Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


Visual process models are meant to facilitate comprehension of business processes. However, in prac- tice, process models can be difficult to understand. The main goal of this article is to clarify the sources of cog- nitive effort in comprehending process models. The article undertakes a comprehensive descriptive review of empiri- cal and theoretical work in order to categorize and sum- marize systematically existing findings on the factors that influence comprehension of visual process models. Methodologically, the article builds on a review of forty empirical studies that measure objective comprehension of process models, seven studies that measure subjective comprehension and user preferences, and thirty-two arti- cles that discuss the factors that influence the comprehen- sion of process models. The article provides information systems researchers with an overview of the empirical state of the art of process model comprehension and provides recommendations for new research questions to be addressed and methods to be used in future experiments.