Quotation Kummer , Tyge-F, Recker, Jan, Mendling, Jan. 2016. Enhancing understandability of process models through cultural-dependentcolor adjustments. Decision Support Systems (DSS) 87, 1-12.




National culture influences natural language communication. Yet, semi-formal or documented communication media such as process models have largely ignored these influences. In process models, secondary notation elements such as colors, however, provides designers with visual cues to potentially increase the efficiency and effectiveness without changing the semantics of the model itself. We propose that colors are a promising mechanism in tailoring process models to meet cultural preferences in order to enhance understandability. We test this assumption through an experiment with postgraduate students from a Confucian culture (China) and a Germanic Culture (Germany and Austria). Past research has shown that people understand such models better if important elements are highlighted through colors. We hypothesize that this general design principle only works if the applied color schemes match cultural preferences while mismatches can even diminish the level of understanding. Our results show that colors that are preferred in Asian cultures aid process model understandability of Confucian participants. In contrast, diverse effects occur if models with these colors are provided to members of a Germanic culture. Based on our findings, we derive implications for the culturally appropriate presentation of conceptual process models and we emphasize a need to construct modeling studies with cultural values and norms in mind.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Decision Support Systems (DSS)
Citation Index SCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, INF-A, MAR-A, STRAT-B, WH-B
Language English
Title Enhancing understandability of process models through cultural-dependentcolor adjustments
Volume 87
Year 2016
Page from 1
Page to 12
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2016.04.004


Mendling, Jan (Details)
Kummer , Tyge-F ( Griffith University, Australia)
Recker, Jan (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
Institute for Data, Process and Knowledge Management (AE Sabou) (Details)
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