Evaluating the Intelligibility of Diagrammatic Languages Used in the Specification of Software

  • Carol Britton
  • Sara Jones
  • Maria Kutar
  • Martin Loomes
  • Brian Robinson
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1889)


This paper presents an approach to evaluating the intelligibility of diagrammatic languages used in the specification of software. Research suggests that specification languages can be assessed in terms of properties that influence the intelligibility of representations produced using the languages. The paper describes the properties identified and highlights three in particular that have been shown to influence the intelligibility of representations: motivation of symbols in the language; the extent to which the language allows exploitation of human visual perception; and the amount of structure inherent in the language. The paper argues that the first two of these properties are not present to any great extent in diagrammatic languages used in software specification. In order to enhance the intelligibility of software specifications, we suggest that more attention should be paid to ways in which these languages can exploit the amount of structure inherent in the language.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Britton
    • 1
  • Sara Jones
    • 1
  • Maria Kutar
    • 1
  • Martin Loomes
    • 1
  • Brian Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUSA

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