Process design artifacts have been increasingly used to guide the modeling of business processes. To support users in designing and understanding process models, different process artifacts have been combined in several ways leading to the emergence of the so-called “hybrid process artifacts”. While many hybrid artifacts have been proposed in the literature, little is known about how they can actually support users in practice. To address this gap, this work investigates the way users engage with hybrid process artifacts during comprehension tasks. In particular, we focus on a hybrid representation of DCR Graphs (DCR-HR) combining a process model, textual annotations and an interactive simulation. Following a qualitative approach, we conduct a multi-granular analysis exploiting process mining, eye-tracking techniques, and verbal data analysis to scrutinize the reading patterns and the strategies adopted by users when being confronted with DCR-HR. The findings of the coarse-grained analysis provide important insights about the behavior of domain experts and IT specialists and show how user’s background and task type change the use of hybrid process artifacts. As for the fine-grained analysis, user’s behavior was classified into goal-directed and exploratory and different strategies of using the interactive simulation were identified. In addition, a progressive switch from an exploratory behavior to a goal-directed behavior was observed. These insights pave the way for an improved development of hybrid process artifacts and delineate several directions for future work.
In Software & Systems Modeling.