The Role of User Factors on the Ease of Using Graphical Notation Systems
Authors: Martina Ziefle, Katrin Arning
Abstract: In this study, the usability and the learnability of Graphical notation systems in process modeling languages (PMM) are examined. The learnability of PMMs largely depends on the individual PMM knowledge of employees, but also on process-specific knowledge about task elements, process routines and required resources. Differing cognitive abilities might also hamper a correct understanding of process models. Applying a user-centered research approach, a three-step experimental procedure was carried out focusing on the usability of PMM. First, a usability analysis of the graphical notation system of the C3 PMM was conducted, using a naming task (n = 35) and the sign production method (n = 30) in order to check the understandability of the original elements of the C3 - PPM. On the base of the outcomes, elements were reshaped in a second step. Third, the comprehensibility and the learnability of the C3 notation system were assessed (n = 22). In addition, the impact of user factors on learnability and comprehensibility of notation elements was analyzed. The findings show that the efficiency and the effectiveness of graphical notation systems depend on the degree to which user-centered design principles are carefully considered. Usability evaluation methods from the Human-Computer Interaction research were successfully applied to industrial contexts.
Keywords: graphical notation systems, process modeling languages, usability, learnability, user diversity, sign production, Human System Integration
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