Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Process models are used by information professionals to convey semantics about the business operations in a real-world domain intended to be supported by an information system. The understandability of these models is vital to them being used for Information Systems development. In this article, we examine two factors that we predict will influence the understanding of a business process that novice developers obtain from a corresponding process model: the content presentation form chosen to articulate the business domain, and the user characteristics of the novice developers working with the model. Our experimental study provides evidence that novice developers obtain similar levels of understanding when confronted with an unfamiliar or a familiar process model. However, previous modeling experience, the use of English as a second language, and previous work experience in BPM are important influencing factors of model understanding. Our findings suggest that education and research in process modeling should increase the focus on human factors and how they relate to content and content presentation formats for different modeling tasks. We discuss implications for practice and research.