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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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