Assessing the impact of hierarchy on model understandability - a cognitive perspective

Stefan Zugal, Jakob Pinggera, Barbara Weber, Jan Mendling, Hajo A. Reijers

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

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Modularity is a widely advocated strategy for handling complexity in conceptual models. Nevertheless, a systematic literature review revealed that it is not yet entirely clear under which circumstances modularity is most beneficial. Quite the contrary, empirical findings are contradictory, some authors even show that modularity can lead to decreased model understandability. In this work, we draw on insights from cognitive psychology to develop a framework for assessing the impact of hierarchy on model understandability. In particular, we identify abstraction and the split-attention effect as two opposing forces that presumably mediate the influence of modularity. Based on our framework, we describe an approach to estimate the impact of modularization on understandability and discuss implications for experiments investigating the impact of modularization on conceptual models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModels in Software Engineering - Workshops and Symposia at MODELS 2011, Reports and Revised Selected Papers
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer
Pages123-133
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-29645-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-29644-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2012
EventWorkshops and Symposia on Models in Software Engineering, MODELS 2011 - Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 16 Oct 201121 Oct 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7167 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

ConferenceWorkshops and Symposia on Models in Software Engineering, MODELS 2011
CountryNew Zealand
CityWellington
Period16/10/1121/10/11

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