Two tools are described that help designers visualize the structure of a system in the requirements phase of a project. First, a matrix is constructed that represents the tendency of components to interact. The matrix is derived from sequence diagrams, which in turn are based on textual scenarios. This interaction matrix is transformed into a structure plot of the system, showing a graph of the essential connections between actors. Second, this same matrix is used to generate a sequence plot: a sequence diagram optimized for problem-solving. We illustrate the effectiveness of this approach, first with a simulation study, and later with a participant-based study of inference from diagrams. The results suggest that a similarity-based approach to information systems design can generate new testable tools. Pragmatically, the tools help novices and experts alike by automatically generating candidate system configurations in the form of structural diagrams, and by generating better sequence diagrams.
Nickerson, Jeffrey V. and Corter, James E., "Clarity from Confusion: Using Intended Interactions to Design Information Systems" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 267.