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Graphical User Interface Prototyping for Distributed Requirements Engineering

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Sven Scheibmayr

Finding and understanding the right requirements is essential for every software project. This book deals with the challenge to improve requirements engineering in distributed software projects. The use of graphical user interface (GUI) prototypes can help stakeholders in such projects to elicit and specify high quality requirements. The research objective of this study is to develop a method and a software artifact to support the activities in the early requirements engineering phase in order to overcome some of the difficulties and improve the quality of the requirements, which should eventually lead to better software products. Therefore, this study seeks to support the work with these prototypes in distributed projects. It is based on a theoretical analysis and follows a design science research approach.
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6. Discussion

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6.1. Contributions

This research contributes innovative artifacts, the method and the tool, which were developed considering the findings of theoretical work. Thus, it follows the recommendations of design science by Hevner et al. (2004). In order to support distributed collaboration on GUI prototypes, several design implications have been derived from theoretical concepts, which guided the development of the artifacts (see Section 3.2 in Chapter 4). These design implications determine that the artifacts should support synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. They should also feature the possibility to create links between the prototypes and other external artifacts to provide context information. Moreover, they should support the creation of freehand sketches and provide template GUI widgets.

These design implications lead to a method, which supports the following steps for distributed GUI prototyping: Collecting ideas, refining and enhancing, presenting and negotiating, and tracing requirements during implementation (see Section 4.1.2 in Chapter 4). When collecting ideas, stakeholders collaborate synchronously and often save ideas with freehand sketches. Furthermore, they can link textual requirements in a wiki with the early prototypes. In the refinement step, the stakeholders work mostly asynchronously and enhance and refine the prototypes with more GUI template widgets. When presenting the prototypes, stakeholders meet in a video conference. Sequences of prototypes ← 133 | 134 → can be shown and changes can immediately incorporated by all stakeholders. During implementation, it is often helpful for developers to trace back to the prototypes from textual requirements specification. This can improve their understanding of the...

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