Flexible Artifact Visualization


Requirements engineers produce numerous artifacts to model their system of interest. The convenience of manipulating these artifacts is highly significant since the artifacts are created once, but are reviewed, compared and improved recurrently.
To update, juxtapose and comprehend these artifacts requirements engineers have to open multiple windows and move back and forth between them.
Today’s display devices come in various sizes, from small displays on mobile devices to poster-sized screens or electronic whiteboards. However, they all share a common feature: the available screen space is limited.
Consequently, the amount of information that can be displayed at a given moment is limited and users have to scroll long distances and zoom in and out a lot.
In this project we are designing, developing and evaluating a technique called FlexiView to alter the traditional way of visualizing information embedded in RE artifacts. We intend to create a view specifically for the needs of the user at a given point of time. This view includes the required information and excludes what is closely related to the required information but is not actually needed at that point of time.

Our approach

Focus+context visualization techniques display the focus within its context in a single continuous view. FlexiView is based on the focus+context concept. It changes the size, position and amount of detail of the objects in order to accommodate more needed information on the screen. Although shrinking the less important objects on the screen, enlarging the more important objects and hiding the unnecessary details seem promising, but it causes distortion.
To minimize the unwanted distortion caused as a side effect, FlexiView employs physical metaphors of magnet and spring. A simple magnet-and-spring structure is shown in Figure 1.
Fig.1: A sample structure of magnets and springs
It partitions the working space into regions. In this approach, unlike other related approaches, the regions are the subjects of manipulation instead of the objects. We propose to model the regions with springs, as depicted in Figure 2.a. Changing the size or location of the regions will be possible by creating virtual magnets as can be seen in Figure 2.b. The virtual magnets apply forces to the springs. The structure made of springs resists change and propagates the forces applied to the neighboring springs. In this way the distortion is distributed gradually and naturally.
Fig.2: (a) A partitioned network of artifacts: The regions are modeled by springs and magnets. (b) A virtual magnet added by the user resulting in the enlargement of the top right region and shrinkage of other regions



Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz: An Experimental Comparison of Two Navigation Techniques for Requirements Modeling Tools, In proceeding of the 26th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'18), 2018, Banff, Alberta, Canada (to appear).

Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz: FlexiView Experimental Tool: Fair and Detailed Usability Tests for Requirements Modeling Tools, Posters and Demos Paper at the 26th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'18), 2018, Banff, Alberta, Canada (to appear).



Parisa Ghazi, Zahra Shakeri Hossein Abad, Martin Glinz: Choosing Requirements for Experimentation with User Interfaces of Requirements Modeling Tools, Posters and Demos Paper at the 25th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'17), 2017, Lisbon, Portugal [pdf] (Won a Best  poster and tool Demo award)


Zahra Shakeri Hossein Abad, Oliver Karras, Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz, Guenther Ruhe, Kurt Schneider, What Works Better? A Study of Classifying Requirements,  Data Track paper of the 25th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'17), 2017, Lisbon, Portugal[pdf].


Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz: Challenges of Working with Artifacts in Requirements Engineering and Software Engineering,  Requirements Engineering Journal, 22(3), pp. 359-385, 2017, Springer [pdf].


Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz: ImitGraphs: Towards Faster Usability Tests of Graphical Model Manipulation Techniques, In proceeding of the 9th International Workshop on Modeling in Software Engineering (MiSE@ICSE2017), pp. 61-67, 2017, Buenos Aires, Argentina [pdf].



Parisa Ghazi, Martin Glinz: An Exploratory Study on User Interaction Challenges When Handling Interconnected Requirements Artifacts of Various Sizes, In proceeding of the 24th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'16), pp. 76-85, 2016, Beijing, China.  [pdf] (Invited for an extended version in the RE journal special issue on the best papers of RE'16).



Parisa Ghazi: A Magnet-and-Spring Based Visualization Technique for Enhancing the Manipulation of Requirements, Doctoral Symposium of the 23rd IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'15), pp. 400-405, 2015, Ottawa, Canada.[pdf]


Parisa Ghazi, Norbert Seyff, Martin Glinz: FlexiView: A Magnet-Based Approach for Visualizing Requirements Artifacts, 21st International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality (REFSQ'15), pp. 262-269, 2015, Essen, Germany. [pdf]