Characterizing scalability issues in spreadsheet software using online forums

Kelly Mack, John Lee, Kevin Chang, Karrie Karahalios, Aditya Parameswaran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In traditional usability studies, researchers talk to users of tools to understand their needs and challenges. Insights gained via such interviews offer context, detail, and background. Due to costs in time and money, we are beginning to see a new form of tool interrogation that prioritizes scale, cost, and breadth by utilizing existing data from online forums. In this case study, we set out to apply this method of using online forum data to a specific issue—challenges that users face with Excel spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are a versatile and powerful processing tool if used properly. However, with versatility and power come errors, from both users and the software, which make using spreadsheets less effective. By scraping posts from the website Reddit, we collected a dataset of questions and complaints about Excel. Specifically, we explored and characterized the issues users were facing with spreadsheet software in general, and in particular, as resulting from a large amount of data in their spreadsheets. We discuss the implications of our findings on the design of next-generation spreadsheet software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationEngage with CHI
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356206, 9781450356213
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Apr 21 2018Apr 26 2018

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2018-April

Other

Other2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2018
CountryCanada
CityMontreal
Period4/21/184/26/18

Keywords

  • Excel
  • Reddit
  • Scalability
  • Spreadsheets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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  • Cite this

    Mack, K., Lee, J., Chang, K., Karahalios, K., & Parameswaran, A. (2018). Characterizing scalability issues in spreadsheet software using online forums. In CHI 2018 - Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Engage with CHI [CS04] (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2018-April). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3170427.3174359