during the development of the analysis, as opposed to keeping the development of the analysis and its user interface (UI) separate. To this end, they defined 10 guidelines for designing the UI of an analysis tool. The authors extracted those guidelines from existing literature and a study that they have conducted across 17 static-analysis tools and 87 software developers at Software AG. The guidelines consider analysis engine requirements, user behavior, reporting platforms, and the effects of company policies on the usage and adoption of static-analysis tools.18


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