Using Eye Tracking Data to Improve Requirements Specification Use

  • Maike AhrensEmail author
  • Kurt Schneider
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12045)


[Context and motivation] Software requirements specifications are the main point of reference in traditional software projects. Especially in large projects, these documents get read by multiple people, multiple times. [Question/problem] Several guidelines and templates already exist to support writing a good specification. However, not much research has been done in investigating how to support the use of specifications and help readers to find relevant information and navigate in the document more efficiently. [Principal ideas/results] We used eye tracking data obtained from observing readers when using specifications to create three different attention transfer features to support them in this process. In a student experiment, we evaluated if these attention visualizations positively affect the roles software architect, UI-designer and tester when reading a specification for the first time. The results show that the attention visualizations did not decrease navigation effort, but helped to draw the readers’ attention towards highlighted parts and decreased the average time spent on pages. [Contribution] We explored and evaluated the approach of visualizing other readers’ attention focus to help support new readers. Our results include interesting findings on what works well, what does not and what could be enhanced. We present improvement suggestions and ideas on where to focus follow-up research on.


Attention transfer Software requirements specification Requirements document Eye tracking Visualization Empirical study 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Software Engineering GroupLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany

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