Diagram Size vs. Layout Flaws: Understanding Quality Factors of UML Diagrams: Understanding Quality Factors of UML Diagrams

Harald Störrle

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Abstract

Context: Previously, we have defined the notion of diagram size and studied its impact on the understanding of UML diagrams. Subsequently, questions have been raised regarding the reliability and generality of our findings. Also, new questions arose regarding how the quality of diagrams could be defined, and how it interacts with diagram size. Goal: We pursue three goals. First, we want to increase the validity of our research by analyzing a substantially larger data set than before. Second, we broaden the generalizability of our results by including two more diagram types. Our main contribution, though, is our third goal of extending our analysis aspects of diagram quality. Method: We improve our definition of diagram size and add a (provisional) definition of diagram quality as the number of topographic layout flaws. We apply these metrics on 60 diagrams of the five most commonly used types of UML diagram. We carefully analyze the structure of our diagram samples to ensure representativeness. We correlate diagram size and layout quality with modeler performance data obtained in previous experiments. The data set is the largest of its kind (n-156). Results: We replicate earlier findings, and extend them to two new diagram types. We provide an improved definition of diagram size, and provide a definition of topographic layout quality, which is one more step towards a comprehensive definition of diagram quality as such. Both metrics are shown to be objectively applicable. We quantify the impact of diagram size and quality on diagram understanding. Conclusions: The overall results of previous studies are confirmed, while our previous recommendations for creating better diagrams are revised and refined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESEM '16 Proceedings of the 10th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2016
Pagesa31
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4427-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event10th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement - Ciudad Real, Spain
Duration: 8 Sep 20169 Sep 2016

Conference

Conference10th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Country/TerritorySpain
CityCiudad Real
Period08/09/201609/09/2016
SeriesInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
ISSN1949-3789

Keywords

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Software engineering
  • Data set
  • Layout quality
  • Performance data
  • Quality factors
  • UML diagrams
  • Graphic methods

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