Evaluating the Usability of a Visual Feature Modeling Notation

  • Aleksandar Jakšić
  • Robert B. France
  • Philippe Collet
  • Sudipto Ghosh
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8706)


Feature modeling is a popular Software Product Line Engineering (SPLE) technique used to describe variability in a product family. A usable feature modeling tool environment should enable SPLE practitioners to produce good quality models, in particular, models that effectively communicate modeled information. FAMILIAR is a text-based environment for manipulating and composing Feature Models (FMs). In this paper we present extensions we made to FAMILIAR to enhance its usability. The extensions include a visualization of FMs, or more precisely, a feature diagram rendering mechanism that supports the use of a combination of text and graphics to describe FMs, their configurations, and the results of FM analyses. We also present the results of a preliminary evaluation of the environment’s usability. The evaluation involves comparing the use of the extended environment with the previous text-based console-driven version. The preliminary experiment provides some evidence that use of the new environment results in increased cognitive effectiveness of novice users and improved quality of new FMs.


FAMILIAR Tool FAMILIAR Software Product Lines Feature Modeling Software Visualization Model-Driven Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandar Jakšić
    • 1
  • Robert B. France
    • 1
  • Philippe Collet
    • 2
  • Sudipto Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.I3S - CNRS UMR 7271Université Nice Sophia AntipolisFrance

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