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Switter: Supporting Exploration of Software Learning Materials on Social Media

There is always something new to learn about feature-rich software, even for experienced users. This paper focuses on a specific type of learning activity that we refer to as ad libitum exploration. Based on an interview study with 11 experienced software users, we define ad libitum exploration as the process of routinely seeking new software knowledge, without necessarily having a specific problem to solve. To support this activity, we designed Switter, an alternative Twitter client embedded in a replica of Photoshop’s user interface. Given a tweet referencing a tutorial, Switter highlights the interface elements mentioned in the tutorial in the interface replica. Switter also allows users to filter tweets by clicking tools in the interface replica. Through a weeklong field study with nine Photoshop experts, we found that Switter supports a range of software learning objectives, from focused exploration targeting known weaknesses, to the discovery of novel command combinations.

Dziubak, V., Dubois, P., Bunt, A., & Terry, M. (2016, June). Switter: Supporting Exploration of Software Learning Materials on Social Media. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 1209-1220). ACM.

Related Projects

Software learning


Patrick Dubois

Patrick Dubois

Andrea Bunt

Andrea Bunt


As well as: Michael Terry