- Spreadsheet programming is ubiquitous in businesses today. Spreadsheets are frequently created by end users with little or no programming experience. Unfortunately spreadsheets often contain errors. For example, 54 field audits of spreadsheets showed that 91 % of the spreadsheets contained errors [ 15]. Our research is aimed at bringing the benefits of software engineering to help end users create reliable spreadsheets without requiring that they first learn the underlying software engineering principles. Encouraging the end user to test spreadsheets as they incrementally develop them can help reduce errors.
One methodology that has been developed to encourage the end users to test their spreadsheet is the "What You See Is What You Test" (WYSIWYT) methodology. WYSIWYT provides feedback about the testedness of individual cells and the entire spreadsheet. Although WYSIWYT has been effective in reducing errors while developing and maintaining spreadsheets, often a user realizes the need to test a particular part of the spreadsheet but is not sure how to generate test cases for that part. One of the recent additions to WYSIWYT methodology is a tool called "Help Me Test" (HMT). HMT makes the task of testing easy for the end user by helping him or her develop test cases. This work describes a think aloud study that investigated how well end users understand and use the HMT tool as they perform maintenance tasks and investigated the efficacy of the tool in performing these tasks. The study also provides insight about end user testing behavior.