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ICSE 2023
Sun 14 - Sat 20 May 2023 Melbourne, Australia

Social coding platforms such as GitHub have become defacto environments for collaborative programming and open source. When these platforms do not support specific cognitive styles, they create barriers to programming for some populations. Research shows that the cognitive styles typically favored by women are often unsupported, creating barriers to entry for woman newcomers. In this paper, we use the GenderMag method to evaluate GitHub to find cognitive style-specific inclusivity bugs. We redesigned the “buggy” GitHub features through a web browser plugin, which we evaluated through a between-subjects experiment (n=75). Our results indicate that the changes to the interface improve users’ performance and self-efficacy, mainly for individuals with cognitive styles more common to women. Our results can inspire designers of social coding platforms and software engineering tools to produce more inclusive development environments.