Graphical vs. Tabular Notations for Risk Models: On the Role of Textual Labels and Complexity
Katsiaryna Labunets, Fabio Massacci, and Alessandra Tedeschi. Graphical vs. Tabular Notations for Risk Models: On the Role of Textual Labels and Complexity. In Proc. of ESEM 2017. IEEE, 2017.
20 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 22, 2017
[Background] Security risk assessment methods in industry mostly use a tabular notation to represent the assessment results whilst academic works advocate graphical methods. Experiments with MSc students showed that the tabular notation is better than an iconic graphical notation for the comprehension of security risks.
[Aim] We investigate whether the availability of textual labels and terse UML-style notation could improve comprehensibility.
[Method] We report the results of an online comprehensibility experiment involving 61 professionals with an average of 9 years of working experience, in which we compared the ability to comprehend security risk assessments represented in tabular, UML-style with textual labels, and iconic graphical modeling notations.
[Results] Tabular notation are still the most comprehensible notion in both recall and precision. However, the presence of textual labels does improve the precision and recall of participants over iconic graphical models.
[Conclusion] Tabular representation better supports extraction of correct information of both simple and complex comprehensibility questions about security risks than the graphical notation but textual labels help.
Keywords: Empirical Study, Security Risk Assessment, Risk Modeling, Comprehensibility, Cognitive Fit
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation