The Practice of Enterprise Modeling

Volume 39 of the series Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing pp 161-175

The Impact of Secondary Notation on Process Model Understanding

  • Matthias SchrepferAffiliated withHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • , Johannes WolfAffiliated withHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • , Jan MendlingAffiliated withHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • , Hajo A. ReijersAffiliated withEindhoven University of Technology


Models of business processes are usually created and presented using some visual notation. In this way, one can express important activities, milestones, and actors of a process using interconnected graphical symbols. While it has been established for other types of models that their graphical layout is a factor in making sense of these, this aspect has not been investigated in the business process modeling area. This paper proposes a set of propositions about the effects of the secondary notation, which entails layout, on process model comprehension. While individual graphical readership and pattern recognition skills are known mediators in interpreting visual cues, these propositions take expertise into account. The goal of this paper is to lay the foundation of follow-up, empirical investigations to challenge these propositions.


process modeling secondary notation comprehension modeling expertise