Visual variables in UML: A first empirical assessment
Paper in proceeding, 2017

This paper presents results of an empirical research study of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) use in practice. We employed a selective range of research methodologies including in-depth semi structured interviews and quantitative analysis of > 3500 UML diagrams related to open source projects in GitHub. The aim of the study is to provide greater understanding about the use of UML and to particularly shed light on the use of the visual variables (i.e., color, size, brightness, texture/grain, shape and orientation) in practice. The theoretical perspective of the study is to explore the usefulness of the visual variables in UML. These latter are highly significant in reducing the cognitive load of human beings, when effectively employed. As with all qualitative study, findings should be carefully interpreted, they should be seen as providing better understanding about the aforementioned scopes. We conclude by discussions of the obtained results and lessons learned for future researches.


Yosser El Ahmar

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

University of Lille

Xavier Le Pallec

University of Lille

Sébastien Gérard

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Truong Ho Quang

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

CEUR Workshop Proceedings

16130073 (ISSN)

Vol. 2019 376-384

2017 MODELS Satellite Event: Workshops (ModComp, ME, EXE, COMMitMDE, MRT, MULTI, GEMOC, MoDeVVa, MDETools, FlexMDE, MDEbug), Posters, Doctoral Symposium, Educator Symposium, ACM Student Research Competition, and Tools and Demonstrations, MODEL-SSE 2017
Austin, USA,

Subject Categories

Human Aspects of ICT

Information Science

Information Systemes, Social aspects

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