Linking Use Cases and Associated Requirements

A Replicated Eye Tracking Study on the Impact of Linking Variants on Reading Behavior




Linking, use case, requirement, reading behavior, eye tracking, visual effort, attention switch, cognitive load


A wide variety of use case templates supports different variants to link a use case with its associated requirements. Regardless of the linking, a reader must process the related information simultaneously to understand them.
Linking variants are intended to cause a specific reading behavior in which a reader interrelates a use case and its associated requirements. Due to the effort to create and maintain links, we investigated the impact of different linking variants on the reading behavior in terms of visual effort and the intended way of interrelating both artifacts.
We designed an eye tracking study about reading a use case and requirements. We conducted the study twice each with 15 subjects as a baseline experiment and as a repetition. The results of the baseline experiment, its repetition, and their joint analysis are consistent. All investigated linking variants cause comparable visual effort. In all cases, reading the single artifacts one after the other is the most frequently occurring behavior. Only links embedded in the fields of a use case description significantly increase the readers’ efforts to interrelate both artifacts. None of the investigated linking variants impedes reading a use case and requirements. However, only the most detailed linking variant causes readers to process related information simultaneously.


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Author Biographies

Oliver Karras, Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

Oliver Karras is a senior researcher and data scientist at the Data Science and Digital Libraries Research Group at the TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the Leibniz University Hannover; a M.Sc. in computer science from Leibniz University Hannover; and a B.Sc. in computer science from Leibniz University Hannover. Currently, his research focuses on the intersection between research infrastructures and research communities. In the long term, this research supports the transformation from document-based knowledge communication in the sciences into knowledge-based communication. Prior to TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology, he was a research associate at the Software Engineering Group at Leibniz University Hannover. In this context, his research also focused on communication. In particular, he investigated the production and application of videos in requirements engineering for supporting requirements communication between all project partners involved to create a clear vision and thus shared understanding of the future system.

Alexandra Risch, Leibniz Universität Hannover

Alexandra Risch is an IT management trainee at AOK – Die Gesundheitskasse für Niedersachsen. She holds a M.Sc. in computer science from Leibniz University Hannover; and a B.Sc. in computer science from Leibniz University Hannover. Her bachelor thesis was on the topic of "Reading and Writing Use Cases: Recommendations from an eye-tracking study". Her thesis laid the foundation for this article.

Jil Klünder, Leibniz Universität Hannover

Jil Klünder is a senior researcher at the Software Engineering Group at Leibniz University Hannover. She holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the Leibniz University Hannover, as well as a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Mathematics from Leibniz University Hannover. Her research vision is to support modern software development teams taking into account the manifold factors influencing successful projects. This includes, but is not limited to, the various factors introduced by the people involved in the process, as well as the chosen development process with its underlying methods and practices. Her research focuses on analyzing and understanding these various facets, in particular the collaboration and communication in development teams, sentiment analysis on written and verbal communication, social network analysis and graph theory, software development processes, and empirical software engineering.


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How to Cite

Karras, O., Risch, A., & Klünder, J. (2021). Linking Use Cases and Associated Requirements: A Replicated Eye Tracking Study on the Impact of Linking Variants on Reading Behavior. Journal of Software Engineering Research and Development, 9(1), 5:1 – 5.



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