An Empirical Review of the Connection Between Model Viewer Characteristics and the Comprehension of Conceptual Process Models

Jan Mendling*, Jan Recker, Hajo A. Reijers, Henrik Leopold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding conceptual models of business domains is a key skill for practitioners tasked with systems analysis and design. Research in this field predominantly uses experiments with specific user proxy cohorts to examine factors that explain how well different types of conceptual models can be comprehended by model viewers. However, the results from these studies are difficult to compare. One key difficulty rests in the unsystematic and fluctuating consideration of model viewer characteristics (MVCs) to date. In this paper, we review MVCs used in prominent prior studies on conceptual model comprehension. We then design an empirical review of the influence of MVCS through a global, cross-sectional experimental study in which over 500 student and practitioner users were asked to answer comprehension questions about a prominent type of conceptual model - BPMN process models. As an experimental treatment, we used good versus bad layout in order to increase the variance of performance. Our results show MVC to be a multi-dimensional construct. Moreover, process model comprehension is related in different ways to different traits of the MVC construct. Based on these findings, we offer guidance for experimental designs in this area of research and provide implications for the study of MVCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
Volume2018
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • BPMN
  • Conceptual modeling
  • Experiment
  • Literature review
  • Model viewer characteristics
  • Process modeling

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