Involving End-users in Database Design - The RAINBOW Approach

Ravi Ramdoyal, Jean-Luc Hainaut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The first step of most information systems design methodologies consists in eliciting part of the user requirements from various sources such as user interviews and corporate documents. Regarding the core of the information system, that is, the database, these requirements are formalised into a conceptual schema of the application domain. Despite the intuitiveness and expressiveness qualities of conceptual formalisms, conceptual schemas have proved difficult to validate due to understandability limitations from the end-users standpoint. On the contrary, electronic forms are known to be a natural and intuitive way to express data requirements for laymen. Besides, the necessity to associate end-users of a future system with its specification and development steps has long been advocated. In this paper, we study data requirements elicitation techniques relying on user-drawn electronic forms. We explore the reverse engineering of form-based interfaces to perform an interactive database conceptual analysis, and subsequently present the tool-supported RAINBOW approach resulting from this investigation. This user-oriented approach relies on the adaptation and integration of principles and techniques coming from various fields of study, ranging from database forward and reverse engineering to prototyping and participatory design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal on Computer Science and Information Systems (IJCSIS)
Issue number2
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


  • Information Systems
  • Participatory Design.
  • Requirements Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Human-Computer Interfaces
  • Database Reverse Engineering
  • Database Forward Engineering


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