Friday, May 11, 2007

Eric Baumer on Scenario Visualization

This is peripheral to some stuff that I was looking at (as was the whole napkin requirements thingie), but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Eric Baumer, whom I've never met, has been doing some work on scenario visualization at the University of California at Irvine:

This was a collaboration between myself, my advisor, and Thomas Alspaugh, another Informatics professor who works in the area of requirements engineering. It came out of a series of discussions about how stories and narrative structure are similar to the scenarios used in requirements engineering. Using the codebase that my advisor has developed since his days at the media lab, we built a tool to visualize scenarios that describe the functioning of a software system as a social interaction among groups of animated characters. We did a small evaluation, showing that the technique helped users to find various sorts of errors in the scenarios more readily than the text of the scenarios alone.

So, the next time that one of you geeky types writes a use case about how a user interacts with a software application, don't forget - you can illustrate the danged thing. And the illustration can tell you what's wrong.


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