The Effect of Modularity Representation and Presentation Medium on the Understandability of Business Process Models in BPMN

  • Oktay TuretkenEmail author
  • Tessa Rompen
  • Irene Vanderfeesten
  • Ahmet Dikici
  • Jan van Moll
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9850)


Many factors influence the creation of understandable business process models for an appropriate audience. Understandability of process models becomes critical particularly when a process is complex and its model is large in structure. Using modularization to represent such models hierarchically (e.g. using sub-processes) is considered to contribute to the understandability of these models. To investigate this assumption, we conducted an experiment that involved 2 large-scale real-life business process models that were modeled using BPMN v2.0 (Business Process Model and Notation). Each process was modeled in 3 modularity forms: fully-flattened, flattened where activities are clustered using BPMN groups, and modularized using separately viewed BPMN sub-processes. The objective is to investigate if and how different forms of modularity representation in BPMN collaboration diagrams influence the understandability of process models. In addition to the forms of modularity representation, we also looked into the presentation medium (paper vs. computer) as a factor that potentially influences model comprehension. Sixty business practitioners from a large organization participated in the experiment. The results of our experiment indicate that for business practitioners, to optimally understand a BPMN model in the form of a collaboration diagram, it is best to present the model in a ‘fully-flattened’ fashion (without using collapsed sub-processes in BPMN) in the ‘paper’ format.


Business process model Understandability Comprehension Modularity BPMN Sub-process Group 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oktay Turetken
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tessa Rompen
    • 2
  • Irene Vanderfeesten
    • 1
  • Ahmet Dikici
    • 3
  • Jan van Moll
    • 2
  1. 1.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Philips Health TechBestThe Netherlands
  3. 3.TÜBİTAK BİLGEM Software Technologies Research InstituteAnkaraTurkey

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