Unlocking visual understanding: Towards effective keys for diagrams

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Diagrams are (meant to be) effective communication supports to convey information to stakeholders. Being communication supports, they have to be quickly and accurately understood. To enable immediateness, many disciplines such as cartography rely on keys, which categorise diagram symbols and bind them to their meaning. Software engineering extensively relies on visual languages such as UML to communicate amongst the many stakeholders involved in information systems’ life-cycle. Yet, keys are barely used in these diagrams, hindering (immediate) understanding and limiting it to language experts. We provide a disciplined approach to design effective keys, by adapting graphic semiology theory and cartographers’ know-how to software diagrams.We illustrate our method on a UML class diagram. Designing effective keys raises questions about the concerns and tasks to be addressed by the diagram, and even, reveals issues about the language itself.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConceptual Modeling - 35th International Conference, ER 2016, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Pages505-512
Number of pages8
Volume9974 LNCS
ISBN (Print)9783319463964
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event35th International Conference on Conceptual Modelling, ER 2016 held in conjunction with Workshops on AHA, MoBiD, MORE-BI, MReBA, QMMQ, SCME and WM2SP, 2016 - Gifu, Japan
Duration: 14 Nov 201617 Nov 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume9974 LNCS
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349

Conference

Conference35th International Conference on Conceptual Modelling, ER 2016 held in conjunction with Workshops on AHA, MoBiD, MORE-BI, MReBA, QMMQ, SCME and WM2SP, 2016
CountryJapan
CityGifu
Period14/11/1617/11/16

Keywords

  • Caption
  • Diagram understandability
  • Key
  • Legend
  • Visual effectiveness
  • Visual immediacy
  • Visual modelling language

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