University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 10.12 On Enriching Requirements Engineering Work Using Icons (Khanom)

Start date: Dec 10, 2014 12:00 AM

End date: Dec 10, 2014 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Ag Gamma

Sukanya Khanom. Kuvaaja:Porjai LaithongkamM.Sc Sukanya Khanom defends her doctoral dissertation in Information Technology. Opponent  Professor Hannu Jaakkola (Tampere University of Technology) and custos Professor Tommi Kärkkäinen (University of Jyväskylä). The event is held in English.


Requirements engineering (RE) is one of the core elements of software development, directly contributing to its success. The development of effective RE activities depends on the quality of intercommunication between various stakeholders such as users and technical staff. The need for communication between those who have also been influenced by different cultural backgrounds, including differences in spoken language, age, gender, and nationality, has become more relevant.

This thesis introduces an alternative approach for communicating requirements in the RE domain. This approach is built and evaluated following four design science research phases. First, this study seeks to overcome these challenges faced within RE: (1) requirements identification, which refers to the ability of users to express their needs explicitly and concisely, (2) requirements specification, which is associated with difficulty in understanding and reviewing requirements, and (3) managing requirements, which relates to the effort used to manage, monitor, and continue tracing the requirements in the life cycle. Second, artifacts are developed in relation to an icon-based approach to enriching RE work. A piece of RE contexts defined will be represented by icons that correspond to cultural elements. Third, demonstrators portraying the icon-based concept are invented though MediaWiki. Such demonstrators are empirically evaluated in a controlled environment that permits participants to study the built artifacts within two iterations: (1) the formative evaluation, which is handled by students and the data from which is carried to the later iteration for further improvement, and (2) the summative evaluation, in which experts in the field and PhD students are involved. Fourth, the results are delivered to the target audiences.

The results of evaluations show that icons enable the enrichment of RE work. Users’ perceptions and satisfactions toward the representation of a piece of a requirement artifact by icons are significantly stronger than average. In addition, different background stakeholders, both novices and experts, are able to interpret and perceive icons with no statistical difference.

Khanom has finished her Master of Science degree in Management of Information Technology in 2007 from Thammasat University in Thailand. Since 2011 she has pursued a postgraduate degree (PhD) in University of Jyväskylä in the Department of Mathematical Information Technology.

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Computing, ISSN 1456-5390; 203, ISBN 978-951-39-5973-9 (nid.), ISBN 978-951-39-5974-6 (PDF). It is available in the University Library Publications Unit, tel. 040 805 3825,

Keywords: requirements engineering, icon, design science research

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Sukanya Khanom,

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