Defining Gaze Patterns for Process Model Literacy – Exploring Visual Routines in Process Models with Diverse Mappings

by   Michael Winter, et al.
Danube University Krems
University of Würzburg
Universität Ulm

Process models depict crucial artifacts for organizations regarding documentation, communication, and collaboration. The proper comprehension of such models is essential for an effective application. An important aspect in process model literacy constitutes the question how the information presented in process models is extracted and processed by the human visual system? For such visuospatial tasks, the visual system deploys a set of elemental operations, from whose compositions different visual routines are produced. This paper provides insights from an exploratory eye tracking study, in which visual routines during process model comprehension were contemplated. More specifically, n = 29 participants were asked to comprehend n = 18 process models expressed in the Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 reflecting diverse mappings (i.e., straight, upward, downward) and complexity levels. The performance measures indicated that even less complex process models pose a challenge regarding their comprehension. The upward mapping confronted participants' attention with more challenges, whereas the downward mapping was comprehended more effectively. Based on recorded eye movements, three gaze patterns applied during model comprehension were derived. Thereupon, we defined a general model which identifies visual routines and corresponding elemental operations during process model comprehension. Finally, implications for practice as well as research and directions for future work are discussed in this paper.


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