Facilitating End User Database Development by Working with Users' Natural Representations of Data

Facilitating End User Database Development by Working with Users' Natural Representations of Data

Valerie J. Hobbs (Murdoch University, Australia) and Diarmuid J. Pigott (Murdoch University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-931777-13-1.ch016
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Abstract

One of the main advantages of user-developed applications is considered to be the greater familiarity the users themselves have with the problem domain, and hence the greater likelihood of their creating an application that meets their needs. However, it is equally frequently reported that many end users lack the skills to develop applications that are of a high quality. Database modelling and relational database design, in particular, are known to be problematic for novices. We present two case studies in which the first stage of the development process was completed entirely by the end user, making use of their own understanding of the dataset, the problem domain, and tools that were familiar to them. In each case, they had represented the data in the form of lists. An IT expert then facilitated the conversion of the dataset to a relational database, with the participation of the end users throughout the process. The end users were able to see the concepts of database design emerge naturally from a problem that was already familiar to them, and to understand their importance in a practical manner.

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