Modeling How to Understand a Target System: Bridging the Gap Between Software Engineers and Usability Experts

  • Yukiko TanikawaEmail author
  • Hideyuki Suzuki
  • Hiroshi Kato
  • Shin’ichi Fukuzumi
  • Etsuko Harada
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9731)


In order to investigate the reasons why software engineers fail in design activities concerning usability, we devised a method to model the features of how to understand a target system. It is the method to visualize differences of system understanding between a software engineer and a usability expert from three aspects, namely qualitative difference, quantitative difference, and difference in recognition to the understanding. Moreover we devised “three layer model diagram” which consists of “system function layer”, “task and workflow layer” and “user practice field layer”, for describing system understanding. We conducted the experiment and interview for software engineers and analyzed them applying this method. This analysis revealed that software engineers who failed in the activities have a tendency to understand tasks correspond to functions, in addition to understanding an entire system from functions. These suggested that their function-based understandings and little recognition to “system users” and “user practice in the field” in their everyday design activities are included in their failure reason.


Design activity Software engineer Usability expert User practice User task 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukiko Tanikawa
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Hideyuki Suzuki
    • 2
  • Hiroshi Kato
    • 3
  • Shin’ichi Fukuzumi
    • 1
  • Etsuko Harada
    • 4
  1. 1.NEC CorporationKawasakiJapan
  2. 2.Ibaraki UniversityMitoJapan
  3. 3.The Open University of JapanChibaJapan
  4. 4.University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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