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On the Semantic Transparency of Visual Notations: Experiments with UML

Abstract : Graphical notations designed by committees in the context of standardization bodies, like Object Management Group (OMG), are widely used in the industry and academia. Naive users of these notations have limited background on visualization, documentation and specification of workflows, data or software systems. Several studies have pointed out the fact that these notations do not convey any particular semantics and their understanding is not perceptually immediate. As reported in these studies, this lack of semantic transparency increases the cog-nitive load to differentiate between concepts, slows down the learning and comprehension of the language constructs. This paper reports on a set of experiments that confirm the lack of semantic transparency of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as designed by OMG and compares this standard to alternative solutions where naive users are involved in the design of the notations to speed-up the learning of these languages to new users.
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https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01215134
Contributor : Amine El Kouhen <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 3:35:02 PM
Last modification on : Friday, December 11, 2020 - 6:44:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 5:00:28 PM

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Amine El Kouhen, Abdelouahed Gherbi, Cédric Dumoulin, Ferhat Khendek. On the Semantic Transparency of Visual Notations: Experiments with UML. 17th International SDL Forum, Oct 2015, Berlin, Germany. pp.122-137, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-24912-4_10⟩. ⟨hal-01215134⟩

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