An experimental study into the default reading of constraint diagrams

Alison Fish, Judith Masthoff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

6 Citations (Scopus)


Constraint diagrams (Kent, 1997) are a complex diagrammatic notation designed to express logical statements especially for use in software specification and reasoning. Not surprisingly, since this is an expressive language, there are some difficulties in reading the semantics of a diagram unambiguously. Some extra annotations (in the form of a reading tree) disambiguate the diagrams. However, this extra requirement (of drawing a reading tree) places a burden on the user. An attempt to remove the need for such a reading tree (or perhaps to automatically generate a reading tree, which could be altered by a user if they wished to) has been given via an algorithm to generate a default reading from the diagram. This algorithm is based on a number of principles - most of which are properties of the diagram. We wish to know whether these principles are intuitive and whether the default reading reflects a good proportion of users' intuitions, and we have performed a user-based study to test this.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE Symposium on visual languages and human-centric computing
EditorsMartin Erwig
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages287 - 289
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)0769524435
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event2005 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC'05) - Dallas, Texas, United States
Duration: 20 Sept 200524 Sept 2005


Conference2005 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC'05)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDallas, Texas


  • diagrammetic reasoning
  • hci
  • empirical study
  • constraint diagrams
  • formal specification
  • programming language semantics
  • reading tree
  • software reasoning


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