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Which Traceability Visualization Is Suitable in This Context? A Comparative Study

  • Yang Li
  • Walid Maalej
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7195)

Abstract

Traceability supports users in describing and tracking the relationships between software artifacts. Techniques such as traceability matrices and graphs visualize these relationships and help users to access and understand them. Researchers agree that different visualization techniques add valuable information in different contexts. However, there is an ambiguity which visualization is suitable for which context. To clarify this we conducted a comparative study of common visualization techniques, including an experiment and interviews with 24 participants.

We found that traceability matrices and graphs are most preferred in management tasks, while hyperlinks are preferred in implementation and testing tasks. Traceability lists seem to be the least attractive technique for most participants. Graphs are preferred to navigate linked artifacts, while matrices are appropriate for overview. Hyperlinks are regarded to fit for fine-grained information. Participants stressed the importance of visualizing semantics of artifacts and links. Our finding also indicates that users are not always able to choose the most suitable visualization.

Keywords

Traceability Visualization Context Empirical Experiment 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Li
    • 1
  • Walid Maalej
    • 1
  1. 1.Technische Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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