Detection and quantification of flow consistency in business process models

Andrea Burattin, Vered Bernstein, Manuel Neurauter, Pnina Soffer, Barbara Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Business process models abstract complex business processes by representing them as graphical models. Their layout, as determined by the modeler, may have an effect when these models are used. However, this effect is currently not fully understood. In order to systematically study this effect, a basic set of measurable key visual features is proposed, depicting the layout properties that are meaningful to the human user. The aim of this research is thus twofold: first, to empirically identify key visual features of business process models which are perceived as meaningful to the user and second, to show how such features can be quantified into computational metrics, which are applicable to business process models. We focus on one particular feature, consistency of flow direction, and show the challenges that arise when transforming it into a precise metric. We propose three different metrics addressing these challenges, each following a different view of flow consistency. We then report the results of an empirical evaluation, which indicates which metric is more effective in predicting the human perception of this feature. Moreover, two other automatic evaluations describing the performance and the computational capabilities of our metrics are reported as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-654
Number of pages22
JournalSoftware and Systems Modeling
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Open access funding provided by Austrian Science Fund (FWF). This work is partially funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) projects “The Modeling Mind: Behavior Patterns in Process Modeling” (P26609) and “ModErARe” (P26140). We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers who helped improving the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).


  • Business process modeling
  • Consistency of flow
  • Metrics
  • Qualitative empirical study
  • Visual layout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation


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  • Identifying and quantifying visual layout features of business process models

    Bernstein, V. & Soffer, P., 2015, Enterprise, Business-Process and Information Systems Modeling - 16th International Conference, BPMDS 2015 20th International Conference, EMMSAD 2015, Proceedings. Nurcan, S., Guerreiro, S., Gaaloul, K., Ma, Q. & Schmidt, R. (eds.). Springer Verlag, p. 200-213 14 p. (Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing; vol. 214).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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