PPIG 2003 - 15th Annual Workshop
Investigating the Influence of Structure on User Performance with UML Interaction Diagrams
Maria Kutar, Carol Britton, Trevor Barker, Jeni Swan
Abstract: The importance of structure in specifications and programs has long been recognised in both theoretical research and empirical studies, particularly with reference to the ease with which a reader can understand information representations. In this paper we report on an investigation, using diagrams from the Unified Modelling Language (UML), into whether different structures applied to the same information affect the ease with which readers can understand the information. Our hypothesis was that one of the structure types would produce diagrams that were easier for readers to understand than the other. However, although three studies were carried out, results in each case showed that participants performed equally well on diagrams with each type of structure. We conclude that the difference between two types of structure appears less important than the fact that the two diagram types provide both visible structure and abstractions that the reader may reason with.