Process Model Understandability

In order to support the analysis and design of, for example, process-aware information systems, inter-organizational workflows, service-oriented architectures and web services, business process models or process models for short, are employed [1]. Process models, especially those used in project phases that are concerned with requirement documentation and communication, are needed to be intuitive and easy to understand [2]. As consequence, various process modeling languages have been proposed, each one of them claiming superiority. As pointed out in [3], “advantages and shortcomings of different process modeling languages are heavily debated, both in academia and industry, but little evidence is presented to support judgements”. To contribute to an objective discussion, we employ cognitive psychology as tool for assessing and discussing understandability of process models.


  • S. Zugal, J. Pinggera and B. Weber: Assessing Process Models with Cognitive Psychology. In: Proc. EMISA ’11, pp. 177–182, 2011.  
  • S. Zugal, J. Pinggera, J. Mendling and H. Reijers: Assessing the Impact of Hierarchy on Model Understandability-A Cognitive Perspective. In: Proc. EESSMod ’11, pp. 18–27, 2011.  


[1]  Hajo A. Reijers and Jan Mendling. A Study into the Factors that Influence the Understandability of Business Process Models. SMCA, 41(3):449–462, 2011.

[2] Yair Wand and Ron Weber. Research Commentary: Information Systems and Conceptual Modeling—A Research Agenda. ISR, 13(4):363–376, 2002.

[3] Dirk Fahland, Jan Mendling, Hajo A. Reijers, Barbara Weber, Mathias Weidlich, and Stefan Zugal. Declarative versus Imperative Process Modeling Languages: The Issue of Understandability. In Proc. EMMSAD ’09, pages 353–366, 2009.