How are diverse end-user human-centric issues discussed on GitHub?

Hourieh Khalajzadeh, Mojtaba Shahin, Humphrey O. Obie, John Grundy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Many software systems fail to meet the needs of the diverse endusers in society and are prone to pose problems, such as accessibility and usability issues. Some of these problems (partially) stem from the failure to consider the characteristics, limitations, and abilities of diverse end-users during software development. We refer to this class of problems as human-centric issues. Despite their importance, there is a limited understanding of the types of human-centric issues encountered by developers. In-depth knowledge of these human-centric issues is needed to design software systems that better meet their diverse end-users' needs. This paper aims to provide insights for the software development and research communities on which human-centric issues are a topic of discussion for developers on GitHub. We conducted an empirical study by extracting and manually analysing 1,691 issue comments from 12 diverse projects, ranging from small to large-scale projects, including projects designed for challenged end-users, e.g., visually impaired and dyslexic users. Our analysis shows that eight categories of human-centric issues are discussed by developers. These include Inclusiveness, Privacy & Security, Compatibility, Location & Language, Preference, Satisfaction, Emotional Aspects, and Accessibility. Guided by our findings, we highlight some implications and possible future paths to further understand and incorporate human-centric issues in software development to be able to design software that meets the needs of diverse end users in society. Many software systems fail to take into account diverse end user differences, such as age, gender, culture, language, physical and mental challenges, emotions, personality, and so on. This means for many users the software is difficult if not impossible to use, unengaging, disrespectful, increases the digital divide, excludes many - often vulnerable - members of society, and may even be unsafe or dangerous. GitHub is a very popular software platform used by software developers. We looked at several diverse online software projects and the discussions developers have about what we call these 'human-centric issues' in software. We learned that some issues are quite often discussed, however, many diverse end user characteristics are not well understood and many not often discussed by developers, suggesting they are not sufficiently well thought about during software development. We make some rec-ommendations for software engineers to help them better consider and take account of many of their software user differences during development. This includes taking into account these important issues; for some projects some end user differences are more important than others depending on the target users; users need better ways of reporting human-centric defects and developers need better ways of addressing human-centric issues for software; and devel-oper training to consider a variety of human-centric issues needs improving.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2022 ACM/IEEE 44th International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering in Society - ICSE-SEIS 2022
EditorsAndrew Begel, Kelly Blincoe
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781665495943
ISBN (Print)9781665495950
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2022: Software Engineering in Society - Pittsburgh, United States of America
Duration: 22 May 202227 May 2022
Conference number: 44th (Proceedings) (Website)

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN (Print)0270-5257


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2022
Abbreviated titleICSE-SEIS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • diverse end-users
  • GitHub repositories
  • human aspects
  • human-centric issues
  • software development

Cite this