Development of Visual Notations

James Hartley j.hartley at PSY.KEELE.AC.UK
Tue Aug 23 09:30:29 EDT 2011

I would be grateful if anyone with the relevant knowledge could help my 
colleague with his query below.

Please address your reply to SIGMETRICS or to david.budgen at 
Many thanks.

James Hartley
School of Psychology
Keele University
j.hartley at

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Budgen" <david.budgen at>
To: "James Hartley" <j.hartley at>
Cc: "David Budgen" <david.budgen at>
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 12:48 PM
Subject: Development of Visual Notations


Apologies for bothering you with a query, but I have been casting around for 
some guidance, and I thought you just might have some insight into this one.

One of my PhD students and I are looking at how systems might be developed 
using software services (SOA etc.). Needless to say, we have identified lots 
of literature about software services and their properties, but very little 
about how to model these and how to model the interactions between them. 
Our purpose is actually reasonably concrete, in that we are looking at 
service design for a real application, using some work that our Energy 
Engineers have been doing with Small Scale Energy Zones (SSEZs) to create a 
case study.

We have (or more accurately, my student has) conducted a systematic review 
to look at the properties of SOAs that we need to model -- what we would 
like to be able to do is to describe these properties with a set of 'box and 
line' notations in order to be able to develop our ideas about design 
solutions.  There are one or two notational forms that have been suggested 
(for example, in a book by Thomas Erl) but these are mostly more suitable 
for illustrating concepts in a textbook rather than for developing design 

I'm aware of some papers that critique notations (including one by Daniel 
Moody that appeared at the end of 2009) and we turned some up in the process 
of performing a systematic review of empirical studies of the UML, but while 
these can be used retrospectively, they don't help with developing new 
notations.  Do you know of any work that provides guidelines on notation 
development, or at least, describes an example of a development please?



Professor David Budgen
School of Engineering & Computing Sciences
Durham University
Science Laboratories
South Road
Durham DH1 3LE
Tel: +44 191 334 1724

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list