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See detailVisual Notation Design 2.0: Towards User-Comprehensible RE Notations
Caire, Patrice UL; Genon, Nicolas; Heymans, patrick et al

in Proceedings of the 21st IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (2013)

The success of requirements engineering depends critically on effective communication between business analysts and end users, yet empirical studies show that business stakeholders understand RE notations ... [more ▼]

The success of requirements engineering depends critically on effective communication between business analysts and end users, yet empirical studies show that business stakeholders understand RE notations very poorly. This paper proposes a novel approach to designing RE visual notations that actively involves naïve users in the process. We use i*, one of the most influential RE notations, to demonstrate the approach, but the same approach could be applied to any RE notation. We present the results of 5 related empirical studies that show that novices consistently outperform experts in designing symbols that are comprehensible to novices: the differences are both statistically significant and practically meaningful. Symbols designed by novices increased semantic transparency (their ability to be spontaneously interpreted by other novices) by almost 300% compared to the existing i* notation. The results challenge the conventional wisdom about visual notation design: that it should be conducted by a small group of experts; our research suggests that instead it should be conducted by large numbers of novices. This approach is consistent with principles of Web 2.0, in that it harnesses the collective intelligence of end users and actively involves them in the notation design process as “prosumers” rather than as passive consumers. We believe this approach has the potential to radically change the way visual notations are designed in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards a More Semantically Transparent i* Visual Syntax
Genon, Nicolas; Caire, Patrice UL; Toussaint, Hubert et al

in Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality - Essen, Germany, March 19-22, 2012 (2012)

i* is one of the most popular modelling languages in Requirements Engineering. i* models are meant to support communication between technical and non-technical stakeholders about the goals of the future ... [more ▼]

i* is one of the most popular modelling languages in Requirements Engineering. i* models are meant to support communication between technical and non-technical stakeholders about the goals of the future system. Recent research has established that the effectiveness of model mediated communication heavily depends on the visual syntax of the modelling language. A number of flaws in the visual syntax of i* have been uncovered and possible improvements have been suggested. Producing effective visual notations is a complex task that requires taking into account various interacting quality criteria. In this paper, we focus on one of those criteria: Semantic Transparency, that is, the ability of notation symbols to suggest their meaning. Complementarily to previous research, we take an empirical approach. We give a preview of a series of experiments designed to identify a new symbol set for i* and to evaluate its semantic transparency. The reported work is an important milestone on the path towards cognitively effective requirements modelling notations. Although it does not solve all the problems in the i* notation, it illustrates the usefulness of an empirical approach to visual syntax definition. This approach can later be transposed to other quality criteria and other notations. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards Temporal Conviviality Measures
Caire, Patrice UL; Alcalde, Baptiste UL; van der Torre, Leon UL et al

in Benelux Conference on Artificial Intelligence (2011)

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