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An exploratory study on user interaction challenges when handling interconnected requirements artifacts of various sizes


Ghazi, Parisa; Glinz, Martin (2016). An exploratory study on user interaction challenges when handling interconnected requirements artifacts of various sizes. In: Proceedings of the 24th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, Beijing, China, 12 September 2016 - 16 September 2016.

Abstract

Requirements documentation is essential for developing software systems of non-trivial size. The cost of creating and maintaining documentation artifacts in terms of time and effort is significantly influenced by the tools with which engineers view, navigate and edit documentation artifacts. However, there is not much evidence about how well documentation tools actually support engineers, particularly when dealing with artifacts that are larger than the available display screen and with multiple artifacts at the same time. Therefore, we conducted an exploratory study based on 29 interviews with software practitioners to understand the current practice of presenting and manipulating artifacts in documentation tools, and how practitioners deal with the challenges encountered. Our study shows that a significant number of artifacts cannot be viewed entirely, even on large screens. Moreover, more than half of the participants use four or more artifacts concurrently. Nevertheless, current tools only provide primitive capabilities for handling concurrent and large artifacts, thus forcing engineers to create, for example, mental images of the currently used artifacts or use workarounds such as hanging printouts to the wall. Our results may trigger new research and help improve requirements engineering tools.

Abstract

Requirements documentation is essential for developing software systems of non-trivial size. The cost of creating and maintaining documentation artifacts in terms of time and effort is significantly influenced by the tools with which engineers view, navigate and edit documentation artifacts. However, there is not much evidence about how well documentation tools actually support engineers, particularly when dealing with artifacts that are larger than the available display screen and with multiple artifacts at the same time. Therefore, we conducted an exploratory study based on 29 interviews with software practitioners to understand the current practice of presenting and manipulating artifacts in documentation tools, and how practitioners deal with the challenges encountered. Our study shows that a significant number of artifacts cannot be viewed entirely, even on large screens. Moreover, more than half of the participants use four or more artifacts concurrently. Nevertheless, current tools only provide primitive capabilities for handling concurrent and large artifacts, thus forcing engineers to create, for example, mental images of the currently used artifacts or use workarounds such as hanging printouts to the wall. Our results may trigger new research and help improve requirements engineering tools.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Event End Date:16 September 2016
Deposited On:22 Sep 2016 07:00
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 20:25
Publisher:IEEE
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/RE.2016.52
Official URL:http://re16.org/pages/conference/conference_program/
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:13680

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