Guiding Attention in Flow-Based Conceptual Models Through Consistent Flow and Pattern Visibility

40 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2023

See all articles by Kathrin Figl

Kathrin Figl

University of Innsbruck

Pnina Soffer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Barbara Weber

University of St. Gallen

Abstract

A critical part of flow-based conceptual modeling, such as process modeling, is visualizing the logical and temporal sequence in which activities in a process should be completed. While there are established standards and recommendations, no empirical research has examined the influence of process model layout on model understanding. To address this research gap, we conducted a controlled eye-tracking experiment with 70 participants, comparing various layouts. The experimental results confirm that visibility of control flow patterns is critical for assisting users with visual processing, specifically attention allocation when comprehending process models for both local comprehension tasks and tasks requiring cognitive integration of model components. In models with greater directional changes, users’ visual attention is drawn more to irrelevant regions, but comprehension is less affected as long as patterns remain visible. Our findings do not only elucidate how cognitive fit between a visual representation and a task may manifest itself and the perceptual benefits it brings, but can also guide the automated layout of models in tools and supplement practical process modeling guidelines.

Keywords: process models, conceptual models, layout, eye-tracking, model comprehension

Suggested Citation

Figl, Kathrin and Soffer, Pnina and Weber, Barbara, Guiding Attention in Flow-Based Conceptual Models Through Consistent Flow and Pattern Visibility. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4648199 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4648199

Kathrin Figl (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Pnina Soffer

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Barbara Weber

University of St. Gallen

Rosenbergstrasse 30
ICS-HSG
St.Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

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