Rapid In-Situ Mobile Experimentation through Integrated Design, Test, and Deployment
The advent of smartphones and internet tablets provides unique opportunities for running large-scale, in-situ experiments in the wild. However, the steep learning curve of building mobile applications makes it difficult for researchers to design and deploy cognitive, behavioral, and social experiments on mobile platforms. Inspired by contextual inquiries with domain researchers and a comprehensive literature survey, we present e-Chimera, a visual end-user programming environment for designing, prototyping and deploying experiments on mobile devices. The e-Chimera IDE provides a statechart-based, multi-level visual language to create experiments at the workflow, trial, and screen interaction levels. The e-Chimera Runtime, driven by a Domain-Specific Language (DSL), enables high fidelity, cross-platform application deployment. Overall, e-Chimera is highly optimized for domain researchers and offers full life cycle support for mobile experiments. Through a 24-subject study involving both domain researchers and programmers who have limited exposure to mobile programming, we found e-Chimera effective and easy to use.