WebML is a domain-specific language used to design complex data-intensive Web applications at a conceptual level. As WebML was devised to support design tasks, the need to define a visual notation for the language was identified from the very beginning. Each WebML element is consequently associated with a separate graphical symbol which was mainly defined with the idea of providing simple and expressive modelling artefacts rather than by adopting a rigorous scientific approach. As a result, the graphical models defined with WebML may sometimes prevent proper communication from taking place between the various stakeholders. In fact, this is a common issue for most of the existing model-based proposals that have emerged during the last few years under the umbrella of model-driven engineering. In order to illustrate this issue and foster in using a scientific basis to design, evaluate, improve and compare visual notations, this paper analyses WebML according to a set of solid principles, based on the theoretical and empirical evidence concerning the cognitive effectiveness of visual notations. As a result, we have identified a set of possible improvements, some of which have been verified by an empirical study. Furthermore, a number of findings, experiences and lessons learnt on the assessment of visual notations are presented.

Analysing the cognitive effectiveness of the WebML visual notation

Brambilla, Marco;
2017-01-01

Abstract

WebML is a domain-specific language used to design complex data-intensive Web applications at a conceptual level. As WebML was devised to support design tasks, the need to define a visual notation for the language was identified from the very beginning. Each WebML element is consequently associated with a separate graphical symbol which was mainly defined with the idea of providing simple and expressive modelling artefacts rather than by adopting a rigorous scientific approach. As a result, the graphical models defined with WebML may sometimes prevent proper communication from taking place between the various stakeholders. In fact, this is a common issue for most of the existing model-based proposals that have emerged during the last few years under the umbrella of model-driven engineering. In order to illustrate this issue and foster in using a scientific basis to design, evaluate, improve and compare visual notations, this paper analyses WebML according to a set of solid principles, based on the theoretical and empirical evidence concerning the cognitive effectiveness of visual notations. As a result, we have identified a set of possible improvements, some of which have been verified by an empirical study. Furthermore, a number of findings, experiences and lessons learnt on the assessment of visual notations are presented.
2017
Cognitive effectiveness; Concrete syntax; Visual communication; Visual notation; Visual syntax; Web modelling language (WebML); Software; Modeling and Simulation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1059306
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