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How Prior Knowledge Affects User's Understanding of System Requirements?

Authors: Balsam Mustafa, Safaai Deris


Requirements are critical to system validation as they guide all subsequent stages of systems development. Inadequately specified requirements generate systems that require major revisions or cause system failure entirely. Use Cases have become the main vehicle for requirements capture in many current Object Oriented (OO) development methodologies, and a means for developers to communicate with different stakeholders. In this paper we present the results of a laboratory experiment that explored whether different types of use case format are equally effective in facilitating high knowledge user-s understanding. Results showed that the provision of diagrams along with the textual use case descriptions significantly improved user comprehension of system requirements in both familiar and unfamiliar application domains. However, when comparing groups that received models of textual description accompanied with diagrams of different level of details (simple and detailed) we found no significant difference in performance.

Keywords: Prior knowledge, requirement specification, usecase format, user understanding

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