Icons: Visual Representation to Enrich Requirements Engineering Work


Adapting icons in requirements engineering can support the multifaceted needs of stakeholders. Conventional approaches to RE are mainly highlighted in diagrams. This paper introduces icon-based information as a way to represent ideas and concepts in the requirements engineering domain. We report on icon artifacts that support requirements engineering work such as priority types, status states and stakeholder kinds. We evaluate how users interpret meanings of icons and the efficacy of icon prototypes shaped to represent those requirements attributes. Our hypothesis is whether practitioners can recognize the icons’ meaning in terms of their functional representation. According to the empirical data from 45 participants, the findings demonstrate the probability of providing users with icons and their intended functions that correspond to RE artifacts in a novel yet effective manner. Based on these findings, we suggest that icons could enrich stakeholders’ perception of the RE process as a whole; however, meaningful interpretation of an icon is subject to the user’s prior knowledge and experience.

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S. Khanom, A. Heimbürger and T. Kärkkäinen, "Icons: Visual Representation to Enrich Requirements Engineering Work," Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Vol. 6 No. 11, 2013, pp. 610-622. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2013.611073.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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