Amber Horvath

Hey, I'm Amber Horvath! I'm a second-year PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. I study how developers utilize learning resources while learning unfamiliar APIs, where I'm am advised by Dr. Brad Myers. I completed my undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Oregon State University, where I researched end-user programming, information foraging by developers when debugging, and evaluating software for gender biases with Dr. Margaret Burnett. For a comprehensive look at my work history, you can find my CV here.


API Usability

My current project is designing tooling solutions for helping developers keep track of and better utilize online resources while learning unfamiliar APIs. I have developed a Chrome Extension called Adamite that aims to support developers sensemaking during API learning tasks through creating and keeping track of developers’ questions, personal to-do items, and shared resources while using documentation. This is part of a larger project on understanding developers needs when learning new APIs. My previous projects in this area included understanding developers’ mental models of API concepts and how developers discover functionality in new APIs.

In-Submission - Augmenting Software Documentation through Crowd-sourcing Annotations with ADAMITE

VL/HCC 2019 - The Long Tail: Understanding the Discoverability of API Functionality

CHI Late-Breaking Work 2019 - Methods for Investigating Mental Models For Learners of APIs (Poster Version)


The GenderMag method helps software developers and usability professionals find and fix software features that may have gender-inclusiveness “bugs”. I assisted in the creation and evaluation of GenderMag as a method software developers may employ to create more inclusive software by finding places where software features may be designed to cater to one cognitive processing style over another, where these cognitive processing styles tend to differ by gender. Dr. Burnett is continuing work on this project, so please inquire with her if you would like to try the GenderMag method yourself!

VL/HCC 2018 - Semi-Automating (or not) a Socio-Technical Method for Socio-Technical Systems

ICSE 2018 - Open Source Barriers to Entry, Revisited: A Sociotechnical Persepctive

VL/HCC 2016 - GenderMag Experiences in the Field: The Whole, the Parts, and the Workload

Idea Garden

The Idea Garden is a scaffolded help system designed to aid end-user programmers (people who program as part of their job but may have no formal training in software engineering) write more effective code by teaching them fundamental programming strategies and idioms. I assisted in the evaluation of the Idea Garden as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Burnett’s lab.

JVLC 2017 - General Principles for a Generalized Idea Garden

VL/HCC 2015 - A Principled Evaluation for a Principled Idea Garden

VL/HCC 2014 - Principles of a Debugging-First Puzzle Game for Computing Education

VL/HCC 2013 - Principles of a Debugging-First Puzzle Game for Computing Education