Daniel L. Moody from University of Twente gave a talk (and a full fledged tutorial) at OMG technical meeting in Reston, VA, on the principles for designing effective diagramming notations. His talk had this overall design:
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Daniel Moody wrote a famous paper on IEEE Transactions of Software Engineering titled:
Program flow charts have been invented long time ago, in 1947.
Visual notations are effective communication tools because they rely on the highly parallel way of reasoning an processing signals of the human brain.
Therefore, they should be optimized for human mind processing. It’s not something that can be designed based on opinions. There are ways of measuring and proving results.
The measure of optimization is cognitive effectiveness. Effectiveness of existing notations is hampered by:
- unclear goal of the notation
- low attention to this aspect
- lack of accepted design principles
- At least equal effort and attention for notation and content
- Have a design rationale
- Decision must be based on evidence
- Design must be based on objective principles
- There must be explicit testing of the notations (user studies)
The purpose is to move diagramming from art to science.